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Wooclap: a must for engaging classes at the Université du Québec à Rimouski

Education

Wooclap: a must for engaging classes at the Université du Québec à Rimouski

04.07.2023 • 5 minutes

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The Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) deployed Wooclap in the fall of 2022. Part of the Université du Québec, Canada's largest university network, UQAR welcomes some 6,700 students each year to its various campuses and training sites in eastern Quebec.

In this interview, Emilie Ringuet, pedagogy and technopedagogy advisor and lecturer at UQAR, shares her experience of implementing Wooclap at the university.

In this testimonial, find out:

  • Why UQAR chose Wooclap as a student response system
  • How Wooclap complements Moodle, PowerPoint and other technological tools used at UQAR
  • How Wooclap improves learning outcomes at UQAR for instructors, students and learning technologists.
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Getting students more engaged: a challenge revealed by the pandemic

Wooclap: The context of the Université du Québec à Rimouski is very special. For your instructors, the issue of engagement and interaction is paramount. This was even more true in March 2020, when many instructors had to turn to distance learning because of the pandemic.

Emilie Ringuet: Indeed, UQAR is a local university, and the small class sizes encourage exchanges and the creation of unique ties between instructors and students. When we switched to distance learning during the pandemic, we were all faced with the same challenges: How could we preserve that special bond with students despite the distance? How do you keep them engaged when they're all behind a screen? How to spark discussion and avoid facing black screens and turned-off cameras?

Wooclap: That's when you turned to interactive tools.

Emilie Ringuet: Indeed, interactive quiz tools have been a big hit with instructors and students alike. In addition to offering quizzes, review or comprehension activities that support learning, these tools have fortified student-instructor bonds and encouraged discussion. They were a valuable discovery, helping engage students in their learning journey and fostering a sense of community, even in the face of the physical separation wrought by the pandemic.

Wooclap: Can you tell us about the period following the pandemic? What were the issues at that time?

Emilie Ringuet: The start of the winter 2021 school year was particularly interesting from a pedagogical point of view. Despite the return to in-person classes, the enthusiasm for interactive quiz tools has not waned! This is what I call the "Tirap" theory. When you take a step forward, when you adopt a new technology or method, it's hard to go back.

With the pandemic, instructors have discovered that technology can be used in pedagogically relevant ways... And that learners greatly appreciate this change! So it was the instructors who turned to us, the pedagogical advisers, to ask if we had an institutional solution to offer them. It's important to understand that most of them were using the free functionalities of the tools, which are often very limited. That's when the idea of a pilot project came up.

The pilot project, a key stage in the choice of a tool

Wooclap: What were the different stages that led UQAR to adopt Wooclap?

Emilie Ringuet: At UQAR, we have to present a business case for each new tool we wish to use, explaining the current situation, the needs as well as the desired situation.

In our case, we were already using two institutional tools, Zoom for distance learning and Moodle as a learning management system (LMS). Although very useful and relevant, these tools offer a very limited level of interactivity and are not specifically designed to energize courses, measure student understanding in real time or stimulate active participation. So we had to find a tool that would meet our needs:

  • Integrate seamlessly with UQAR's LMS (Moodle and SSO connection) and existing tools (Zoom, etc.)
  • Be flexible and adaptable to all teaching modalities (presence, hybrid, multisite and distance learning);
  • Promote active student learning

In short, we wanted a tool that would meet our current and future pedagogical needs. It was following this brief of opportunities that we chose Wooclap.

Wooclap: How did you go about setting up the pilot project?

Emilie Ringuet: We had a meeting with Fabien in the summer of 2022 to think about the best way to launch the pilot project. In order to rally the support of educators for this tool, several strategies were put into motion:

  • A newsletter containing links and content provided by Wooclap, sent to our instructors at the end of August;
  • In September, the Wooclap team provided initial distance training for instructors wishing to participate;
  • Our educational consultants offered two specific training courses in October. One covered the basics of initial training, and the other addressed advanced integration parameters with our technological tools such as PowerPoint and Moodle.

Wooclap: However, even before the official launch, you noticed that Wooclap was already being used at UQAR, didn't you?

Emilie Ringuet: Indeed, it was a great discovery for us! Before the first newsletter was sent out, there were already almost 600 questions created and close to 4,000 responses gathered. Wooclap had already hit the ground running and was filling a real need. One month after training, we had practically doubled the tally of responses! Today, we've reached around 36,000 responses. Now, compared to larger institutions, this number might seem modest, but for us at UQAR, given our class sizes, it's a pretty big deal. For instance, my class size tends to hover between 12 and 35 students. So, for us, having so many responses is really an achievement, because it underscores the widespread use of Wooclap by our instructors.

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A tool integrated into UQAR's digital ecosystem

Wooclap: Integrating Wooclap into your existing toolkit was an absolute must to ensure smooth sailing with the platform. The implementation of SSO, or Single Sign-On, was a key part of that strategy wasn't it?

Emilie Ringuet: At the university, security is a major concern, and the SSO connection was indeed required by IT. Wooclap's support in setting up this connection was truly optimal. Users now connect to Wooclap with their usual UQAR login.

Wooclap: You've also integrated Wooclap into the Moodle platform you use at UQAR?

Emilie Ringuet: Definitely. While many instructors typically access Wooclap directly through the website, we saw the potential to integrate it with Moodle. This not only simplifies accessing Wooclap activities, but teaming it up with Moodle also opens up a multitude of additional possibilities:

  • Create a Wooclap event from within Moodle;
  • Import an existing Moodle test and convert it into a Wooclap event;
  • Duplicate an existing Wooclap event;
  • Add a Wooclap event to your notebook;
  • Easily use "self-paced" quizzes, allowing Wooclap to be used in asynchronous teaching mode.

Wooclap: Do you use Wooclap with other tools?

Emilie Ringuet: Yes, I'd say that integrating Wooclap questions directly into presentations (PowerPoint or other) is particularly appreciated, especially for those who teach remotely. When you integrate Wooclap questions into PowerPoint, or integrate the PowerPoint presentation into Wooclap, there's no need to switch between windows - everything is integrated right into the presentation.

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How Wooclap transforms the experience of instructors and students

Wooclap: How have instructors benefited from using Wooclap?

Emilie Ringuet: Wooclap has made it possible to diversify teaching formulas, which has been particularly appreciated by instructors. They were able to add interactive activities in class, which increased learner interaction and engagement. Regardless of delivery method, and particularly in a multi-site course, Wooclap gave all participants the same voice and the same level of participation, reinforcing the sense of belonging.

The comment that came back most often from instructors was that Wooclap is extremely intuitive! I remember one instructor telling me: it took me 2 minutes to be convinced, no more! Another took the plunge after watching a short clip of just a few minutes.

Wooclap is an excellent cost-benefit solution! It's easy to use, and the impact is high: several instructors received positive feedback in their end-of-term evaluations on the use of Wooclap in the classroom.

Wooclap: Did the implementation of Wooclap require a lot of support from the Centre de pédagogie universitaire (CPU)?

Emilie Ringuet: Very little support was needed! That's what's so great about it, because the implementation went so smoothly. The CPU team relied on the Wooclap resources made available to us (email template, training offer, etc.).

At UQAR, it was actually the newsletter that announced the project launch which created the biggest buzz. The tool is so user-friendly that a good number of people jumped right in without needing to attend any of the training sessions provided by our department.

For me, what stands out the most is the excellent support Wooclap provides to our coaching team and the tool's ongoing improvement. Wooclap is notably proactive, consistently suggesting enhancements and rolling out new features. This allows us to concentrate our efforts on finding innovative educational applications for the tool.

Wooclap: Let's talk about the impact on students. Have you noticed any changes in their motivation and commitment?

Emilie Ringuet: Absolutely. I've had a lot of feedback, especially from my students. In the comments we received, Wooclap was particularly appreciated as a revision tool. Whether it's for each lesson or in preparation for exams, students appreciate being able to test their knowledge. One instructor shared with me that Wooclap has helped alleviate anxiety among her students.

It can be challenging for learners to gauge where they stand in the learning process. She mentioned that introducing a weekly interactive quiz, with immediate feedback following each question, has made a significant impact. Students felt more empowered and reassured that they could more effectively gauge their progress in the learning process.

Nearly a year after the launch of the pilot project, I think we can say: mission accomplished! We have a fine tool to offer our instructors, one that is effective, intuitive and adaptive, but above all, one that is appreciated by instructors and students alike. I'm really proud of this great project!

Would you like to find out more about Wooclap? Contact us!

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