Polls by Blackboard

October 13, 2014 at 11:48 am | Posted in software, student response systems | Leave a comment

This free beta service from Blackboard Labs enables educators to create simple multiple choice questions that students can vote on in-class using any device with web access. They control the poll using a web interface and see the results of the votes in real-time.

  • All users access the service via http://polls.bb/vote – there is also a dedicated iOS app.
  • US users can also use SMS text messages to vote.
  • Educators have to sign in with Facebook to create polls.
  • Voting in a poll can be anonymous or require a Facebook login.
  • The website needs you to share your location so you can join nearby polls, listed by name.
  • Alternatively, you can search for polls by name.
  • Questions can have between two and five answers.
  • Questions can include an uploaded image.
  • Answers can be rearranged by drag-and-drop.
  • Questions do not have ‘correct’ answer indication.

The educator uses the service to create the poll questions in advance of the session, then logs in during the session to open the poll.They can select the questions in any order (or use the next/previous buttons) and must click a button to open each question and enable voting. They click again to close a question and disable further voting. The tutor display shows a pie-chart summary of the voting which updates in real time as votes come in or students change their vote. When voting on all questions is concluded, the educator clicks a button to close the poll.

Once a poll is closed it cannot be re-opened, but you can review the saved pie-chart results, which show the % of voters who chose each option. You can however duplicate a closed poll to create a new poll, make changes if needed and run that one as normal.


This service offers free basic polls that are easy to create, manage and vote on using any web device. The ability to have a question image is very useful. The requirement for tutors to log in using Facebook may be a barrier to some. Tutors may need to minimise the browser window or run the poll from a separate device if they want to keep the voting secret until the students have voted and the question is closed.


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