My brother is an adjust professor at a nearby university, where he teaches classes to large dark auditoriums full of students. He needed a way to run on-the-spot quizzes to help keep the students engaged, and get a rough sense of their understanding of the lecture material. The university recommends a overly-complex and proprietary system where each student has a hardware clicker. I knew we could do something much simpler.

What it does

The professor displays the question and multiple choice answers via a Power Point, transparency slides, a chalkboard, or however they choose. Students text their answer to a Nexmo-powered number, and the results are displayed in real time thanks to PubNub. The professor gets a sense of the students understanding, and since the results are saved in a spreadsheet, the professor can go back and review which students are participating.

How I built it

By adding just a few PubSub-specific lines of code to a boiler plate Google Apps Script that's connected to a spreadsheet, the backend couldn't have been easier. The front end UI is a simple HTML page that updates in realtime via the PubNub Javascript SDK.

Challenges I ran into

It was smooth sailing as far as the coding went. The only challenge was creating something that's generic and flexible enough for my brother to use in different situations, but still specific and functional enough to meet his needs.

What's next

It's possible that students might not always have cell signal in the class, but there's always wi-fi. Creating a web-based way to submit to the same system would allow students without signal (or with laptops but not phones) to participate.

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