College of Liberal Arts

Faculty and students use UT Instapoll - a free and easy-to-use classroom response system on campus.

instapoll logo

Classroom response systems and polling tools are a popular way for instructors to take attendance, assess student understanding, and encourage student participation. There are many available products on the market that provide unique features for instructors to take advantage of. However, there's no one-size-fits all standard, and students are often asked to purchase and keep track of multiple devices each semester. In an effort to bring a no-cost tool to classroom-based courses, the Liberal Arts Development Studio collaborated with UT faculty in the College of Natural Science’s Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science (TIDES) to create UT Instapoll, fully integrated with Canvas, and accessible on laptops and mobile devices in classrooms.   

UT Instapoll has its origins in the online course program at UT. For years, faculty teaching online courses in partnership with the Liberal Arts Development Studio used an internally-developed polling tool, accessible at no cost to students. These instructors quickly identified the need for a similar classroom-based version. In Spring 2019, The Liberal Arts Development Studio launched UT Instapoll for campus use after a successful pilot program in Fall 2018, where piloting faculty and students helped solidify product features for release to campus at large, with ongoing support to be provided by ITS and the UT Canvas team. This semester, 137 active courses use UT Instapoll and over 5800 students are responding to polls in classes using their laptops and smartphones.

UT Instapoll has the advantage of being fully integrated with the Canvas gradebook. Features include multiple choice and text entry polls, and presentation of images, chemical equations, and mathematical equations. Polls are sent to students and responses are aggregated in a variety of visual formats, including tables, charts, and word clouds. Polls can be graded or non-graded and faculty can export/import polls from one semester to the next for easy setup.

student using smartphone

UT Instapoll was launched by the Liberal Arts Development Studio in coordination with the new UT Canvas App Store, now found in all Canvas courses, designed to host tools made “by UT, for UT”. Other apps in the store include Qualtrics Grade Passback, a tool allowing faculty to deliver Qualtrics surveys which auto-record completion grades in the Canvas Gradebook, as well as the Peer Review tool, designed to make grading peer-review assessments in Canvas more manageable in larger classes. The UT Canvas App Store is now open as a center for developers and instructors to share tools that will benefit campus.

To learn more …

         Instructors who are interested in using UT Instapoll can view the documentation and install the tool by visiting the UT Canvas App Store here and it's also available from within any Canvas course. Additional documentation can be found at the Canvas Training Center’s page.