What works: Classroom polling ideas to engage students

Classroom polling is an evidence-based teaching practice that can be a great way to actively engage students in their own learning. Instructors can use polls to have students make predictions about course content, stimulate class discussion with peers, and generate new ideas.

Instructors at Cornell are using classroom polling in many creative ways to help students become active critical thinkers. At the same time, polling gives these instructors the ability to check in with students, gauge interest, collect feedback, and assess understanding.
In this workshop, faculty presenters will describe ways they currently use polling to create a meaningful, engaging student learning experience. CTI facilitators will share additional best practices, and participants will have an opportunity to connect with faculty colleagues and brainstorm ideas to take back to their own classrooms.


Watch a recording of the workshop.

You can also watch individual segments of the workshop.

Learning outcomes

Through this workshop, participants will

  1. discover evidence-based benefits of classroom polling for students, including active engagement, collection of feedback, and assessing understanding
  2. consider different ways to use polling to actively involve students in their own learning
  3. learn ways faculty colleagues are using polling in their classrooms


  • Natasha Holmes, Ann S. Bowers assistant professor of Physics (A&S)
    topic: Classroom polling examples for higher-level thinking skills and deeper learning
  • Hadas Ritz, senior lecturer in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Cornell Engineering)
    topic: Classroom polling use cases for discovering student misconceptions, deep reflection, and checking in on students
  • Todd Clary, lecturer in Classics (A&S)
    topic: Classroom polling using creative assessment techniques and managing "polling moments" during class