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Live polling

Uses for Live Polling

Whether you're lecturing online or in person, in-class polling is a way to keep students engaged. Some ideas:

  • Murkiest point: Ask students to anonymously write something they still find confusing, so you'll know where you need to focus more. 
  • Ice-breakers: Put up a picture of a map and ask people to indicate where they identify as home. 
  • Games: Hold a tournament of quiz answers as an exam review. 
  • Open-ended: Create a text cloud or commenting space to help students express how they feel about an issue.

Zoom has polls, but these are not always reliable and the Office of Accessible Education has concerns about their accessibility (updated 7/1/20). Physical clickers, due to rising costs for both students and universities, are being phased out of most higher-ed settings, though some legacy uses might still be supported.

Poll Everywhere is the current Stanford-recommended option. It's a flexible tool for polling that works equally well in-person or online. 

Screenshot of Poll Everywhere asks "How are you feeling about the basics?" with bar chart of responses


Poll Everywhere Tech Tutorial

Last updated 7/2/20. Tech changes frequently; please let us know if this article needs to be updated! 

Step 1: Set Up

1) The instructor (or the person who will be presenting in class that day) logs in at

(Poll Everywhere requires the creator of the poll to be logged in to the computer where the poll is being presented, so it’s often best if it’s created by the faculty, Fellow, or TA who will actively be presenting.)

Only faculty and staff can create polls. Email to set up a shared teaching team account.

2) Create a Poll

Poll Everywhere screenshot shows "Create" button.


3) Choose Type

Poll Everywhere screenshot shows different survey types, including multiple choice, word cloud, clickable image, etc.

Most are single-slide polls, except Survey and Competitions.

Step 2: Adjust Settings

1) Adjust Visual Settings and How People Can Respond

Poll Everywhere screenshot, circled "Adjust Visual Settings" and "How People Can Respond."

To think about: Do you want this to be anonymous? Linked to Canvas so that you can grade responses?

  • Anonymous: Student names not identified. Once you make a poll anonymous, you can never make it non-anonymous!
  • Optional screen name: Students asked to create a name to appear next to their responses
  • Connect with Canvas roster: Has to be set up. Remember to tell students to log in with SUNet email and then go through single sign on for them to get credit.

3) If desired, adjust moderation

Poll Everywhere screenshot shows toggle to "Enable/Disable Moderation" under Configuration menu.


4) If desired, adjust URL

Don’t want to be NicProfessorson270? Gear by your name -> My Settings -> Personal Info -> Username

Step 3: Present

1) Activate

Only one of your polls can be active at a time. Make sure it’s activated and that you’re presenting.

(If you want to show multiple polls, one after another, you might try the “Survey” option which combines several polls into a presentation.) 

2) Alternatively, decide whether you want it embedded in a PowerPoint or Slide presentation

Poll Everywhere screenshot shows option to Download the app for Google Slides or PowerPoint.
Google Slides

Add the Chrome Extension, which will add a new “Poll Everywhere” menu to Google Slides that will let you insert content you’ve created. (We recommend creating the content in Poll Everywhere and then inserting it, though you can also create it through Slides.) 

Google Slides screenshot with "Poll Everywhere" menu, from plugin, circled.

You need to have the web extension downloaded and be logged in to your Stanford account before you start presenting. 


Download the Poll Everywhere app for your computer. Make sure that the program is open and logged in before you present. 

3. Log in Tips

One common issue is not being logged in. 

If a student assistant creates the slideshow and the instructor opens in class on their own computer, the student needs to log into the presentation computer.

When the app prompts you to log in, remember to log in with Stanford! If you type in your email, it will automatically prompt you. 

Poll Everywhere screenshot shows "Login with Stanford" button.


Other Considerations

  • Anonymous Polls: Once you make a poll anonymous, you can never make it non-anonymous!
  • Attendance example: Set up a multiple choice question. Set to “registered participants only,” import the Canvas roster, hide activity title. Use countdown timer and lock. In class, verbally tell students correct response. Students can still access outside of class if friend tells them time and answer
  • Collaboration: A new “Teams and Shared Activities” function allows teaching teams to activate  each other’s polls and share data. One limitation is that only the creator of the poll is able to edit it.

Contact for help or to get your teaching team set up, and see Live Polling | Stanford CTL for more. 

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