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Engaging students asynchronously with Mentimeter

How Dr Silvia Colaiacomo, UCL Arena Centre, uses Mentimeter to increase engagement and stimulate virtual classroom discussions.

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13 July 2020

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic all UCL Arena Cenre teaching was moved online, including  Teaching Associate Programme (TAP) for Postgraduate Teaching Assistants (PGTA). 

Dr Silvia Colaiacomo explains how she used Mentimeter throughout face to face teaching, and embedded it in her online teaching to enhance asynchronous activity. 

What is Mentimeter?

Mentimeter is an online polling, questioning and voting tool that you can use in your teaching, whether it is online or face-to-face, synchronous or asynchronous.

Introduction of flipped learning 

We retained and adjusted many of the features of the face to face course. 

We organised the online course by limiting the synchronous time to discussion and flipped-learning inspired activities; whilst participants were asked to complete activities and interact asynchronously between session.

Using Mentimeter 

Mentimeter was already largely used in our face to face sessions for polls, questions and surveys during class time.

Mentimeter offers a wide variety of question types that you can use with your students to promote active learning. 

Connected Learning Live Events

The Arena Centre will be running a series of short live sessions throughout the summer to complement the UCL Connected Learning Essentials Staff Development Programme.

The 40-60 minute online sessions will give staff the opportunity to find out more and discuss key areas in more depth. 

Upcoming: 

Interactive teaching tools
How can I engage students and create conversation? 
Tutor: Dr Jenny Griffiths
Date and Time: Thursday 13 August, 1 pm 
Sign up (ensure you use Desktop@UCL)

Mentimeter in an asynchronous setting

It was not the first time we have Mentimeter on the course, but it is the first time it is systematically used for asynchronous interaction throughout. 

In the asynchronous setting, Mentimeter was used to ask students to after readings or videos in preparation for sessions. They were required to completed activities such as: 

  • answer open questions
  • post opinions on particular topics

These were then downloaded by the tutor and showed in class to spring-board debates.
Students engaged easily and enthusiastically with the Mentimeter activities and, for tutors, these represented a very useful tool to monitor progress and informal feedback on the course.

Mentimeter is easy to use, a link or a code can be posted on Moodle (we worked with links), anonymous and allows a variety of formats to ask questions.

Participants feedback 

Participants appreciated the tool as it allows anonymity and it encourages participation also for students whose first language is not English who might feel apprehensive about speaking up in class. 

I got a good idea of how to prepare for a course, make it more interactive and student centred. 

Increased engagement in sessions

It has increased and facilitated online engagement and subsequent class discussions.

For staff, it is easy to set up and once answers are downloaded it can considerably help and facilitate lesson planning and seminar interactions.

How long does it take to create content in Mentimeter?

Once a Mentimeter account is available and set up, activities can be created in a matter of minutes.

Mentimeter have some great resources on putting your slides together.

Top tips for getting started with Mentimeter

  1. Carefully plan online/distant provision by looking at what can be done asynchronously
  2. Consider a flipped learning approach for your sessions
  3. Devise questions in a way that elicit the personal experience of students or their opinion in order to ensure maximum engagement
  4. Set clear instructions for students, including clear expectations about the time they need to spend asynchronously
  5. Familiarise yourself with Mentimeter, the different options it offers and choose the one that best fits your teaching plan. 

Roll out at UCL

Any UCL teacher or student can now use Mentimeter free of charge.

Our Mentimeter Resource Centre provides training and guidance to get you started.

How to sign up for Mentimeter

To sign up for Mentimeter go to: mentimeter.com/join/ucl.

You will be redirected to log in using Single Sign On, use your standard UCL username and password. 

I already have a Mentimeter account with my UCL email

If you already have a Mentimeter account (free or paid) using your UCL email address, this should convert to our site licence and you will no longer be charged for it. Any presentations or results that you already have attached to that account will be preserved.

I already have a Mentimeter account with my personal email

If you have an existing Mentimeter account (free or paid) using a personal non-UCL email address, then you can either just create one with your UCL email address, or we can transfer your old presentations and results over on request.