Category Archives: Teaching Room Response Systems

Error: ‘OMBEA Response is being blocked…’


When presenting you get the error message: “OMBEA Response is being blocked and cannot work properly. Please ensure that Microsoft PowerPoint and OMBEA Response have full privileges. If the problem persists please contact OMBEA support.”


We currently have a workaround that we recommend you carry out prior to presenting if your Ombea slides already contain session data from an earlier presentation.

If the error prompt appears the steps below will remedy the problem:

  1. Go to Clear Results and clear the Session History. OMBEA will loop through each slide clearing the data until it finds a corrupt slide.
  2. When the error message comes up, dismiss it and then look through the presentation to find the first slide that has not been reset. This is the corrupt slide.
  3. Delete the chart on this slide alone but do not replace it yet.
  4. Loop back to the first step and repeat just in case there is another corrupt slide in the presentation.
  5. Once you’ve managed to clear the entire session with no error messages, go to the Properties and add the charts back in but only to the slides you had to delete them from. These slides can be identified by ‘No Chart’ in the Chart Type setting.

We appreciate this is by no means ideal, especially during a lecture, but we will be applying a fix over the Easter break to all campus PCs. If you have administrative rights to your machine you can download the latest version here:

Rollout of Ombea and removal of TurningPoint from teaching spaces

Ombea has replaced TurningPoint as the University’s centrally supported audience response system (agreed by ULTSEC in 2016/17).

Rollout of Ombea

Ombea was rolled out during 2016/17 to all centrally supported teaching spaces.  Through integration with PowerPoint it enables the participants to answer questions posed by the presenter on any device with access to the internet, e.g. smartphones, tablets and laptops. Therefore the system does not require handsets and allows presenters to ask a wider range of question types than was possible with TurningPoint.

Removal of TurningPoint

From September 2017 TurningPoint is no longer centrally supported as the version currently installed across campus will not be compatible with future versions of Microsoft Office/Windows. Therefore all TurningPoint receivers and software have been removed from centrally supported teaching venues.

Support and Training

Existing TurningPoint presentations are not compatible with Ombea.

LTDS can offer assistance to existing TurningPoint users in moving to Ombea and are advised to contact LTDS as soon as possible if they have presentations that they wish to be converted. Contact –  #

Workshops on using OMBEA in your teaching are available as part of the Learning and Teaching Development Programme.


Teaching Room Response Systems

Ever wanted to test your students’ responses to questions and track their learning during lectures?

response system pictureThe University’s new Teaching Room Response System, Ombea, will allow students to use their own devices to respond to questions and polls during lectures.

Ombea can be easily incorporated into Powerpoint slides to enhance students’ engagement in lectures and large teaching spaces.

While the previous system TurningPoint will still be available this year, Ombea will allow staff to engage students without the need to collect and distribute clickers.

Staff will still need to contact LTDS to acquire a license to use the software and training will be available to both introduce staff to Teaching Room Response Systems and to provide training on Ombea.

The system was selected in response to staff feedback and because of its easy integration with existing systems.

STAR CASE STUDY – Saving Sim-Man

Are you struggling to offer active and experiential learning to large numbers of students?  SimMan could save the day.

SimMan is a high-fidelity patient simulator who can be programmed to display a wide range of physiological and pathophysiological signs and respond appropriately to treatment, be it physical, e.g. cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or therapeutic, e.g. administration of drugs.

But surely only a few students can make use of SimMan at a time?

Clare Guilding (Lecturer in the School of Medical Education) has developed an effective way of using SimMan along with interactive voting technology to provide an engaging learning experience for a lecture theatre full of students.

Clare explains, ‘To enable the entire class to engage in clinical decision-making, split-screen and interactive voting technologies are employed.’

One of the screens projects the physiological readouts from SimMan such as his blood pressure, ECG heart trace and oxygen saturation; the other screen is linked to a TurningPoint interactive quiz.

Each student is supplied with a TurningPoint handset and at a series of key clinical points throughout the scenario, the students are asked to vote individually and anonymously on the most appropriate course of action (e.g. initial patient management steps, which drug should be administered etc.).

The option with the most votes, (whether or not this was the correct) is applied to SimMan and the students then observe the physiological effects this has in real time.

Clare said: ’In the online end of unit evaluation 76% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that SimMan had enhanced their learning experience.’

It also enabled students to see how their lectures applied to clinical practice:

One commented that ‘the lecture using SimMan at the end was really good, especially using TurningPoint so that we could try to ‘treat’ SimMan. It kept the lecture clinically-focussed and enabled us to see how the information would come in useful in practice’.

To find out more about SimMan and read about medical students’ repeated attempts to save his life, read the full case study on the Case Study database.

Or if you have your own example of really effective teaching practice in your School do get in touch with


New version of Responseware

We have been upgraded to the latest version of Responseware. There is no going back, which at this present time is a double-edged sword. The new version brings with it an improved UI and web interface but no additional functionality. However, it has removed the ability to customise Session IDs. I have spoken to our rep and he assures me that they will reinstate this in the next version (Apparently we weren’t the only ones to complain about it).

Here is a summary of some of the things you will need to be aware of in the new version:

Register for a Turning Technologies account as an Instructor

Go to: and register as an instructor using your email. This will add you to the university license and allow you to create sessions.

Participants connecting to sessions as guests

When students open the app or browse to to join a session as a guest they will be prompted to input some participant information including a user ID. This is optional and students do not have to enter this information to participate. If they do enter the information you can use it to track responses.

Disabled customised Session IDs

They have promised to re-instate this in a future update but as it stands you will not be able to create your own Session IDs with this version.

Derek Bruff book and blog pages

Derek Bruff is a Maths academic who has written both a book and blog pages about using voting systems in teaching. The book “Teaching with Classroom Response Systems” sets out a taxonomy of uses. You can see a presenation I helped put together about this at

 The blog pages include posts with examples categorised by use (eg team-based Learning or peer assessment) and question type  (eg conceptual or case study questions). Both are well worth a  look if you are want more ideas on how and why you might use voting systems.THe blog also considers Backchannels (text, Twitter etc) and visual learning.

Book – Bruff, Derek. Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments. 1st ed. Jossey-Bass, 2009. Available in the library or as an ebook 

Improving knowledge retention with voting systems

Marina Sawdon, a lecturer in Medical Education at Durham University asks voting system questions as part of the lecture each week. Some of those questions address topics covered in previous weeks, not just the topic covered that day. She is able to use this to demonstrate to students that they are retaining knowledge. In fact, the number of correct answers goes up when she re0tests students on earlier learning. Marina badges this as an additional form of feedback to students and she has had very positve reactions from her students to these interventions. 

See for a full article on her work in this area.