Engage Students in Synchronous Online Teaching Using Mentimeter

Author: Rachel Horrocks-Birss, Academic Skills Centre

Goal

Engaging large groups of students online, particularly when the students are not using their microphones and cameras, can be challenging. Use Mentimeter to gather students’ ideas and test understanding.  

Outline

This recipe will address a variety of Mentimeter’s features for student engagement in a live online class. It is not an exhaustive guide to Mentimeter, or student engagement in live sessions. If you’ve used Mentimeter or a similar tool in your own teaching and have more strategies to share, please contribute a recipe! 

Preparation

Before the session, set up your presentation on Mentimeter. Log in with your UoD credentials and open a new presentation. You can upload a PPT presentation to act as a base, or start from scratch.  

When your presentation is ready (see “Delivery” for presentation ideas), load Collaborate in a new tab. In Collaborate, use the “share tab” function to share your Mentimeter presentation. This will allow you to see your menti presentation in Collaborate, so you can continue to monitor the chat (note that you’ll have to navigate back to the menti tab in order to progress to the next slide).  

To collect student responses, simply ask the students to go to menti.com and enter the 6-digit code that will appear at the top of your slides. Students will then be able to respond to your questions as you progress through the presentations. (Note: students do not need to make an account to respond to your presentation. All responses are anonymous).  

Delivery

There are many ways to use Mentimeter during your live teaching sessions. Here are a few different ways to engage with your students. 

Initial Impressions 

Mentimeter is an excellent tool to collect first impressions from your students. Use a slide such as Word Cloud with an open-ended question: “How do you feel today?” “What do you think are the most important aspects of X?” “What are you most looking forward to about today’s material?” 

Responses 

Mentimeter can also be used to collect more detailed responses from students. Use the Open Ended slide to collect lengthier comments. The anonymous format means that students may respond more honestly to questions such as, “What was most challenging about the assignment?” or “What aspect of the course do you feel least confident about?” 

The Scales slide is an excellent tool for non-binary questions. Students can move the slider to either side in order to agree or disagree with statements such as, “I found the material challenging” or “I’m able to manage time effectively.” 

Polls 

You can poll your students using slides with pre-set answers. The Multiple Choice slide allows students to select one (or more) applicable answers, while the Ranking slide encourages students to rank topics. Use these tools to gage student responses to your material or assignments; again, the anonymous format means that students can answer a question such as, “How much work have you done on the assignment?” without shame! 

Comprehension 

Mentimeter allows you to easily check if students have understood your material. Use a Multiple Choice or Ranking slide to ask students what they thought your key points were, then take the opportunity to correct any misconceptions.  

Reflection 

To wrap up a session, use the Open Ended slide to ask reflective questions, such as “What’s your key takeaway?” or “What will you do differently as a result of today’s session?” 

Feedback  

One of the excellent aspects of Mentimeter is that all the student responses provide you with instant feedback as students engage with your slides. If you want to ask for feedback more explicitly, you could use a Multiple Choice slide to ask how they enjoyed the session, or a Ranking slide to find out which aspects they enjoyed most. You could also use the Open Ended slide to ask for their thoughts on the module so far.  

Questions 

Mentimeter’s Question feature is an excellent way to hold all questions until the end of the session (or designated points during the session) rather than having to constantly monitor Collaborate’s chat box. You can set the slide so that the audience can ask their questions at any point, and allow students to view and “upvote” each other’s questions. The anonymous nature means that students may be more willing to ask what’s really on their mind! 

Quizzes 

Mentimeter’s Quiz feature allows students to compete with their peers in a timed quiz. The faster students answer, the more points they get. Add a Leaderboard slide to let students see who’s winning! 

Contest 

Use the Who Will Win? slide for quick competitions. This slide works much like the Multiple Choice slide, except it keeps votes secret until you click to reveal the winner.  

 

Pros and Cons of Mentimeter 

Pros: 

– Mentimeter encourages multiple students to respond to questions, rather than just one or two in the comments section. This encourages a variety of opinions, amplifies the voices of quiet students, and avoids more confident students dominating the discussion. 
– Anonymity means that students are more likely to provide honest responses or to ask questions they’d otherwise be too embarrassed to ask.  
– The variety of slide types makes creating interactive sessions incredibly easy. An experienced user can create an hour-long session in just a few minutes.  
– The “Import PowerPoint” feature allows you to integrate interactive Mentimeter slides into your pre-existing presentations. 
 

Cons

– Immature groups may take advantage of the anonymous feature to make inappropriate comments. Make sure you’ve turned the Profanity Filter on (available under ’Configure’) but be aware that this won’t catch everything.  
– The anonymity means it’s impossible to see which students are participating and which aren’t engaging. Running sessions exclusively through Mentimeter can make it difficult to get to know your students.  
– PowerPoint animations aren’t supported in Mentimeter. Timings and animations will be removed when you import your PPT into Mentimeter

Follow-Up

After the Mentimeter session, the data is preserved in your account so you can go back at any point and re-read your students’ responses. If you want to reuse a presentation, you can download the data before using the slides with a new cohort.  

You can also download the completed Mentimeter slides as a PDF to share with your students after the class. This works well if you’ve asked them to brainstorm ideas or share their top tips.  

Taking it Further

Mentimeter has a number of Advanced Question slides not discussed in this recipeThese slides allow students to perform more complex tasks, such as dividing 100 points between several options, rating options along several axes, or filling in forms.  

It is possible to use Mentimeter for asynchronous classes, as the slides can be set to Audience Pace for students to work through on their own. (Note: For security reasons, codes will automatically expire in 4 hours. You can extend the validity of your code using the Share menu. The maximum time you can extend the code’s validity is 14 days.)  

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