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Audience response system: guidance notes

The RCOG has an audience response system (ARS) which allows delegates to directly interact with elements of the conference. These notes will give you an idea of how the system works and what you need to do if you’d like to use it.

What should you do if you’d like to use the ARS during your presentation?

If you’d like to use the ARS in your talk, you must inform us of your intention before the day of the meeting. Our AV technicians need to make preparations and ensure the equipment is available, so if you don’t inform us beforehand we can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to use it.

How the system works

The software needed to create and run the slides is available free to download. It works as an add-in to PowerPoint, allowing you the freedom to create the slides yourself. The ARS slides work in a very similar way to ordinary PowerPoint slides so can easily be used as part of a standard PowerPoint presentation.

At the event, we issue each delegate with a small handset which is attached to their badge and allows them to select up to 10 options. This handset emits a radio signal, which is picked up by a dongle that plugs into the USB of the computer running the presentation. The results can then be displayed on the same PowerPoint slide once the polling has closed or can be downloaded to an Excel file after the presentation.

Using your own laptop

It’s possible to use the ARS if you’re running your presentation from your own laptop as the dongle can be plugged into your laptop’s USB drive. However, you’ll need to arrive much earlier for your presentation so our audiovisual (AV) technicians can set the system up ensure that the dongle is working correctly on your laptop.

The software

The ARS uses a program called TurningPoint, which is available to download free of charge. If you have a PC, you need to download the version of TurningPoint that corresponds to the version of Microsoft Office you’re using. You don’t need to worry about downloading any of the other software. If you have a Mac, you can download a special version of TurningPoint.

The tutorials

There are a number of short online tutorials provided by Turning Technologies which explain how to put ARS slides together. 

To start, we recommend viewing the tutorial on ‘inserting a simple slide’. Once you’ve created your slides, please view ‘reset – running and saving presentations’ to see how the presentation will run (please note that you only need to save your session file if you need to download the data later).

What the system can do

  • Create a basic question with up to 10 possible answers
  • Add an indicator to display the correct answer after respondents have voted (see tutorial on setting correct answers and indicators)
  • Ask the same question twice and then display a slide showing how answers have changed (see tutorial on comparative links)
  • Have multiple ranked responses to a question or assign different weights to different answers (see tutorial on priority ranking)
  • Have live scoring throughout a presentation (see tutorial on moment to moment)
  • Ask a demographic question and then display the results of the subsequent questions according to how respondents answered the initial demographic question (see tutorial on tracking demographics)

What the system can’t do

  • Ask multiple questions on one slide – you’ll need to allow one slide for every question you want to ask
  • The system can only record answers presented in a vertical number list
  • There’s no opportunity to provide detailed text answers to questions

Other points to note

  • You can change the appearance of the ARS slide in the same way you would change any standard PowerPoint slide
  • You can convert existing PowerPoint slides to question slides but they need to have a numbered list to convert (see tutorial on converting slides)
  • The responses on the slides are anonymous
  • You can add countdown timers and ‘answer now’ buttons to your slides
  • You can test questions without having the dongle by changing the input source to keyboard keys or simulated data

Potential problems

The system does occasionally go wrong and does not always work first time. If the software crashes or is not backed up, data can be lost, so please consider this when deciding to use it. Please allow extra time to see one of our AV technicians before you present your talk so they can check that everything is working correctly.

Contact us

If you have any queries, please contact the Conference Office. We can provide assistance with creating the slides, but we can’t create the slides for you. If you wish to use the ARS, you must be prepared to create the slides yourself.

Elsewhere on the site

Guidance for speakers
Useful information for anyone speaking at an RCOG event
Guidance for chairs
Useful information for anyone chairing a session at an RCOG event