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PointSolutions (TurningPoint) - Getting Started Guide for Instructors

The article serves as a comprehensive guide for instructors on how to implement PointSolutions, a student response system for interactive polls and quizzes, into their courses. It notes that the system is not free for students and must be added to the eCampus required materials list if it's needed for class. The guide covers various aspects such as software installation, course setup in Canvas, and integration with PowerPoint for polling. Additionally, it provides tips on accessibility and best practices for running polls or quizzes, including how to sync results to the Canvas gradebook. Support for PointSolutions is mainly provided by Echo360, with limited support from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

About PointSolutions

PointSolutions is a student response system that allows you to create interactive polls and quizzes for your course. PointSolutions is one technology you can use to engage your students, assess their understanding, and collect feedback in real time. 

Support for PointSolutions is provided by Echo360. Limited instructor support is offered by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Before You Begin

  • This guide covers how to use the desktop polling software.
  • PointSolutions is not free for students to use. Students must buy a subscription and an optional hardware device: a "clicker".
  • PointSolutions is one solution for student engagement, but engagement may also be possible using alternative pedagogical approaches or technologies. For more information, contact the CETL Support Commons.
  • UWM policy requires all staff and students to recommend the UWM Virtual Bookstore for purchasing required course resources.
    • Instructors should add PointSolutions to their eCampus required materials list if they expect students to A) purchase a subscription and B) must have it for class.
    • Using the Virtual Bookstore ensures federally mandated financial aid information is accurately reported.
    • Students may choose to purchase their subscription through the storefront of their choice.
  • PointSolutions can be used exclusively through the web, or using PowerPoint. The "desktop" application for Windows and Mac enable using either PowerPoint or the web.
    • Instructors can choose to login to their PointSolutions account and offer polls from the web exclusively.
    • The desktop app is available for install through Software Center (Windows) or Self Service (Mac).
  • PointSolutions is integrated with Canvas, and responses can be synced to the Canvas gradebook.

Step 0: Decide the usage rules for polling in your class

  • Because PointSolutions incurs a cost to students, consider only using it in your class if it plays a significant pedagogical role in your course that will improve student success.
  • To enable polling with PointSolutions for the least cost and easiest access to students, consider allowing your students to use mobile devices and computers.
    • Depending on accessibility needs, students may wish to purchase a physical alphanumeric clicker device. If you have a student with a special need, consult with the student to verify the appropriate polling method to meet their needs.
  • If your students will be using physical clickers: contact the CETL Support Commons to get assistance obtaining a receiver.
  • Based on your choices, add the correct products to your UWM Virtual Bookstore required materials list. 

More Information

Step 1: Install the desktop polling software

  • From Software Center (Windows) or Self-Service (Mac), install the PointSolutions software.
  • If you don't see it, contact the UWM Help Desk.
  • You can also keep a copy of the software on a USB drive to run without installation.

More Information

Step 2: Set-Up Your Course

  • In Canvas, create a new module for PointSolutions. In that module, add a new topic. Select "External Tool", then choose "Point Solutions" from the list.
  • Once the link is created, publish your course. Then, click the link to PointSolutions. 
    • You will be prompted to login to PointSolutions. If you are new, click the "Get started here" link. Use your UWM email address.
  • Add a Page to the module indicating the usage rules for polling.
    • When will you be using polling?
    • Will it count towards your students' grades?
    • Are they expected to use mobile devices?
    • Do your students know where to go for support?

More Information

Step 3: Edit your PowerPoint to create a poll or quiz

On your computer, launch PointSolutions. Then, click "Start Now" under PowerPoint Polling. PowerPoint will start with the PointSolutions ribbon available which will let you build your interactions.

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Step 4: Perform a classroom pre-flight check

  • Verify the computer is working.
    • Are you using a laptop? Bring the laptop with you, with PointSolutions already installed.
    • Are you using a podum computer, ensure PointSolutions is already installed, or bring a USB drive that has no-install PointSolutions downloaded.
  • Do you need to use a physical receiver to interact with students using hardware clickers? Plug-in the receiver to the computer and make sure PointSolutions recognizes the receiver. 

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Step 5: Run a poll or quiz.

  • The day of class, arrive early to verify the technology is working correctly in the room. In the event of a problem, call the listed number for Classroom Services.
  • Connect the receiver if you are using one, then launch PointSolutions. Lastly, open your presentation.
  • If your presentation is set to use mobile polling, enable moble polling, and share the session ID.
  • When your session is done save the presentation.
  • If you've offered the presentation before, reset the presentation.

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Step 6: Review

To review the results of a poll or quiz, launch PointSolutions. Click the Manage tab, then click the name of the course using polling on the left. Click the Update button to sync your roster, and click the Upload Grades button to sync the results to your Canvas courses gradebook.

More Information

For Further Assistance

Support for PointSolutions is provided primarily by Echo360.

Support for the implementation of student engagement practices is offered by the CETL Support Commons. Support for PointSolutions is limited.

If you are having problems in the classroom (at all campuses), contact UWM Classroom Services.

KeywordsInstructors, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PointSolutions, student response system, interactive polls, quizzes, Echo360, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Canvas integration, PowerPoint, software installation, eCampus required materials, accessibility, best practices, gradebook sync, support   Doc ID131479
OwnerDavid D.GroupCETL
Created2023-09-15 15:30:32Updated2023-11-01 10:40:27
SitesUW-Milwaukee Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
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