What is an IPAL (In-class Polling for All Learners) activity?

Overview of the IPAL (In-class Polling for All Learners) project:

The IPAL project provides a free, open-source solution that will allow students to use a mixture of clickers and web-enabled devices (laptops, iPads, smartphones, etc.) to respond to in-class polling through a Moodle module. Research shows that the greater student involvement obtained through polling increases student learning and provides immediate feed-back to instructors, allowing for better response to student needs. Professors can create their own questions, but IPAL also provides ready-to-use peer-reviewed questions for the introductory physics course. The initial set of questions includes hundreds of questions from the ConcepTest questions authored by Physics Professor Eric Mazur and his group from Harvard University. These questions are housed at ComPADRE, a National Physics and Astronomy Digital Library (http://www.compadre.org/). The database will allow others to add questions for other courses/disciplines to this database of questions.

An analysis of the response data will help identify patterns that may indicate a student is in danger of dropping the class or quitting school. This will provide an opportunity for early intervention to increase course completion and retention rates. Authorized people at each school will be able to obtain the data and this analysis for that school or schools using the Starfish student retention solution (http://www.starfishsolutions.com/) will be able to request that these data be combined with other data making the Starfish analysis more accurate.

The IPAL module may be added to any Moodle site that is running Moodle version 2.1 or higher. Contact Bill Junkin junkinwf@ckerd.edu">junkinwf@ckerd.edu to obtain this module.

How do I use IPAL?

A) Go to your Moodle site and log in.

B) The course or courses in which you are enrolled will be presented to you. Click into your course.

C) For teachers, turn editing on (the button at the top right of the page).

Turn On Editing

For students, click on the polling activity created by your teacher and wait for a questions to be sent.

The rest of these instructions are for teachers only:

Creating an IPAL session involves the steps.

1) Creating the link that you and students will click on to access the IPAL session.

2) Adding questions to this session.

3) Clicking on the session to start polling.

1A) Select the place where you want to create a polling activity (an ipal session). From the “Add an activity” drop-down menu, select ipal:

1B) You will need to give the polling (ipal) session a name and a description. The name will be what students see when they come to the site. When this is done, click “Save and Return to Course:”


2A) In the page that appears, the link to your ipal session will be displayed. However, you still need to select some questions to be used for polling. Please click on that link.

2B) In the page that appears you can add or create some questions by clicking on the “Add/Change Questions” button.

Add/Change Questions

2C) If you have any questions created previously, they will be displayed on the right hand side of the page. There are buttons that allow you to create questions. Only multiple choice or true false questions can be used in the current version. We plan to allow free response questions to be used in a future version.

2D) On the right side above the area where questions would be listed, there is a button that will allow you to select questions from ComPADRE . Get Questions from ComPADRE If you click on this button you will get to the ComPADRE site:

ComPADRE site 

At this site there is a searchable (by topic and/or keyword) database of peer-reviewed questions. You may select as many or as few as you wish. When you are ready to “check out” there is a button that allows you to transfer these questions back to your Moodle course site. The questions will get added to your question databank and to the Moodle instance. (Moodle allows you to create various categories so you can keep questions organized. Thus there is an intermediate step allowing you to select the category.)

2E) The questions from ComPADRE are added to your ipal instance automatically. If you have other questions in the databank, you can add them by using the check box method or the left arrow method:

When questions have been added to an ipal instance you can remove them by clicking on the “x” in front of the question. The “pen in hand” icon Edit or Update (called the “Update” icon) allows you to change the question. There are also move icons and preview icons associated with each question allowing you to see the full question or move the question to a new location in the list.


3A) Once you have created or selected the desired questions, you can click on the “Start polling with ...” link to return to the page where you can start polling. (At any time you can get back to the course main site by clicking on the course title, either in the breadcrumbs at the top or the links on the left side.)

3B) At this page you can select any of the questions and send the question to make it the active question. You may do this in any order. When students start answering questions, the graph below will display an anonymous histogram of their responses.

They can continue to respond and change their answers as often as they wish until you click on the “Stop Polling” button. (Clicking on that button is optional.) Beside each question is a “graph” link. When you click on that link, a static graph of their responses to that point is displayed. Below the graph there is a link that allows you to display the dynamic graph in a new browser window. The number of responses received so far is displayed above the graph.

3C) If you leave the site, when you return to your course, if you click on the link for the ipal instance, you will see the questions you selected and you may start polling. Students see the same link, but when they click on that link, all they see is the question (if any) that you have sent them.

This version is beta because there are numerous enhancements, utilities, and features that we plan to add to the program very soon.

The current features include:

· A dynamic, real-time histogram view (anonymous) of student responses to multiple choice questions.

· A “question” link beside each question which displays what students will see.

· A “graph” view beside each question which displays a static histogram for responses to that question

· A link below the dynamic histogram which displays the histogram in a new window/tab

· An indication “Total Responses” of the number of responding students out of all who have responded to any of the polling questions

· The automatic creation of a “Generic” multiple choice question which can be used when the question and answers are given verbally or in another program.

· A preview button for questions when you are in the Edit/Select question page.

· The questions can be sent in any order.

· You can disable the ability of students to submit or change answers by clicking the “Stop Polling” button. All data is retained and available when you “Start Polling” again. (This can work as a timer.)

Our script is free and open-source and funded as one of the NGLC (Next Generation Learning Challenge) grants administered through Educause and funded by the Bill Gates Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation ( http://www.educause.edu/nglc ). The IPAL project is one of 29 projects funded nationally in the First Wave of NGLC grants.

It is our intention that the entire IPAL module is so intuitive that you feel that you have wasted your time in reading this Users Guide. We welcome suggestions about improvement or changes to the IPAL module and/or its presentation in this Users Guide. Bill Junkin, junkinwf@eckerd.edu">junkinwf@eckerd.edu