Gideon Williams

Creating a Voting Form with Microsoft Forms

Blog Post created by Gideon Williams on Mar 3, 2018

Every year we do the Brilliant Book Award at school. A number of books are shortlisted, students are encouraged to read them and then vote on which they think is the best. There are two awards - one for middle school students and the other for senior students.

 

I wrote a Canvas course for this with our librarian to promote the Award. Canvas courses outside of the curriculum area are great things for pushing Canvas for wider adoption and acceptance.

 

Each year I add in a Voting Form which I embed on to a Canvas page to make it easier to vote. Finding free voting tools is always a bit of a challenge - especially those that:

  • Allow unlimited voting
  • Are free
  • Embed nicely

 

In the first year I used www.pollmaker.com which was straightforward and easy to set up. In the second year I switched to www.opinionstage.com as it allowed me to include thumbnail images of the book and also has an unusual way of presenting information:

 

One limitation of this poll was that there was no way to check if students have no voted multiple times so this year I have been looking to find something that restricts voting choices.

 

This year my first thoughts turned to https://dotstorming.com I have used this in the past when introducing Canvas to our junior schools. What I like about dotstorming is you can set the number of votes you give and also require students to register their name (or initials or similar). It is also very visual!

 

Unfortunately at the time of setting up, their site was down for maintenance. A further issue was that it did still not completely resolve the issue of limiting votes and ensuring students did not vote than once.

 

So that is when I sort of stumbled upon Microsoft Forms. I use Google Forms an awful lot and was rather disappointed when Microsoft first produced their version. It was clunky, not particularly user friendly and limited. Nearly two years later their product has improved leaps and bounds (whilst I think Google's has gotten worse!).

 

The benefits of using a Microsoft Form were many:

  • I could use a simple Multiple choice question
  • The question also allowed me to add in pictures above it in a relatively big size
  • I could link the Form to our Office365 and restrict students to only one vote
  • I could  further analysis on the voting patterns eg genders, books favoured by a particular year, tutor group
  • The form is hosted on our O365 tenancy and not accessible outside of our school
  • The voting results are hidden to the students
  • I could share the form and the results with the librarian staff who can see this instantly
  • It embeds on a Canvas page

 

Setting up the Form

This is straightforward and Forms are available through Office365:

Selecting a Choice option question:

Choice Template

Completing the options:

 

Adding the Image

https://pixlr.com/editor/ is my go to graphics creating/editing tool. It is free and it is absolutely BRILLIANT! I am no graphics expert but have used Adobe Fireworks in the past and am very comfortable with Pixlr. I created a landscape image then added the book covers as layers. A little bit of simple editing (Edit > Free Transform) to get them the same size:

 

I then downloaded the image and added it to Question title in Forms:

 

 

The Final Design

The final design looked like this:

 

Altering the Theme

To give it more of a 'book feel' I added a Theme. Microsoft left you search for a background or add your own. I used Bing to find a book theme:

 

Changing the Settings

Altering the settings to make sure that the form only was available to the students with one vote was very easy:

 

As was the ability to share the document with the library staff (via a link)

 

Embedding on a Canvas Page

There are lots of options for how to share the Form. I chose embedding:

 

Once embedded in the Canvas page I altered the width to 100% and height to 800px. I also added a border around it via this - https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/k12/blog/2018/01/15/improving-layout-of-embedded-media 

 

The Final Design

The final embedded design looks like this to a student:

 

I would have liked it if I could get the entire form on one page without scrolling but not able to (perhaps someone with better HTML skills could show me how?).

 

When students log on they get a message telling them about the voting information (we mention about the voting data stored on the course in case any students are concerned). When they vote by selecting the option and pressing Submit they get this message:

 

Note to Microsoft: Please develop this like Google Forms so we can customise the message!

 

The librarian staff can see the responses via the Shared link (It would be nice if this feature was available on the actual Canvas page)

 

Hope this has been useful... do get in touch if you have done similar or used Forms in other ways...

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