Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Doodle Scheduling and Polls Assistant

Many times, an educator needs to schedule a particular event or conduct a quick poll to gather information about students' views, availability or for some demographic data. Doodle is a great online tool for such goals.

In this blog post, I will not talk about the "Doodle-how-to", because you could visit Doodle Help for that, though most of you may not even feel the need to go there, as it is fairly straight forward to navigate the site. What I will mention are some ways you could use Doodle in (or out of) the classroom.

The free version of Doodle is very simple and has two main options:
  1. Schedule an event - (Use this when you have particular dates in mind)
  2. Make a choice - (Use this for everything else)
Each of these options has 3-4 steps and in the end gives a participation link for your audience and an admin link for you to return to the site for corrections or to close out the poll. Always file-away the Admin link. If you forget the participation link, you can get it via the admin link.

Since we are talking about "Teaching with Technology", it would be good to know how many students have a computer at home and what type of a network connection they have. This is probably good information to gather at the beginning of every semester (or quarter/year), and can be done through "Make a choice" option without much effort. So based on your needs, you could create a couple of polls to know your student group a little better.

The screenshot below shows another Doodle selection for my "Online Office Hours" question. (BTW: I will discuss the "Online Office Hours" in my next post.) I chose the "Make a choice" option because I want to know best times for the rest of the semester on a weekly basis, so I don't have any particular dates in mind. I entered the weekdays and times manually as the choices.

If your classroom has computers at each station, then it can also be a great tool to help break the monotony to pause for a moment and take a poll about something related to the course material. Even though it doesn't take long to create these polls, I would suggest doing this before class and having the participation links ready to be shared.

So, if you just want to conduct a poll to gather some demographic data, or schedule an event on a particular date (such as a field-trip), or just want to get an opinion from your group, just Doodle it!

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