DEU EdTech Quick Tips – Issue 67

In this Issue: Announcing Poll Everywhere

    • What is Poll Everywhere?
    • Using Poll Everywhere in an Asynchronous Online Course
    • Meet Your DEU Instructional Designer: Derek Fenlon
    • Tips on Starting a Summer Podcast Club
    • InstructureCon 2022
    • DEU Support and Contact Information

What is Poll Everywhere?

Poll Everywhere logoPoll Everywhere is a web-based polling tool (or ‘audience response’ tool) now available for faculty and instructors to use 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. Poll Everywhere was selected, after extended consideration and demonstration from vendors, to replace Top Hat as the USask-supported integrated polling tool.

If you want to start making polls for your own courses, 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, with additional documentation and supports planned for Fall 2022.

For More Help with Poll Everywhere:

Using Poll Everywhere in an Asynchronous Online Course

A screenshot showing the various Poll Everywhere activity types.

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, and then some templates for creating quick variations on those. Most (but not all!) 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.

For more information and ideas for using the various Poll Everywhere activity types in your asynchronous online courses, including real, live example polls that you can respond to, and instructions for how to embed activities into a Canvas page, see the following blog post from the DEU:

Using Poll Everywhere in an Asynchronous Online Course

Meet Your DEU Instructional Designer: Derek Fenlon

Portrait of Instructional Designer Derek FenlonDEU is pleased to welcome our newest Instructional Designer, Derek Fenlon, to our team! Here’s a bit more info about Derek:

Prior to starting my current one-year remote contract with USask, I worked in various course design roles at Queen’s University in Kingston. I started at Arts & Science Online in a role that focused on the technical processes of course production. A few years into this experience, I jumped back into pedagogy, starting my M.Ed and pivoting to instructional design. I recently completed a contract with the Smith School of Business, designing content for Commerce faculty, the Career Advancement Centre, and the Queen’s HR department. When I’m not working out of my home office, I might be found tending my teeny urban garden or rambling around downtown Kingston.

There is so much that I love about my job. I reflect a lot on my own student experiences, both good and bad, to help inform my course design processes. Assessments were a particular source of either joy or anxiety. Here are some approaches I use to make assessments more joyful and less anxiety-inducing:

    • Focusing on finer details: chunking instructions into discrete steps to make them more digestible; editing for conciseness and consistency to reduce confusion; creating evaluation tools like checklists and rubrics to make grading transparent
    • Looking at the big picture: offering authentic assessments; offering a diverse selection of assessments; offering differentiated assessments; scaffolding assessments throughout a course

Honestly, quality assessments are hard to design, and it can sometimes take several course offerings to “get it right”. If you want to chat about assessment designs, entire course designs, or what’s “Hip” in Kingston, let’s connect!

Get in touch with an Instructional Designer at the DEU by emailing

Tips on Starting a Summer Podcast Club

Women listening to headphones in a park

Photo by Charlotte May from

If you are looking for a book club alternative, consider forming a podcast club this summer. The following are some basic steps for getting started:

    1. Find some colleagues and/or friends who have similar interests and are interested in meeting with you.
    2. Decide where, when, and how often you will meet. For example, you want to meet weekly, during lunch, on Teams. The setup is what will work best for you and your group. Refine and reorganize as needed. Check-in to see if the group parameters are meeting everyone’s needs.
    3. There are so many podcasts available on so many subjects that you can find on a variety of platforms. Choose a podcast that will be the focus of your club. Here are a few examples that focus on teaching and learning topics:
    4. A few days before the meeting, email the link to the specific podcast episode chosen. Also include a few questions that your group can focus on for the meeting.
    5. You may want to ask each group member to take a turn hosting and leading the podcast group, choosing the episode for the meeting, and outlining the discussion questions.

Our friend and colleague, Erika Smith, Faculty Development Consultant, in the Academic Development Centre at Mount Royal University has compiled a fantastic list of podcastsrelated to teaching and learning in higher education. It is definitely worth checking out if you are a podcast fan.

InstructureCon 2022

Banner advertising InstructureCon

Did you know? InstructureCon, the annual conference offered by Instructure (the parent company behind the LMS Canvas) is happening virtually on July 14, 2022 (for North America).

For more information, or to register for this free event, visit