Which CofC survey tool should I use? Google forms or Qualtrics?

The College provides two survey tools for faculty at no cost; Google Forms and Qualtrics.

Google Forms is part of CofC’s Google Apps for Education that is available to all faculty, staff and students .  You can plan events, make a survey or poll, or collect other information in an easy, streamlined way with Google Forms. You can create a form from Google Drive or from an existing spreadsheet that can record the responses to your form.

For information on activating your CofC Google apps account visit And for instructions on how to create a survey using Google forms visit

The Qualtrics Research Suite is a survey software available to all faculty, staff and students at the College of Charleston, to fulfill a variety of research needs. Qualtrics can be used to build surveys, distribute surveys, and analyze responses, all within the Qualtrics Research Suite.

For more information about Qualtrics, visit

But which one of these tools would be best for you?  For a side by side comparison of features visit 

Disregard the information about “Plan” since both of these are free to CofC Faculty and Staff .   Also disregard the information about “Help and Support” because you can contact your Instructional Technologist for questions about Google Forms and should contact Cara Dombroski  at CofC for questions about Qualtrics.







Solve your student scheduling problems

Solve your student scheduling problems with Google Calendar Appointment slots!

The Appointment slots feature lets you set one period of time on your calendar, divided into available time slots for people to reserve.  This feature is ONLY available with your CofC Google apps for education account. For steps on activating your CofC Google apps for education account, please visit:

For step by step instructions on how to use Google Calendar Appointment slots, visit 


Assessment, Google Apps, instructional technology, Web 2.0

Using Kaizena for Fast & Interactive Student Feedback

Let’s be honest. Grading can be a drag. We may love teaching and mentoring students, but when faced with a stack of 100 essays, some of us consider a career change.  Providing students with frequent and meaningful feedback takes a lot of time and energy, but there are plenty of applications that can help make you a more efficient grader.  One such application is Kaizena.

Kaizena is a web-based platform that is synced with Google Drive.  Students can either upload Microsoft Office files or PDFs to their Google Drive account (which CofC students have free access to) or they can create their assignments within Google Drive.  The instructor will get an alert that a student has submitted and can then leave text or audio feedback as well as insert outside resources called “lessons” and 4-point scale ratings called “skills.”


Kaizena’s “lessons” are a fantastic time-saving feature.  How often do you find yourself writing or typing the same comment over and over on student assignments?  Well, “lessons” allow you to create a library of text, audio, and video resources that can be quickly added to students’ assignments.  For example, if I were teaching composition and noticed multiple students making comma splice errors, I could record a quick audio clip explaining what comma splices are.  Or, I could find a YouTube video about comma splices and use that existing resource.  The next time I come across a comma splice error, I can simply click a button to add that “lesson” and avoid typing yet another explanation of comma splices.


Another aspect of Kaizena that I appreciate is how the feedback is framed as conversations.  An instructor leaves an audio comment, for example, and the student can reply with text or audio.  When we write comments on students’ assignments, we hope they read them and we assume they understand them.  But often this isn’t the case.  Kaizena encourages a dialogue between students and instructors that can improve understanding.




Cost:  Free

Platform: Web


google moderator

Say goodbye to Google Moderator but hello to some great alternatives

Bad news:  Google moderator is shutting down June 30, 2015

From Google’s website:

“Unfortunately, Google Moderator has not had the usage we had hoped, so we’ve made the difficult decision to close down the product. We want to ensure users have enough time to export their Moderator series data using our Takeout tool. Please take a look at the timeline below for more information.

March 30, 2015 is the first day that you can download your Google Moderator data from Takeout. Your data from past Moderator series will be available in Takeout for at least two years.

June 30, 2015 will be the last day you can create a new series, ask a question, or vote on a question. For the month of July, Google Moderator will be “read-only.”

July 31, 2015 is Moderator’s last day. The site will no longer be available in any form, but you will be able to access data from past Moderator series through our Takeout tool for at least two years.
Thank you for asking and voting on questions with Moderator over the past several years.”

But don’t fret there are other options that are just as good at accomplishing the same goals.

Poll Everywhere

For in class rankings try Poll Everywhere’s Q&A/brainstorming question type.  This question type isn’t turned on by default so you’ll need to go into Settings > Labs and turn on Q&A / Brainstorm.  This question type allows participants to submit open-ended questions AND vote on other students’ responses, just like in Google Moderator.

OAKS Discussions

The OAKS Discussion board allows you to rate posts in a similar way to the rating system in Google Moderator.  When creating a new Topic you can choose either an Up Vote Only Rating Scheme or Up Vote/Down Vote Rating Scheme.  Both of these options will allow students to add new ideas AND to vote on other students’ ideas.  They can either give positive votes only or they can give positive and negative votes.

If you are a Google Moderator user and are still concerned about getting the same functionality please contact your Instructional Technologist.


Google, Google Apps, Innovative Instruction, Portfolio, TLT

Using Digital Portfolios in the Classroom

When I first began teaching, each class involved a major research paper that was due at the end of the semester.  Much to my chagrin, most students never picked up their graded papers, having already left for home and forgotten the assignment entirely.

About four years ago, I was cleaning out my office, and discovered an entire filing cabinet filled with abandoned graded papers.  Seeing this inspired me to alter my signature assignments.  I began reading about the “write to learn” movement, which emphasizes process over product.  I learned about scaffolding assignments, low-stakes writing, journaling, and free writing.  I then participated in a workshop in which I learned more about writing across the curriculum, including the value of student portfolios.  By the way, if this sounds interesting to you, I highly encourage signing up for the Writing Institute hosted by First Year Experience and English professors Chris Warnick and Amy Mecklenburg-Faenger (for College of Charleston faculty only).

Back to portfolios…

Student portfolios are collections of academic work and can be used for pedagogical, professional, or assessment purposes.  In my writing-intensive classes, I decided longitudinal portfolios would be the most meaningful.  This type of portfolio focuses on documenting the entire writing process, including notes, drafts, feedback, and revisions.

Next, I had to decide how students would curate their work. I could ask students to print hard copies of their papers and keep them in three-ring binders. But I have only so many filing cabinets in my office, and I had nightmares about being buried alive by stacks of papers. So I decided a digital option would be best.

There are a multitude of companies which provide e-portfolio services, but most of them require expensive subscriptions.  Thus, I decided to use an application that College of Charleston students, faculty, and staff have free access to: Google Drive.

Google Drive is part of the Google Apps for Education suite, providing cloud-based storage space.  Students can access their Drive from any device that connects to the Internet and files are automatically saved.  For more information about Google Apps for Education, visit the TLT tutorials blog.

At the beginning of the semester, I ask students to create a folder in their Drive specifically for their class portfolio.

Create New Folder












The students then share that folder with me by adding my email address.  Within their portfolio, they can create sub-folders for each writing assignment or each phase in the writing process.  I ask students to upload everything—every draft and peer review, and all the feedback I have offered.  For speeches (my class also includes a public speaking component), I require students to include their outlines, self-evaluations, and links to their videos (I upload videos of their speeches to Kaltura Media Space or an unlisted You Tube channel).

Share Folder Right Click Menu













At the end of the semester, students compose a letter, addressed to me, reflecting on their evolution as a writer and speaker.  I ask students to go through their portfolio and critically examine the strides they have made and the hurdles they still have to clear.  Because they have access to all their work, they can select examples that provide evidence to support their claims about strengths and weaknesses.

In order for this type of reflection to be truly effective, I have learned to build a culture of reflection in my classes.  Throughout the semester, students engage in peer editing, workshopping, and self-evaluation, giving them the practice necessary to successfully complete the final reflection letter.

Using Google Drive is a simple way for students to curate their academic work, share it with peers and faculty, and engage in critical reflection.  From the longitudinal portfolios created for my class, students could cull their best work and create a separate “showcase portfolio” that may be useful when interviewing for internships and jobs.

If you’re interested in learning more about Google Drive, TLT hosts training sessions throughout the year.  Check out the training schedule at

miriam klous
1-1-1, Assessment, Collaboration, Faculty Technology Institute, Google Apps, Innovative Instruction, Pedagogy, TLT, Video

PollEverywhere and Google Moderator to Increase Student Engagement

This week’s guest blogger is Miriam Klous in Health and Human Performance.

In May 2013 I attended the Faculty Technology Institute (FTI) training. We learned about new technologies that could be useful in a classroom setting, research or service. In my classes, I have been trying to increase the interaction with the students and particularly between students. Through the FTI I learned new iPad applications that could help me increase this interaction. One of the applications that was very helpful is ‘PollEverywhere’ and in another project I have been combining Google Moderator and video creation apps.

Many times in my classes when I ask questions, the same students answer. Of course there are several ways of dealing with this, but I found ’PollEverywhere’ to be an effective tool to influence this. Basically, I create questions online with the app ‘PollEverywhere’ and provide them with multiple answers (true-false and open-ended questions can also be created). The students have to text or email a number representing the answer they pick to a (phone) number. You are able to follow the voting directly on screen, and it can be anonymous.  For me it is a great way to see if students have difficulty with a question/content. If everybody answers the question correctly, I know I can move on with other content. If the answer to a question is very diverse, additional explanation of the topic may be necessary. Besides, the student can see that he/she is on the right track or, if not, that he/she is not the only one choosing that answer (while staying anonymous). When discussing the question and the topic after the vote, I perceive more interaction with the students. It seems like students trust asking follow-up questions now that they know they are not the only one that picked a certain answer. The questions can be created very easily and quickly and could be done in class. I prefer to prepare the questions ahead of time and login to ‘PollEverywhere’ to provide them to the students.

In addition to ‘PollEverywhere’, I also wanted to develop a project that makes students work together outside class time. Previously I had students writing research papers/labs together, but I was looking for a project where I could implement sophisticated technology. Therefore, in my EXSC 433 ‘Research Design and Analysis’ course I had students work together on a video project with the topic ‘How are we all consumers (users) of research?’. Students at an undergraduate level seem to have difficulty understanding why learning about research is important/exciting.  However, research is all around us, it is a part of our daily life. My goal was to make students more aware of research in our daily life by letting them make a video on this topic. Most students really enjoyed the assignment and I believe they received a better understanding of how research is integrated in society and it will be part of their life even if they don’t have a research job. In the FTI I learned about making videos and editing. This experience in FTI made me comfortable enough to implement this in my class, knowing I could help the students when it was necessary.  Students first received feedback on their storyboard before they started creating the video. In this project I also implemented the Google Moderator app. I wanted students to be involved in the development of the rubric. The students could make suggestions on aspects of (creating) the video that they believed were essential for a good video and thereby required for successfully fulfilling the assignment. Therefore, I created a rubric and placed it on Google Moderator. Students could log on to the Google Moderator and vote on the items if they believed were important aspect of (creating) the video. They could also reformulate items or add items and other students could vote again on those items. I assigned class time for students to spend 5-10 to do this, to make sure they knew how to vote or add items/comments. I received great feedback on time restrictions for the video and suggestions to reformulate certain items. Based on the feedback I created the final rubric. This strategy helped to have the students be aware of the aspects they would be assessed on and also to have them agree on the assessment of their assignment.

I see the benefit of the FTI training. The interaction between students in my class and myself definitely improved. Of course there were some issues along the way with students not doing their part, but this would probably also have been the case in more traditional group work. I definitely will keep on using those apps, and hope to implement other applications that I learned during the FTI training.