Using Poll Everywhere in an Asynchronous Online Course

Poll Everywhere is a web-based polling tool now available at USask. It allows for group engagement, feedback, and interaction through live online polling, surveys, Q&As, quizzes, word clouds, and more. Poll Everywhere is also a fairly flexible tool, and can be used for teaching and learning in face-to-face synchronous, online synchronous (i.e., Zoom), and online asynchronous situations. This post will focus on providing some tips and ideas for using Poll Everywhere in your asynchronous online courses, including instructions for how to embed the activity into a Canvas page.

Claim and log into your USask Poll Everywhere account through the “Surveys and Polls” PAWS channel, by clicking the “Poll Everywhere” button to login with SSO. More information and links will be added to this channel as they become available.

Once your account has been claimed, you can also login directly through, using

Overview of the Poll Everywhere Activity Types

A screenshot of the activity types available in Poll Everywhere
A screenshot of the activity types available in Poll Everywhere.

When you go to create a Poll Everywhere activity, you will find there are 7 general activity types: Multiple choice, Word cloud, Q&A, Clickable image, Survey, Open-ended, and Competition. If you click the “More” option, there are a number of quick templates that offer variations and examples of how to use those 7 activities.

Most of the activity types can work really well in an asynchronous setting by embedding them into a webpage (e.g., into a Canvas course) and letting the learners respond at different times, and also see the live results instantly as they appear. The following summary table offers a quick glimpse at which activity types work best asynchronously.

Poll Everywhere Activity Type Collect responses asynchronously? Show live results asynchronously?
Multiple choice Yes Yes
Word cloud Yes Yes
Q&A Yes Yes
Clickable image Yes Yes
Survey Yes No
Open ended Yes Yes
Competition No N/A

In the following sections, you’ll find additional information on each of these activity types, along with some ideas and real, live examples for how you might use them in your asynchronous online course.


These allow students to choose an answer from a list of responses options (e.g., True/False, A, B, or C).  You can also upload images to serve as response options. Optionally, you can define which answers are correct, and later obtain a report of students responses according to how many answered correctly.

This could be a good way to introduce controversial topics into a course and see how the opinions of your class are split; or, you might use this option to introduce and then dispel common misconceptions.

Try an Example Multiple Choice Poll

See the Live Results

Word Cloud

This option displays open-ended audience responses as a dynamic word cloud. More common responses are adjusted to become larger in the presentation, giving a good gauge of the most popular ideas.

Word clouds work well as a means of class brainstorming before a discussion, or as a means of representing consensus and/or diversity amongst your learners. The open-ended nature of it allows students to share many different ideas and perspectives, and for the instructor to collect and represent all of those ideas in a visual manner.

A good practice when using the Word Cloud poll type is to add an instruction for participants to only use single-word responses, or to join words with underscores. Otherwise, a response like “concord grapes” will appear in the Word Cloud separately as two different entries — “concord” and “grapes”. So, either submit this answer as “concord_grapes” or keep it more simply as just “grapes”.

Consider this limitation when selecting the Word Cloud type! Depending on the question, another poll type, like the Open-ended type, might work better for you.

Try an Example Word Cloud Poll

See the Live Results


This option allows students to submit responses, and then anonymously agree or disagree with other responses by upvoting or downvoting.

This is a good option when you are trying to have the class reach a consensus about a topic, and could be a good stem activity into a deeper discussion about student perceptions, opinions, or attitudes.

Try an Example Q&A Poll

See the Live Results

Clickable Image

This creates a poll that allows students to vote by clicking on a particular location on an image of your choosing. Optionally, you can define a part of the image within which to track students responses.

This is a good option to show the geographical distribution of your learners (e.g., click on the part of the map you are joining the class from); or it could be used to show an image and have the class find a “hotspot” that you might want to draw their attention to (e.g., on a biological diagram, find a particular structure). Again, this could be a great way to identify and then dispel, through further discussion, common misconceptions or errors.

Try an Example Clickable Image Poll

See the Live Results


This option is the one activity type that’s really designed specifically for collecting asynchronous responses to Poll Everywhere questions. You can insert Multiple choice, Word cloud, Q&A, Clickable image, Open-ended, or Ranking questions.

However, note that with this option, there is no way to allow your students to see the live results! Instead, the instructor can download the results when they are ready to, and they are exported as a .csv spreadsheet. So, this activity type is really more a means of collecting one-way information or data from your students, rather than allowing them to see and interact with the responses from their classmates.

Try an Example Poll Everywhere Survey


These polls allow student to submit free text responses to the polls.  Open-ended poll responses can be displayed as text wall, word cloud, cluster, or spotlight.

These types of polls work well if you want to quickly collect student feedback, especially if you want to give them the option of responding anonymously. For example, you might ask students at the end of a module “What’s one question you still have?” and then address those questions later on in the course, or in a subsequent discussion.

Try an Example Open-ended Poll

See the Live Results


This last activity type allows the instructor to create a series of multiple-choice questions, then lets participants compete to answer fastest. However, this activity type does not work at all for asynchronous learning. It needs to be used during synchronous teaching (either in-person or online).

Embedding Polls for Asynchronous Use

The polls you see on this website were all embedded on this WordPress page. You can do something similar on your own webpage, or on a page in Canvas.  Remember that you need to toggle to the HTML editor to paste in the embed script.

Here are the basic steps to embed a poll:

  1. In Poll Everywhere, create your activity.
  2. Under “Configure > How people can respond”, deselect the “Text messaging” option (this option does not exist on all poll types).
  3. Under “Configure > Audience restriction and identity”, toggle “How do you want to identify participants?” to “Completely anonymous”.
  4. Under “Send > Share and embed > Response link”, click to “Copy embed script”. This will give you the HTML code that you can paste into a Canvas page. If you prefer to just give a direct link, click to “Copy response link” instead.
  5. Under “Send > Share and embed > Live results”, click to “Copy embed script”. This will give you the HTML code that you can paste into a Canvas page. If you prefer to just give a direct link, click to “Copy live results link” instead.

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