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Digital educationStudent engagement

Improving student engagement using Mentimeter in Cardiff University – Interactive classroom

1 June 2022

Written by Marianna Majzonova

We’ve been shaping the Student Champions Scheme in Cardiff University for the past three years, and when my colleagues from the Student Engagement Team approached me last September to work with the Champions again, I was excited to share my project ideas with them and hear about their suggestions and recommendations to their learning experiences.

The role of a Learning Technologist offers many great opportunities to work directly with students and improve their digital learning experiences, so that became my number one priority for this year’s project.

Despite being involved in the Mentimeter roll-out in 2018, designing and running training sessions for our colleagues and being a ‘Menti’ contact in the university, I wanted to know more about how it’s being used in teaching. I wanted to hear from our students and find out what their thoughts were about this audience response system and how it’s being used in their classes. I wanted to explore how we could improve its use and design and get more colleagues and students on board with Mentimeter.

I was given 2 designated and very keen students to help out with and shape this project – Ioana Bold (final year integrated masters student, School of Engineering) and Fatima Bibi (Masters student in School of Law and Politics). We started off with an introductory meeting early November, where we established the project aims and objectives, timeline we were working towards, planned outcomes and next steps. An innovative part of the project was to get the students fully trained in Mentimeter via Mentimeter Academy, a fully certified course where participants achieve a trainer certification once the course is completed. Another creative element was for students to participate in staff-facing training sessions and present their project findings to inform and inspire academic colleagues, and suggest  ways of using Mentimeter and engaging with students.

Students designed, distributed, and analysed the results from the survey at the end of January. We have achieved a great engagement from the student community, considering that this was a small-scale project with tight timeline. Survey questions and results can be found here: https://www.mentimeter.com/s/28cc2ac7a09c07fb0b2b3dcc32ed7013/12d2e0ef671f

In the final stage of the project the students created a  . They provided a personal perspective and insights into their experience. Below is Ioana’s reflection on how she felt about being involved and what value it brought to her university life and practice.

What motivated you to get involved in this project?

While the quality content of my lectures has been great, a lot of them have never been engaging. I think we all hear among the student population that they are disappointed by receiving simple PowerPoints for each lecture and I wanted to do something to change that. I think a lot of times, we are not aware how easy and little effort we need to put in to make our presentations and content a bit more engaging and not make our peers feel that they have to attend ‘yet another boring meeting/presentation.’ Being in a STEM degree, I never acquired graphic design skills, and I really like how accessible Mentimeter was for people like me 😊

What methods did you use to meet aims and objectives of the project?

The training on Mentimeter academy only took 2 hours to reach an intermediate level and I already felt I can make a professional presentation. Designing the survey was also very interesting as we needed to ensure we ask a broad range of questions on using Mentimeter in an academic setting, including all students and types of academic settings (i.e lectures, tutorials, seminars) without becoming repetitive.

Analysis was also very important as we were faced with large amounts of data (almost 300 respondents) that needed to be summarized without missing anyone’s ideas and opinions.

Project group dynamics – how did you feel about this partnership

This is one of the best projects I worked on as it has greatly developed my skills too and learning how to do more than a survey in Mentimeter has been very interesting.

How did you balance time /workload and your studies?

As this project was very engaging and useful for my studies too, it was easy to integrate it with my university studies. I would usually set 2 hours per week either throughout the week or on the weekend if I was very busy to compete the tasks.

Do you think/feel this project brings any value to Cardiff University, students and staff? What is it?

Yes, definitely. I think the university experience can be greatly improved for everyone by using Mentimeter. Students can participate without the fear of making mistakes and being judged and the lecturers can see in real time what topics they are struggling with and what topics they have understood really well. In this way, there is no need to wait until the end of the semester for module evaluation.

Given that the project ran over 3 months, the students accomplished an impressive set of outcomes. They were co-ordinating specific aspects of the project by themselves, they designed the survey, they engaged across the staff and student communities, they analysed and interpreted the results in a simple but powerful way and in my opinion, they gained a lot of valuable skills (such as certified Menti training). It feels like they have become confident team members able to step outside of their comfort zone. Their motivation, engagement and willingness to improve the Mentimeter experience across the university shone throughout.

Further information: You can find out more about Mentimeter on the Cardiff Learning and Teaching Academy intranet pages.