Implementation Guide: How to Use Real-time Polling to Increase Engagement and/or Assess Comprehension as a Non-Graded Activity

Who is this great for?

  • Instructors looking to engage students during their class (virtual or in-person)
  • Instructors looking to check for understanding of course content during, before, or after instruction
  • Instructors who have historically used clickers or in-class polling
  • Instructors looking to increase lecture attendance without requiring attendance or looking to provide an extra credit opportunity 
  • Any modality!


Student implementation: 

  • Students ask 1, answer 2 (or more) per Packback interval, for 10-20%+ of the grade (Packback Questions)
  • When directed, Students answer In-Class Polls created by the Instructor or TA

Instructor implementation:

  • Create In-Class polls for your students at any point in the semester. Set to “active” when you’re ready for students to answer. Set to” inactive” to prohibit further answers. Release 1+ polls during, before, or after your class
  • For no additional grading: don’t require in-class poll answers for graded credit. Use as an ungraded  ‘check for understanding’ and/or engaging activity
  • For minimal grading: Grade polls via the downloadable CSV and upload at your discretion to a new grade item in your LMS gradebook as an extra credit opportunity!
  • Utilize Match & Message to praise top performers & increase engagement 

Instructor and/or TA Weekly Workflow

"To-do" on the day after the Packback Questions assignment due date (15-20 minutes)

  • Download reports for any polls released last week (make sure they are set to "inactive" once you no longer want students to reply) and grade according to established recommendations (if applicable)
  • Head to the Insights Dashboard and review participation from last week
  • Head to Match & message. Send personalized messages based on Insights
  • Create your polls for upcoming lectures (make sure they are set to "hidden" until you’re ready for students to reply!)

When you’d like to use polls “in-class” (5-10 minutes)

  • Set poll(s) from "hidden" to "active" once you’d like students to be able to view & reply to the poll
  • Once you've gathered student responses & would like to prohibit further responding, set to "inactive"
    • Optional: Discuss poll answers in-class (whether in person or online)
  • If you want to force students to justify their response, use a homework poll instead of an in class poll

If you’d like to spend more time on Packback or further engage TAs, we recommend utilizing other engagement tools (“give feedback, feature, and spark) as well as utilizing Match & Message to reach out to students during the assignment window before the due date to encourage early and/or complete engagement.

Still Have Questions?

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to our Support Team by filling out our Request Form or reaching out to

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