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Uses of QR Codes in Higher Education

QR codes, or “Quick Response codes,” are similar to barcodes, except they can store more data. You can access a specific page online by scanning a QR code with a QR Code scanner

Although QR codes are widely used as advertising tools, many educators have found innovative uses for them in the classroom of the 21st century. Higher education can accomplish many teaching and learning tasks using QR codes. 

Moreover, various online content can be linked to scan QR codes, including photographs, websites, maps, charts, quizzes, surveys, PDF documents, graphs, audio or video clips, and collaborative documents. There are numerous ways in which QR codes can be incorporated into courses in any discipline. Here are a few ideas that you may find helpful.

Ensure that Course Content is Accessible

QR codes make it easy for students to have quick access to course materials. For example, QR codes in the syllabus can link to course readings or videos. A QR code on a slide may give students quick access to a website used in class. 

A QR code can also be created that provides students with links to all the resources used on that particular day. During class, students can access this “one-stop shop” and navigate more efficiently.

Keeping in Touch with Students

Using QR codes can help you get to know your students and help them get to know you. For example, the syllabus might contain QR codes that link to videos of you introducing yourself to the class. A QR code can also link to a student survey created in Google Forms or another online tool. Students simply need to scan the QR code to get the information. 

Students should complete the code as the first “assignment” on their syllabus. It is also possible to provide students with contact information through QR codes: the code can include your office hours, contact information, and a website where students can sign up for a meeting time.

Moreover, the QR codes can also be used to collect student feedback by linking them to online surveys and forms. 

Promote Collaboration

QR codes can link to online collaborative documents (e.g., Google Docs, Google Slides, Microsoft OneDrive files). Students can use this type of collaborative document to brainstorm ideas, collaborate on writing exercises, present a presentation, and engage in other discipline-related activities with their peers. 

For example, when students are engaged in a group activity (e.g., analyzing a case study or researching an important legal case), QR codes can link each group’s collaborative documents. 

Students can then access their group’s collaborative document and work together to complete the task. Collaborative documents also work well for virtual synchronous instruction, as they can provide structure for breakout room activities.

Ensure that Students are Learning

The use of QR codes for formative assessment is highly beneficial. Several online quizzes, polls, and surveys are available (e.g., Kahoot!, Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter, and Google Forms). 

These QR codes can then be placed on your lecture slides at strategic points for pauses during the lecture. The QR code can be scanned by students via their phones when completing an assessment. Students will be directed directly to the assessment tool once the QR code has been scanned.

Enhance Learning Opportunities

Would you like to encourage your students to go further? The use of QR codes can assist in this process. Ensure your handouts and slides contain QR codes linking to supplementary information or resources. Students may even be challenged to find additional articles, videos, or other resources about a course-related topic and to create QR codes to share their findings. 


Additionally, students can use QR codes to reach a wider audience. For example, they might create PSA videos or websites and post QR codes on campus to raise awareness of critical concerns. During poster presentations or other research presentations, they can include QR codes leading to their references or other resources related to their research.

Support and Provide Feedback as Needed

QR codes are excellent tools for providing immediate assistance. For example, when creating assignment guidelines for a research paper, QR codes can be included that link to resources on citations, grammar, or other writing topics. The readers are encouraged to scan QR codes to get resources.

Moreover, you can also include QR codes on practice or review assignments that link to tutorials that students can view if they are stuck on a particular problem. 

Is there any specialized equipment that students should be using? QR codes can be created that link to tutorials or directions. The QR codes can then be printed on labels and stuck directly on the equipment so that help is only a scan away. 

A QR code can also be used to provide feedback to students regarding their work. A tool such as Microsoft Flip can be used to create audio or video recordings of your feedback. Once the recordings have been made, QR codes can be shared with students.


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