ITS to conduct two instructional tool pilots during Spring 2022

Instructional Technology Services (ITS) supports a handful of campus approved software. Unified software helps faculty get support from SDSU staff as well as can reduce the cost and confusion on students' part. In addition campus approved software goes through security and accessibility checks. 

The pandemic over the past nearly two years has given us the opportunity to re-evaluate the tools we promote and support, with the goal of providing faculty and students with a more seamless and engaging learning experience, while also limiting costs to students wherever possible. Additionally, the pandemic accelerated changes already underway in our usage patterns, including a significant decline in use tools that require purpose-built hardware, in iClicker handsets and Parscore scanners, while there has been increased demand and adoption of tools that drive student engagement in a flexible manner, such as online quizzing/polling and flexible exam grading. 

Therefore, San Diego State University will pilot Gradescope exam scoring and Poll Everywhere audience engagement platforms during the Spring 2022 semester. In order to ensure we have broad representation and input ITS identified faculty and courses across disciplines and levels to participate. ITS will keep faculty, staff, students and administrators across the SDSU community updated as well progress through these important pilot initiatives, starting with the following information summarizing the two platform capabilities.


Gradescope is an online tool for grading scanned, pen-and-paper, free-response assessments, as well as multiple-choice exams utilizing bubble sheets. This tool supports workflows for both individual student assignment (homework) and instructor upload of assessments (exams).

Currently ITS supports the use of Parscore/Scantron applications and has 4 Parscore scanners in the Faculty Instructional Technology Center. 

The Parscore software is being used by several dozen faculty members to grade quizzes and exams, however, the process of grading these using Parscore is complicated. Faculty must first ensure that all students have purchased specific forms to complete the exams and use #2 pencils to take the exam. Faculty are then required to bring these answer forms to Adams Humanities during operational hours to use specific scanners designed only to accommodate Parscore grading forms. Additionally the Parscore scanners are notoriously difficult to use and lack a direct integration with Canvas and the Canvas gradebook.

Pilot Faculty will help ITS assess if Gradescope is a viable replacement for the usage of Parscore on campus for SDSU paper-based exam scoring. 

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere seamlessly engages audiences across hybrid workspaces through live online polling, surveys, Q&As, quizzes, word clouds, and more. Additionally there is a Canvas integration to easily import student rosters, export student grades, embed activities and, most of all, engage audiences.

Currently ITS supports iClicker classic and iClicker online. iClicker is offered by publisher Macmillan and was chosen as the campus-wide classroom response system in 2011. The hardware and system requirements will vary depending on the version of iClicker the faculty is using. Students have to purchase hand-held devices or semesterly software subscriptions if mobile app use is allowed by the faculty member. Faculty can sync rosters from the Learning Management System but usually have to troubleshoot missing devices or missing points because of issues with setup.

This pilot has the potential to reduce direct-to-student costs, uncover faculty objectives and motive for using audience engagement systems, and offer a more intuitive user-friendly experience. In addition, with a site license, Poll Everywhere would be available for non-instructional use too.

More Information & Timelines

The outcomes of both pilots will be well communicated to faculty, departments and campus stakeholders. If there will be a change in supported software, announcements of a timeline will be provided for faculty regarding the transition to the new software, as well as training and support resources.

Questions regarding either pilot can be directed to Michelle Peterson ([email protected]), ITS Learning Technologies Manager.