How do your students know whether they have mastered a concept before they take a formal assessment? Your students may take advantage of online textbook resources that include cognitive tutors to test their knowledge if available. And, methods such as iterative assignments with defined revision cycles, group discussion, interactive video, a pre-quiz, and class review time can help as well. Without the inevitable grade, getting reluctant students to participate in self-assessment or study activities can be a challenge.

One method of increasing potential interest in these activities is to make them more fun and personally engaging. Some faculty do this by gamifying their review sessions. Another method is to use some tools that social media have made popular recently. Have you ever felt compelled to take one of the many quizzes or polls that are presented via Facebook, for example? Why not use this approach for making an online learning experience a bit richer.

There are many easy to use and free online tools available for creating fun quizzes, polls, and trivia tests that you can embed into your course site or Blackboard shell.  One I’ve been using recently is Opinion Stage (

1. Generate curiosity and encourage emotional connection by creating a ‘Personality Quiz’ around a topic that is value-driven.

2. Create a poll for feedback on topics students are struggling with.  

3. Use a trivia quiz with images and video as a self-assessment.

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