GIF reactions as classroom feedback
I have started using GIFs in the classroom as a way to evoke immediate feedback from students on lecture content and assignments, as well as reflective reactions on the semester as a whole.
Depending on your LMS, compatibility with GIF embedding can vary, but it’s extra easy to do if you use a Twitter hashtag, Facebook group, or Tumblr site as a classroom resource. And a particularly easy WordPress solution is to use a plugin like Comment Attachments (which, shockingly, allows commenters to add attachments) and then limit the allowed file types to GIFs only. You can see what that looks like on this post.
When I taught Fandom Studies, I tried using Tumblr as an LMS, to limited success, but it does mean that some of my animated GIF course evaluations still live. This is the post I made when I assigned the task, and here are two example student posts: one and two.
In courses where students really embrace GIF reactions, it can be a tremendously effective way to check the temperature of a class: send me a GIF that shows how well you understand the topic / the assignment guidelines / my feedback, for example.
In terms of accessibility, it’s a great idea to get students into the habit of describing images they use. Typical convention has them placed within square brackets for screen reading software to differentiate from the main text.