With this quickie poll, I solicit some very basic feedback from students about the assignments and activities that we have done so far. The responses can be useful for planning the rest of the semester and future classes. Moreover, there is a benefit in the way this poll appeals to students’ psychology. Not only does it reassure them that I am interested in knowing about their experience of the class, it also reminds them of all the in-class activities, discussions, handouts, and minor assignments we have gone through in the first half of the semester—thereby creating a “value for the money” sense of the course. Another “activities poll” can be taken just at the end of the semester, enhancing the information gleaned from the official course evaluations and heading off “we had some good discussions but we didn’t do much” responses.

The poll is designed so that results can be tabulated fairly rapidly by either the instructor or a student volunteer. The poll is also designed, like a TAP, to filter out idiosyncrasies of response: each student gets his or her chance to provide a unique set of responses, but in looking at the results, the instructor can choose to pay attention only to the items with significant numbers of cumulative “votes.”

The example below is from an ENWR class, but the poll format can be used in any class where there have been a number of different activities and assignments. It probably would not work as well in, for example, a literature class where the same read-and-discuss routine is iterated over and over.


ENWR 110                                                                             ANONYMOUS

Section XX: “Theme X” (Instructor X)                          do not write your name!

Spring 2002


Poll: Activities & Small Assignments


Mark A, B, and C next to the three items that MOST helped you learn.

Mark X, Y, and Z next to the three items that LEAST helped you learn.

(Do not include major readings or writing assignments.)


______ name games (with ball)

______ group brainstorm: words/ideas associated with wit

______ online quizzes (expectations, writing requirements)

______ agreeing on discussion rules

______ Joke Day

______ discourse community: writing letters to different audiences

______ reading worksheets on Freud

______ class discussion on Freud

______ parts of argument: best/worst teacher exercise

______ parts of argument: finding them in the dog food article

______ parts of argument: seeing peer examples on overhead

______ old vs. new dorms debate

______ reading worksheet on “Wit”

______ outlining reasons and evidence to support a claim from “Wit”

______ MLA citation practice with an outside source

______ warrants: making claim and reason more general in several steps

______ warrants: re-wording proverbs as “when, then” warrants

______ class discussion on “The Meaning of Life”

______ paper topics worksheet

______ in-class sharing and discussion or paper topic ideas

______ graphical argument outline (chart with boxes to fill in)

______ general sharing and discussion of editorial cartoons

______ acknowledgment & response: writing A&R for claims from editorial cartoons

______ individual proposals for common reading

______ fairy tale introductions: the fisherman story

______ fairy tale introductions: Hansel and Gretel compared to example from student paper

______ problem statement introduction from Chaucer article

______ problem statement worksheet #1 (general)

______ problem statement worksheet #2 (reordered and focused on conceptual problems)

______ claims: ranking along masking tape on table

______ Other: _____________________________________

______ Other: _____________________________________

______ Other: _____________________________________