Google Forms as a Student Response System

I led a workshop Wednesday, March 30 from 2-4:30 on how to do this and get other types of formative feedback. Details here.

I’ve been figuring out how to use Google Forms as an alternative to costly student response systems (SRS, aka “clickers”). I presented on it at EDUCAUSE Connect in 2014 using Google Sites as a (clumsy) prototype that I had session participants access quickly with their devices at But I haven’t had the time to dig into it since then. Our university has recently chosen TopHat as a supported SRS, but many faculty are hesitant to make students buy another thing, so I challenged myself to create an easy-to-use (for faculty and students) “clicker” system. The goals:

  1. use existing LMS, which now feature easy-to-access mobile versions for students who just bring their mobile devices, but also support laptop and tablet users.
  2. easy enough for any faculty who is willing to use TopHat to use
  3. support a good variety of questions (this does not support the “heat map” style questions)
  4. show a good variety of responses “live” for the class.

I looked to Google Forms, but not Google Sites this time. Whereas Google Sites is still clumsy, Google Forms is as easy (or easier) than TopHat to create quick surveys for formative in-class feedback (for instructor and students), and it looks good on a mobile device or laptop. Desire2Learn and Canvas both work generally well for quick mobile access (students can get in, get to their course, and find a unit or class page quickly), so if I could embed surveys and results there, I figured it should be easy to use in class.

But embedding surveys in an LMS is not new or challenging. Embedding live results is. Google Forms used to allow this (see this video at 0:30 for a view of the now-extinct “Publish Analytics” link), but no longer does.

This is the form embedded as an iframe:


This should be the Google Form’s “Summary of Responses”embedded as an iframe (but does not appear to work):

The workaround is pretty simple, actually — to embed live results as a chart using all-Google products, you simply create a chart in the Google Sheet associated with the Form, and publish the form.This works in Canvas and D2L (and WordPress). Here’s an example of how that looks:

This video explains how to do that (pay attention at ~3:27 on)

If you don’t want such a finished look, or want to convey the data in more than one form, you can also put several on the sheet and embed that sheet, like this: [removed]


AwesomeTable also provided a solution.

This is AwesomeTable’s (free) “Live View”embedded as an iframe:

One thought on “Google Forms as a Student Response System

  1. Pingback: 03.30.16 Google Forms for Formative Feedback, with John Martin | Teaching Academy

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