The PLaCE Team regularly receives emails from MQ colleagues asking about various aspects of learning and teaching. Our usual practice is to discuss these at a team meeting, collate our responses, and send them back to the questioner. This year, we’re sharing these Qs – & our As – more widely.

Q What are the best real-time polling and quiz tools to use for class interaction?

The second part to this question was: Which tools does MQ provide institutional support for? Sub-plot – which ones are free and which ones would require a subscription that the teacher has to pay for?

Polls vs quizzes – what’s the difference?

Generally, a poll collects choices, votes or opinions, with no ‘correct’ answers. The output might be a graph or percentages.

A quiz has right and wrong answers and is designed to test knowledge.

However, there is some crossover between the two – for example some tools have ungraded surveys or use the term ‘poll’ to mean ‘a question’. Then there is a Questionnaire or Survey which is designed to obtain more detailed feedback and suggestions and are more likely to include some open-ended questions.

Benefits for student engagement and inclusivity

  • Students can provide responses anonymously – so even those students who may not be confident putting up their hand in class can engage and have a voice to provide an opinion, an answer or to ask a question.
  • All students can engage simultaneously.
  • You can find out if students understand what you have just taught – allowing you to identify gaps in students’ knowledge and quickly address these.
  • It creates a dialogue between students and teaching staff allowing you to quickly gather feedback
  • Great if you’ve got online students as you can’t see how they are responding like you can with a face-to-face class where you can scan the room.
  • Can be used to encourage communication between students, and to prompt discussion and peer instruction.

Popular polling tools used around MQ

Below is a quick overview of some of the most popular polling and quiz tools being used around MQ. Thanks to the Learning and Teaching SWAT Team (comprised of central and faculty learning designers and other L&T staff) for their nominations. Note this is not a complete list and we are not making recommendations on which one you should choose for your purpose.

Currently, there is no dedicated polling solution that is licensed and supported by MQ. However, there are polling tools built into existing MQ supported platforms.

If these built-in tools do not meet your needs, then you may consider using an external tool, but this means that MQ IT support staff are unable to provide assistance if you have an issue with a particular tool. If you want to go beyond any free version of the tool, then you will need to pay for it yourself. When using an external polling tool, most are free for students to provide their responses, however teacher access may require payment or there may be limits to time, class size or the number of questions.

Tools built into MQ systems


Echo360 is MQ’s lecture recording system which captures lectures and delivers the recordings to students through iLearn. It has interactive features including student polling and quizzes which can be run during lectures.

During your lecture, ask students to participate in quizzes and polls by answering using their own devices. Results are gathered in real-time and can be displayed to students during the lecture. After the lecture, you can review analytics including an overview of participation, down to individual student responses to each quiz and poll. The polling features within Echo360 are expected to be enhanced in future. Look out for future TECHE posts as this develops.

There are Quick guides for using Echo360. In particular, look at the specific guides for:

H5P quiz

H5P is a tool that allows you to create interactive content that can be embedded directly in iLearn. Not so much for polling but there are a few quiz options (arithmetic quiz, multiple or single choice quiz, true/false quiz, feedback questionnaire).

Refer to this Quick guide on how to use H5P within iLearn for a multiple-choice quiz.

View the H5P website for examples of different H5P interactive content.

iLearn tools

Within iLearn there are options to create an online poll (choice activity), a survey (questionnaire activity) or a quiz assessment activity and add it into your iLearn site.

If you were going to use these activities in iLearn during a live class, students would need to be logged into ilearn.

For instructions on how to use the Choice activity in iLearn to create a single question online poll, see the ‘Choice: creating an online poll’ heading on this iLearn Activities Quick Guide page.

For a multi-question ‘poll’ use the ‘Questionnaire’ iLearn activity – useful for information gathering surveys. See the ‘Questionnaire Module’ heading on the iLearn Activities Quick Guide page.

You can also set up quizzes in iLearn for assessment. The iLearn Quizzes Quick Guide page will run you through how to create, edit and apply settings to quizzes in iLearn embed a quiz assessment.

See also this TECHE post: What works, what doesn’t for iLearn quizzes

Zoom polling tool

If your class is run over Zoom, then the Zoom polling tool might be a good option. It means you don’t need to have a lot of different tools open to navigate your way around, so from that perspective, it’s simpler. The following resources will guide you through using Zoom and creating polls within a Zoom session:

External polling tools

This is not an exhaustive list – just a few of the tools we know of that are being used around MQ.


Create polls, multiple choice quizzes and word clouds with Flux. Students can provide text or image responses. You can add members of your teaching team so they can use the same poll/quiz in their classes, so this tool is great for use within a teaching team on a unit.

Find a full run down on all the features of Flux.

Access instructions for getting set up with Flux and using it in the classroom.

At the time of writing, FLUX is free with no student limits for early adopters. Flux is based in Melbourne, Australia.


Kahoot is an interactive and engaging quiz tool. You can create some quizzes for free – for an audience of a limited number of students (up to 25 students). For more participants you’ll need a paid version and for about $9-12/month you can get the Teacher version.

For more information refer to the Kahoot website.


Use Mentimeter to create Word clouds, polls, quizzes, questions from the audience and surveys. This tool Integrates with PowerPoint so you can include the poll in your slides. There is a free basic account but there are limitations such as the ability to customise the look on the free version. This platform is hosted overseas.

See all the features here and find information about using Mentimeter in education.


Not really a poll or a quiz – Padlet is a collaborative tool where students can post text responses or notes on a shared page- it’s good for gathering feedback and opinions. See these ideas for using Padlet in teaching.

The free version available here lets you create up to 3 Padlet boards at a time.

Poll everywhere

Create live polls, surveys, Q&As, quizzes, and word clouds. Embed polls in presentations (i.e., it integrates into PowerPoint) and watch the answers update to your live polls in real-time. Great for a large audience such as in a lecture. Moderation is important when presenting live answers, and Poll Everywhere gives you the ability to accept or reject answers as they come in. You can customise the look e.g to reflect MQ branding.

See this article on 5 top Poll Everywhere question types and for more information visit the Poll Everywhere website. University of Liverpool have a useful guide for using Poll Everywhere in teaching.

Create live polls and surveys, including multiple-choice, ratings, open text, and word cloud. It can be used for students to ask questions or vote on a favourite option. The answers will show up in real-time during the class so everyone can see together the results. After the presentation, you can download the results as a PDF file to analyse at a later time. The tool integrates with PowerPoint. Responses can be downloaded/exported e.g into an excel spreadsheet.

Slido is best for ‘solo’ presenters. There is a free basic login suitable for up to 100 participants. For >100 <200 participants, plans start at $25 /month.

For more information visit the Slido website.


Create quizzes, surveys, and team activities. The free version allows you to create a maximum of 5 quizzes for up to 50 students at a time. There is a Higher Ed version available which costs $179 USD/year.

For more information visit the Socrative website.

Don’t rule out low tech options

In face-to-face classes:

* Pen and paper
* Paper and a jar – or lego or post-it-notes.
* Show of hands/hands up.

If teaching via Zoom, then just using thumbs up or typing into text chat (in place of a polling tool) can be easier and works for smaller groups.

Note: some staff find that the low-tech options don’t engage students as well as other tools – students seem to prefer the “competitive” aspects of some live polling tools to get them interested.

Ideas for using polls/quizzes in your teaching

  • Stop/think/reflect on what you have just presented – get feedback on whether they have understood the key points. A poll could help identify topics for revision.
  • Use a poll to kick start an in-class discussion.
  • Polls and quizzes can be run ‘live’ in a session, either in-person or online or they can be made available for responses before or after a session, which can be particularly useful for gathering information ahead of teaching or allowing students to check their understanding.
  • It can be useful to get students to discuss in pairs or groups before responding to a Quiz question and then have them respond either individually or together.

Avoiding inappropriate use – due your due diligence

The key dividing line is whether the tool is licensed and integrated with MQ systems. Tools that can be set up to require students to use their MQ OneID in order to access the tool allows MQ to trace the identity of a user in the case of any misconduct (I.e. to pursue disciplinary action). However, when using external tools, identifying users is normally not possible.

Prevention is better than cure.

Doing due diligence on the features of external tools will be required. Features that raise the risk of untraceable misuse are:

  • anonymous use, tools that do not require the use of a MQ login,
  • where users can choose or change their own usernames/handles,
  • if users can share or upload files (images, video, audio, documents, executables etc) or links, tools that allow users to speak or share webcams,
  • if there are no or weak filters or
  • if there is a lack of teacher controlled moderation of student contributions.

A profanity filter can help to remove offensive words. However, these may not be watertight and may not prevent offensive comments that avoid the use of trigger words. Examples include Padlet’s profanity filter setting that can detect inappropriate words and replace them with an emoji. Mentimeter removes the words from the presentation. Slido offers a profanity filter, and an option to moderate or delete problematic questions.

Moderation features allow a teacher to control the display of student contributions. This will allow the teacher to filter inappropriate or off topic responses. But this also increases the teacher’s workload. For example; Poll Everywhere has a moderation feature so the teacher can see every response before it appears on screen. The teacher will need to approve each comment before it is displayed to the group.

Socialising the etiquette of use is important where students can contribute free-text responses, especially if using external tools.

Top tip: If using an external tool, it is generally a good idea, where possible, to stick to multiple choice questions rather than using open text responses.

Privacy – what data are you asking for and where is it going?

Be aware that many of the external tools are hosted overseas and this may have implications for data privacy and protection. Make sure you are not asking students for any personal information in their responses. You may also want to warn students ahead of time to consider how they respond to avoid sharing information that may identify themselves.

When using external tools where Macquarie University does not have any institutional license then implications may include:

  • student IP goes out of our ownership
  • If you make teaching materials available within the external tool, then be aware that your content is being shared outside of MQ IT managed platforms.

Other considerations

  • Teaching staff need to allow time to learn the tool and create and set up the questions.
  • Students will require a networked device such as a phone or computer in order to respond. If a student doesn’t have their own device, you could encourage discussion with another student and then they submit a shared response.
  • Do you have international students? – check if the tool is available internationally. You can check if a site is blocked in China using this security tool.
  • Do you need to embed it in iLearn or in a PowerPoint presentation? Check if the tool allows this.

Do you need analytics?

Echo360 and Zoom have basic analytics (I.e. response summary for each poll).

iLearn Choice and Questionnaire have response summaries and also capture details within iLearn logs (however there is no graphical dashboard).

iLearn Insights also includes student use of Choice and Questionnaire (by virtue of these being iLearn ‘activity’ tools) and limited oversight of student use of Echo within its functionality.

Let’s compare

ToolMQ supported Free version?iLearn integration*PowerPoint integration*If external, hosted in Aus or Oseas?Live moderation /profanity filterResponse reporting analytics
H5PYesYesYesNoN/ANot specifiedYes
iLearn YesYesYesNoN/ANoYes
FluxNoYesYesYesAusNot specifiedYes
KahootNoYes for <25 studentsNoYesOseasYesYes
Poll EverywhereNoYes for <25 studentsNoYesOseasYesYes
Sli.doNoYes for <100 studentsNoYesOseasYesYes
SocrativeNoYes for <50 studentsNoNoOseasNot specifiedYes
By ‘integration’ we mean can the tool be used (in iLearn or PowerPoint) so that the live results are displayed. It will be possible to have a link for the quiz/poll in iLearn or PowerPoint for students to access – but it may not necessarily display the results of the poll/quiz live in the class.

Questions? Contact

Banner image: Vector by eamesBot on Shutterstock
Question mark: Image by jcomp on Freepik
Boy with pencil: Image by Freepik

Posted by Kylie Coaldrake

Learning and Teaching Development Coordinator Office of PVC (Learning and Teaching)

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