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Technology Report

Making a Game Out of It: Using Web-Based Competitive Quizzes for

Quantitative Analysis Content Review
James P. Grinias*
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey 08028, United States
S Supporting Information

ABSTRACT: Online student-response systems provide instructors with an

easy-to-use tool to instantly evaluate student comprehension. For
comprehensive content review, turning this evaluation into a competitive
game where students can compete against each other was found to be helpful
Downloaded from by on 03/27/19. For personal use only.

and enjoyable for participating students. One specific online resource,

Kahoot!, provides the opportunity for crowd-sourced content quizzes to be
generated, potentially enabling the creation of an open-source repository of
review questions for the comprehensive ACS Analytical Chemistry exam.
J. Chem. Educ. 2017.94:1363-1366.

KEYWORDS: Second-Year Undergraduate, Analytical Chemistry, Internet/Web-Based Learning, Humor/Puzzles/Games,

Enrichment/Review Materials

Over the past several years, the use of game elements in higher
education has increased,1,2 including within the chemistry The use of social media platforms for content reinforcement in
curriculum.3−7 A very common format for turning content organic chemistry was recently demonstrated.23 A poll-based
review into a game is with the use of immediate response social media application called Wishbone24 was originally tested
to see if it could be implemented for classroom quizzes in a
quizzes, which can increase student participation and engage-
similar way, but the two-choice comparison interface did not
ment in the classroom.8 Technology has simplified the way that provide an effective way to evaluate comprehension of the
quizzes are used in the classroom, with student-response standard topics covered in a quantitative analysis course:
systems making the implementation of instant polling simple solution chemistry, experimental methods, acid−base chem-
and fast.9−16 Implementing these systems is even easier when istry, spectroscopy, separations, and electrochemistry. Previous
students use personal web-enabled devices (smartphones, use of PollEverywhere25 for quantitative analysis exam review26
laptops, tablets, etc.) instead of a “clicker”, avoiding the need was useful for the real-time determination of topics that needed
for (or purchase of) a separate device.17−19 Although these further instruction, but provided no competitive, game-like
functionality to increase student engagement. Additionally,
systems provide real-time feedback on general classroom
PollEverywhere requires a fee that must be paid by either the
comprehension of the questions posed, the opportunity to students, instructor, or university when over 40 responses are
implement their use in a competitive “quiz-show” style game20 expected. Kahoot! is a web-based service that provides survey-
has not been reported in postsecondary chemistry education. style polling similar to PollEverywhere, but also includes an
With most student-response systems, it can be difficult to option for competitive quizzes (called “kahoots”) with scoring
provide any sort of point system or further information beyond based on both the accuracy and speed of responses.
the number of “right” or “wrong” answers submitted for each Additionally, use of the online program is free for all
question. At Rowan University, the Faculty Center for instructors, and every kahoot can receive up to 4,000 responses
with no implemented pricing tier. A real-time leaderboard is
Excellence in Teaching and Learning has encouraged the
shown after every question so that students (who can use either
implementation of a new online system called Kahoot!,21,22 real names or pseudonyms) can compare their performance to
which enables users to create quizzes with real-time speed- the rest of the participants. This leaderboard is specific to each
based scoring and leaderboard rankings. This report describes
the use of Kahoot! to facilitate content review prior to the final Received: May 7, 2017
ACS standardized exam in a second-year undergraduate Revised: June 26, 2017
quantitative analysis course. Published: August 16, 2017
© 2017 American Chemical Society and
Division of Chemical Education, Inc. 1363 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00311
J. Chem. Educ. 2017, 94, 1363−1366
Journal of Chemical Education Technology Report

instance a quiz is accessed, so only students currently in and students who participate just need a web-enabled device
attendance are able to view the scores. A team-based option where they can enter the unique game PIN generated for each
also allows groups of students (which can be self-selected or quiz. Concerns about students being apprehensive about
organized by the instructor) a short time to discuss the possible answering questions in a public format like this29 can be
choices and submit a single answer together from a single avoided through the use of pseudonyms for leaderboard
device, thus enabling use of the system in courses designed rankings, although this precludes the instructor from recording
around group work. It should be noted that these are only two individual student performance postquiz. When creating
of several platforms that exist for competitive and/or questions, users are able to enter question text, four answer
noncompetitive web-based student-response systems,27,28 choices (including which one is correct), a time limit for
although the potential for sharing and crowd-sourcing (see responses, and an image or video (if desired). If a less
further discussion below) was an advantage of Kahoot!. competitive atmosphere is desired, scoring can be turned off for
A demonstration of the process from student sign-in to questions as well, although the time limit is still in effect.
student response, and the postquestion leaderboard, is shown For this course, questions were generated using material
in Figure 1. One advantage of this system is that only users who from the open-source Analytical Chemistry 2.1 textbook.30,31
want to create quizzes (such as instructors) need an account,
An early problem in creating kahoot content for analytical
chemistry was the character limit imposed on questions (95),
but an alternative solution where questions were written on
slides and uploaded as images was implemented. For the
purposes of preparation prior to a comprehensive ACS final
exam, time limits were used to simulate the estimated amount
of time that could be spent during the actual exam. An informal
survey of students following the activity showed that most
enjoyed the use of Kahoot! for a competitive quiz test review
(see Supporting Information), but it was this time limit that
received the most negative feedback. One of the main
drawbacks of this platform is that Kahoot! requires that a
time limit is imposed, with an upper value of 120 s. Other
systems that have less focus on the competitive aspect of the
quizzes provide the option to remove these time limits and
could be used if the game aspect was less important to an
One current limitation in the field of analytical chemistry is
the lack of comprehensive review materials for the “Analytical
Chemistry” standardized ACS exam, like those available for the
“General Chemistry”, “Organic Chemistry”, and “Physical
Chemistry” exams.32 Because Kahoot! enables the use of
hashtags to share individual quizzes with other users, a crowd-
sourced effort to create content review questions and share
them online with other instructors can be put forth to fill this
current lack of review material for the ACS Analytical
Chemistry test. Although Kahoot! reports an active user base
of 40 million,33 an extensive search of current publically
available kahoots only returned about two dozen quizzes
regarding “analytical chemistry”, and only a fraction of these
had any questions related to a typical quantitative analysis
course. More specific search terms (e.g., “chromatography”,
“spectroscopy”, etc.) did return more results, but again, only a
select few posted by analytical faculty at the University of
Tennessee at Knoxville34 were at the level required for a
second-year quantitative analysis course. The AnalyticalChem-
istry user account was created to post six short quizzes based on
the content areas described above, with descriptions of each set
including the hashtags #analyticalchemistry and #quantitativea-
nalysis to simplify searching. The eventual goal with such an
Figure 1. Projector (left) and user device (right) interfaces during (A) account is to integrate user-generated kahoots together into an
poll sign-up, (B) user-response question, (C) postquestion indication aggregated list that could be shared through the Analytical
of correct response, and (D) postquestion leaderboard. Images were
captured from the “Preview” mode where instructors can monitor the
Sciences Digital Library,35−37 providing an open-source
projected screen and individual user screen simultaneously. Repro- repository for instructors to help prepare students for topic-
duced with permission from the Kahoot! platform at specific or comprehensive exams for analytical chemistry
Copyright 2017 Kahoot!. courses.
1364 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00311
J. Chem. Educ. 2017, 94, 1363−1366
Journal of Chemical Education

Technology Report

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The author declares no competing financial interest.

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1365 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00311

J. Chem. Educ. 2017, 94, 1363−1366
Journal of Chemical Education Technology Report

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1366 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00311

J. Chem. Educ. 2017, 94, 1363−1366