Online feedback and Bluepulse

Learning Experience Design1 Comment

There are a number of tools for online feedback. One tool that looks like being adopted at RMIT is Bluepulse. Bluepulse has some attractive features and there is an enthusiastic response below. There are many other feedback tools out there which begs the question, why is the university looking to invest in another singular proprietary tool at presumably a high cost, with limited functionality, when there is so much diversity available?

Here we look at some of the positives of Bluepulse and then note several other feedback tools currently available.


Bluepulse is a tool that may sit inside Blackboard (although at the moment it sits outside from a link) that structures a particular type of interactive feedback with the class. There are 2 main features, one is anonymity and the other the limitation of 140 characters per student response.

The first feature anonymity is such an important driver of behaviour on the web and is seen as a future startup trend here. It encourages students to speak more freely about their concerns.

The limit of 140 characters, while limiting students capability to speak at length, has great advantages for the lecturer. It enables the quick scan of a large number of class responses to identify trends and allow for an early response. By making the teacher responsiveness fast and easy it soon becomes apparent to students that their responses are being heard and responded to.

Psychology Lecturer Mark Lee was part of an early pilot of Bluepulse at RMIT and as you can see below he quickly became an enthusiastic proponent. NB there is some background noise in this video and it may be easier to understand with headphones.

One of the great things about Bluepulse is how it will enable a culture around feedback. While there are a lot other feedback tools out there, it is the purpose specific nature of Bluepulse that helps ensure uptake and success.

Other Feedback Tools

It does seem a bit strange for the university to be investing so much in such a simple tool as Bluepulse and there are a number of low cost or free alternatives. The most obvious choice is Google Forms, a survey tool that you can adapt for anonymous feedback. Particularly when adapted creatively as in our own example using QR codes.

Kahoot introduces gaming into feedback getting students into response competitions.

TodaysMeet is a fast and simple tool for answering questions on the fly during a presentation. It promotes itself as harnessing the backchannel in the classroom.

Socrative is a sophisticated tool for designing various forms of feedback and having various types of visual representation of that feedback such as word clouds.

I like the look of GoSoapBox which has anonymity, Q&A, Polling, a Confusion Barometer! Wonderful real time feedback.

I also like the look of 81Dash which is built around a chat environment for students, placing engagement first in the learning.

AnswerGarden Like a shared scribble space for brainstorming and feedback

Verso  More of a learning tool with anonymous activities and formative learning data. Melbourne based

FlipQuiz  another game based learning tool with a polling function

Padlet popular online bulletin board

Poll Everywhere Another popular feedback tool based on polling.

Samantha Vardanega has made available a more comprehensive review of these tools here.




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[…] you want more information then Howard Errey has posted two excellent posts on using BluePulse as a student feedback system and the use of Google Sites for […]