6 June 2004 ............... Length about 1600 words (10,000 bytes).
This is a WWW document maintained by
Steve Draper, installed at http://www.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/ilig/start.html.
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Introducing the EVS to a new audience
as part of the Interactive Lectures website)
Here is one possible way of introducing the EVS (electronic voting system),
and in particular the PRS IR (infra red) equipment) to
a new audience. Below is the script for you, the presenter, to act on; and
below that, a slide to use.
Script for the presenter
Comments in (small font and parentheses) are optional: you may
or may not make them to your audience. Comments in [italics and square
brackets] are for you alone from me.
- [Do a head count so you know pretty exactly the number with handsets]
Assuming the handsets have been distributed, and the time (not necessarily the
start of the session) has now come to use or comment on them.
Slide for use during the introduction
Here's an HTML impression of the slide, also
ready to print (for an OHP).
Should be in powerpoint, sorry.
Using the handsets
A. Check handset is turned on -- green light on?
B. Turn it over and read the 3 digit ID number
C. Point at a receiver (small box with red light on)
Can press H(igh) or L(ow confidence) first
D. Press the number of your choice
-- see your ID come up on the screen
If your ID doesn't come up, wait a few seconds then try again.
Can change your vote, but don't keep sending unnecessarily as
you will obstruct others' votes.
- The first one or two questions should be something people don't have to
think about the answer for e.g.
- What is your the first digit of your age: press "1" for teenagers, "2" for those in their twenties, "5" if you are 50 or over.
- What is the height of this room in metres? Press 1 for 1 metre, 2 for 2
metres, 0 for 10 or more metres.
- How old do you think I am?: press "1" if you think I'm a teenager, "2"
for twenties, "6" if you think I'm in my 60s, etc.
- "Demographic" questions are also good for many (not all) groups to help
them get a feel for the group as a whole e.g. "how many of you are majoring in
1) psychology 2) sociology, ..."
or "How many [of you workshop attenders] are 1) teachers 2) technologists 3)
researchers 4) here by mistake"
- But it is important to have, before the end of the first session,
some questions with serious content related to the point of the meeting, or
else you get complaints about it being a merely gimmick.
Problems occasionally observed in audience operation of handsets
Don't comment on these to the whole audience, but be aware of them in case you
see them. These are all problems that have been seen e.g. 1 in 50 audience
- Turn handsets back on before use (get green light on again)
- Holding the button down doesn't work for re-transmitting a vote that
wasn't heard by the equipment the first time.
- Must wait a few seconds before re-sending: handset will be "resting" with
its light flashing.
- Must point the narrow end (with the glass lens) at the receiver, not the
- Must point not at the big screen but at a receiver with a red light on.
- A receiver is broken: no red light
- A handset has failed: no green light
- A handset has jammed: green light but it isn't transmitting (can't get a
receiver to flash red, can't get the green transmitter light to flash either).
Turning it off then back on may clear it; or there is a small hole for
inserting a paper clip to reset it.
- Spamming: lots of re-sending by some students, which blocks others.
You can see this is happening when lots of new boxes with index numbers keep
getting displayed, but the total at the top (which shows number of distinct
IDs received) doesn't change. Sometimes it's been deliberate; other times
students haven't been told not to do it, and perhaps haven't been able to spot
that their ID has come up: try telling them about the colour coding of the
Problems occasionally observed in lecturer operation of PRS
- Forgot to press "Start" button
- Data projector timed out / not warmed up
- Number of options is set to less than the number of responses for the
current question: then many are discarded. (So now I usually leave this set
The importance of getting every single vote in on the first question(s)
Finally, I just want to repeat the importance, in the first question or two,
of being patient and getting every single audience member's vote to register
successfully. If it doesn't work for them on the first question, that person
will probably never participate throughout the rest of the session or even the
course: for them, the moment will have passed when they feel able to ask for
help. Furthermore being seen to take such care about this probably sets a
valuable tacit precedent that sets everyone up to expect to vote on every
In almost every group we have run, about 1 in 50 of the audience fail to get
it to work for them despite considerable effort. However we have failed to
identify a pattern, either of the type of person or the type of problem.
Furthermore hardly anyone ever asks for help (they are seeing hundreds around
them succeed without effort) until they have been explicitly asked several
times. Even though it feels like it's holding up the whole session, it is
really only a few more minutes. Just keep asking until the total distinct
handset IDs counted on the screen display matches your count of the
people/handsets handed out. Keep asking, search the audience with your eyes,
run up and down the aisles (carrying a spare handset or two) to attend to
whoever lets slip they have a problem. It may be anything, or even something
you can't fix: but usually it's turning the handset on, a handset battery
being flat, not pointing the handset at a receiver (but at the screen, or into
the head of the person in front of them); not being able to recognise their ID
number on the screen.
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