Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement

Online Audience Response Systems

What are audience response systems?

Audience response systems, sometimes known as personal response systems or classroom response systems, allow you to interact with your audience. Traditionally these would have been clicker-based devices. Now online audience response systems allow students to interact in a discussion using their web-enabled device such as a smart phone, tablet or laptop.

These systems provide a web-based interface for creating questions and gathering responses in a live classroom environment. Questions can be answered by students to provide an interactive learning experience.

How can they be used?

Online audience response systems are an effective tool for getting students to engage in lectures by providing a starting point for them to think about topics. They are also an effective tool for provoking in class discussions. They can be used in either a large-scale lecture scenario or in a seminar setting. Proposing a question to students can then be used as a starting point for a discussion.

Audience response systems can also be used to establish student confidence levels in certain areas. A question could be proposed that could then be used to gauge the base level of understanding in a particular subject.

What audience response systems are available?

There are a number of different web-based online audience response systems available, including Pingo and OnlineTED. Both of these systems require staff to sign up for a free online account before they can begin creating questions. Users can create questions spontaneously during a session or can pre-build a bank of questions to use in class. Visit the information page to find out more.

Another system available to staff is AllTheVotes. Visit the AllTheVotes information page to find out more.


Web-based audience response systems are a simple yet powerful tool that can be used to encourage student engagement in the classroom. Their flexible nature allows you to either develop questions in advance of a session or create them on the fly as they are required. There are many possibilities for using audience response systems in class and staff may want to explore how they can incorporate these into their teaching.