About IPAL

IPAL = In-class Polling for All Learners

Lead Organization: Eckerd College; PI: William Junkin, Dir. of Instructional Technology, junkinwf@eckerd.edu, (727) 864-8239

The IPAL project provides a free, open-source, and easy to use module for an in-class module (activity) in Moodle, a popular CMS. It also provides a stand-alone program for non-Moodle users. This program is a scale-up of prior polling programs written by our team and used at many sites, including the introductory physics class at Harvard University. While professors can create their own questions for polling, IPAL provides ready-to-use, peer reviewed questions. The instructor will use the same user-friendly web-based interface while students can use any of several response devices, e.g., cell phones, laptops, other web-enabled devices, clickers, and the new IPAL App for Android devices (developed by the DOS group at DePauw University), to respond to in-class polling questions. After receiving student polling responses, the instructor can view and/or display back to the students the responses in graph, spreadsheet, or other format. An analysis of the student response patterns during polling sessions may allow an early identification of students who are at risk of dropping a course or dropping out of school. This analysis may provide an opportunity for early intervention, thus increasing student retention.

Downoad the IPAL moodle plugin.

The IPAL project is one of 29 Wave I Next Generation Learning Challenge grants funded by the Bill Gates Foundation and administered by Educause. (http://www.educause.edu/nglc) The ready-to-use questions, Moodle modules, Users Guide, installation instructions, and other resources will be hosted at ComPADRE (http://www.compadre.org/, a National Science Digital Library for physics and astronomy educational resources). Currently only the questions for the Introductory Physics course are available from that site. The first sets of questions are provided, courtesy of Harvard Physics Professor, Eric Mazur, from the collection of ConcepTests developed by Professor Mazur and his group to support Peer Instruction. For other resources please contact the IPAL PI. The database at ComPADRE is designed to allow inclusion of question sets for other courses and disciplines.

The goal of the IPAL project is to increase student learning, critical thinking, and retention by increasing the use of in-class polling. Research has shown that greater student involvement and interaction supported by in-class polling increases student learning, especially in areas that involve critical thinking skills. In-class polling also enables the instructor to know how much students understand and if more or less time should be spent discussing a topic, thus using class time to better meet the needs of the students. When students' learning needs are addressed in real time AND the students are engaged in learning through interactive methodologies, in-course performance will improve.

The following features of IPAL will increase in-class polling:

The following workshops and presentations have been scheduled. If you are interested in additional ones, please contact the IPAL PI.

Co-PIs and Contractors:

The IPAL Android App, developed by the DOS group at DePauw University, is available from the Google Play store.