Classroom Polling

Classroom Polling
allows instructors to quickly ask a question and instantly receive responses from each student during class.  Polling is used in class while presenting course material. Power Point or KeyNote are popular choices, but any method of presenting course content can be used – MS Word documents, PDF documents, web pages, etc.

Polling may be either:

  • conventional with students using purchased clickers remotes and the instructor using software to collect and display the responses
  • mobile/web, which uses online software or a mobile app with students’ web-enabled device (e.g. a cell phone, smart phone, iPad, tablet or laptop).

Want to get started using iClicker for your classroom polling?

Our Spring workshops are now complete. We are still available to help! To request online or in-person consultations, or workshops for department, TA, or instruction groups, contact us at – or walk-in to room 123 of the Computing and Communication Center building to schedule an appointment.

Learn more about this service and listen to instructors share their experiences with using classroom polling.   A Classroom Polling Webinar Event was held on February 24, 2016 with the main topics still relevant in 2018.  The 41-minute recording of this session is below:

Conventional polling at Cornell is provided using the iClicker brand of in-class polling software.  A receiver base is connected to the instructor computer during lecture and the iClicker software runs on the instructor’s computer.  As each student chooses their answer to the question presented in class, a wireless signal (radio frequency) is sent immediately from each responding clicker to the receiver base.   The receiver base collects votes sent by the students’ clickers.  Light and portable, the receiver base is powered through the computer’s USB port.  iClicker’s software stores the data of each individual student. The instructor can then display voting results in a summary chart to the class, including the correct answer, if desired. The results are also available for later analysis, grading, and exporting to any grade book software or course management system, such as Blackboard.

Mobile and web polling: Students may also use their smart phones/laptop computers/iPads/tablet computers in class instead of an iClicker remote using the iClicker Reef app.  This is only allowed if the instructor chooses to allow it in class.  The student responses are displayed just like clicker responses, with the same results and analysis capabilities as with clicker responses.  The instructor’s iClicker program collects and records both methods of students responses at the same time.

There is no fee for Cornell instructors and staff to use iClicker for their instruction. Each student is required to purchase an iClicker remote or a subscription to iClicker Reef Polling. The Cornell Book Store sells used or new iClicker remotes for between $30.00 – $43.00, just like a text book for a course. But unlike a text book, one student remote can be used by that student in multiple courses in a given semester and the same remote can be used in multiple semesters throughout a student’s time at Cornell. For details on how to use iClicker, see the iClicker Basics page.  Full details about mobile/web polling can be found at the Mobile/Web Polling page.

Other mobile and web polling options are also available that are different from iClicker/iClicker Reef.  These other products use a web site to present questions and collect student responses.  Students use their smart phones/laptop computers/iPads/tablet computers in class using apps and web pages to respond to the questions through either a subscription to a specific product or the instructor’s department pays for the student use of the product.  Two examples of these products that are being used at Cornell are Poll Everywhere and Learning Catalytics.  These products are also supported by the Academic Technologies support staff.  For more information about these options, please contact us at

A comparison of the most-recently popular products that are used at Cornell can be seen at this page.

To get started with classroom polling, please see the iClicker Basics page.


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