Last changed 3 Nov 2010 ............... Length about 1600 words (10,000 bytes).
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Introducing the EVS to a new audience

(written by Steve Draper,   as part of the Interactive Lectures website)

Here is one possible way of introducing the EVS (electronic voting system), and in particular the PRS IR (infra red) equipment) to a new audience. Below is the script for you, the presenter, to act on; and below that, a slide to use.

Script for the presenter

Comments in (small font and parentheses) are optional: you may or may not make them to your audience. Comments in [italics and square brackets] are for you alone from me.

Assuming the handsets have been distributed, and the time (not necessarily the start of the session) has now come to use or comment on them.

Slide for use during the introduction

Here's an HTML impression of the slide, also ready to print (for an OHP). Should be in powerpoint, sorry.
Using the handsets

A. Check handset is turned on -- green light on?

B. Turn it over and read the 3 digit ID number

C. Point at a receiver (small box with red light on)

  • Can press H(igh) or L(ow confidence) first

    D. Press the number of your choice
    -- see your ID come up on the screen

  • If your ID doesn't come up, wait a few seconds then try again.

  • Can change your vote, but don't keep sending unnecessarily as you will obstruct others' votes.

    Startup questions

    Problems occasionally observed in audience operation of handsets

    Don't comment on these to the whole audience, but be aware of them in case you see them. These are all problems that have been seen e.g. 1 in 50 audience members.

    Problems occasionally observed in lecturer operation of PRS

    The importance of getting every single vote in on the first question(s)

    Finally, I just want to repeat the importance, in the first question or two, of being patient and getting every single audience member's vote to register successfully. If it doesn't work for them on the first question, that person will probably never participate throughout the rest of the session or even the course: for them, the moment will have passed when they feel able to ask for help. Furthermore being seen to take such care about this probably sets a valuable tacit precedent that sets everyone up to expect to vote on every question.

    In almost every group we have run, about 1 in 50 of the audience fail to get it to work for them despite considerable effort. However we have failed to identify a pattern, either of the type of person or the type of problem. Furthermore hardly anyone ever asks for help (they are seeing hundreds around them succeed without effort) until they have been explicitly asked several times. Even though it feels like it's holding up the whole session, it is really only a few more minutes. Just keep asking until the total distinct handset IDs counted on the screen display matches your count of the people/handsets handed out. Keep asking, search the audience with your eyes, run up and down the aisles (carrying a spare handset or two) to attend to whoever lets slip they have a problem. It may be anything, or even something you can't fix: but usually it's turning the handset on, a handset battery being flat, not pointing the handset at a receiver (but at the screen, or into the head of the person in front of them); not being able to recognise their ID number on the screen.

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