Last week I used Optivote for the first time and very successfully, so I thought I would share my thoughts and experiences on its use. This is not a word for word guide about how to use it, but where possible I have linked relevant training videos.
First thing I need to say is that if you wish to use Optivote, you need to contact Dean in AV support as it was his involvement in the first instance that made everything so easy down the line.
To gather student feed back about how they use and how useful they find the Media Site recordings of one module on their course. We also wanted to asses what type of learner the individual was to see if this effected their use of the Media Site recordings.
The Set Up
Getting started was very quick and easy. It consisted of a simple install of the Optivote software on my desktop computer and making a profile. You then create a local database which stores the lessons you have created, which in turn contains the questions you have written. This may be slightly more complicated if you don’t have admin rights on your computer to install software, just get hold of who ever normally does it for you.
There are two ways that you can build your questions.
- Use Optivote’s built in question feature.
- Use a traditional Power Point that contains questions linked to Optivote.
Due to the nature of what I was attempting, a straight questionnaire, not questions within an already prepared lecture, I decided to just use Optivote’s own built in system.
The first questionnaire, the shortened version of “Experiences of Teaching” is 17 questions all with multiple choice, but no correct answer. At first I thought it would be quite annoying to have to type the set of “Agree, Agree Some What, Disagree, Disagree Somewhat, Unsure” 17 times but thankfully they have included a duplicate question option which saved me at least some sanity if not a lot of time. My second set of 12 questions were of the same type and also had 5 options so it was no hassle putting that one together.
Generally setting up the questions is very easy with you making some choices over the type of question and how many answers you want to give your audience the choice of. The questions and answers can be formatted to use text and pictures, but I only used the text option. I think as long as you have your questionnaire thoroughly designed before you start trying to use the software this process is no more difficult that creating a power point slide.
On The Day
Come the day of reckoning, I simply copied my Optivote database to my “H drive” from “My Documents” and turned up at the lecture room. Dean from AV was there to meet me and together we handed out the hand sets to the intrigued group of about 40 students. It was nice to see their reaction to something new, and pretty much instantly they all seemed on board with whatever was about to happen.
I fired up Optivote on the teaching room PC, and it went straight to my “H drive” and loaded my database of lessons and questions. I cannot stress how seamless an experience it was, creating the lessons at my own computer and then being able to open them where I needed to.
We moved through the questions very quickly. All 25 questions were answered in less than 15mins, and I’m reasonably confident that these answers are useful and “correct”. The students seemed engaged and as the hand sets are so simple no one seemed to get be confused over there use. In general the students were very happy with the pace and what the questions were asking. There was only one incident of myself clarifying a question and students changing their minds as to which answer they gave, so it’s quite useful that this is a feature of the system.
Interpreting Results & Reporting
It seems to me that Optivote has been made to collect information and report it back on discreet questionnaires. I would guess however that in the most part this is exactly what users want to do. In my case however, I want to do some comparisons between the 2 sets of results. There is only limited cross referencing I want to do though and I think its also very important to remember that if I had conducted this research in the traditional way I would not only have to manually cross reference the data but also manually collate it in the first place.
Its very easy to produce reports from your data. Below is a screen shot of the available reports. I won’t pretend to know what all of these do yet, I’m not even sure at this stage which I’m going to using for my research, although I’m sure this will become apparent once I get into it.
On top of these types of reports you can save any report data to an Excel Spread Sheet, Word Doc or HTML page.
If you are interested in Optivote you can check out some more information in our Learning Technologies Module in Blackboard. Link requires you to have an Aston log in suitable for Blackboard.