Mentimeter has recently become available at Leiden – an online ‘quiz-tool’ which allows the lecturer to quiz and poll students during a lecture. This seems especially useful for bigger lecture series where there are 20+ students participating; however, smaller groups might also take advantage.
I have tested Mentimeter for the first time during the first lecture of the series ‘Life is short: death in the ancient world’. Around 50-60 students turned up, which made this lecture a perfect opportunity to see if Mentimeter is useful. My first reaction was very positive: Mentimeter really allowed me to interact with this big group of students.
How did this work in practice? When starting the lecture, I first introduced some ‘practice questions’ which allowed the students to get used to Mentimeter. My questions were: are you a History, Classics, or minor student (multiple choice); do you have any questions related to the practical matters related to this lecture series (open question)? Not all students were ready to answer this question because they had to find out how Mentimeter works. However, the response was as follows:
I then started the actual lecture series and every now and then I asked the students a question. An example is the following, where I asked for their ideas about prominent causes of death in antiquity:
These are the first answers and they are pretty much spot on. There is one big disadvantage (or maybe not that big) about giving the students the opportunity to type in everything they like: some students – especially the ones responding last, it appears – seem to think it is funny to give ‘clever’ answers:
Anyhow, I think the only way to deal with this is to show the students that you have a sense of humour and can laugh about this – but not to give it any further attention. However, this issue would become a problematic one if people would submit offensive answers.
My experiment with Mentimeter has been, I feel, successful and will be continued. Students felt this way too: