Tools for Online Teaching
There are a number of tools to help you create content and learning activities for your online courses. They can be as simple as creating a web page of text or as complicated as an interactive learning scenario with multimedia. The degree of complexity necessary depends on the learning outcome you are addressing as well as your technical skills.
Remember that there is a lot of existing, free material available, called Open Educational Resources, that you can download and use in your courses. There is no need to recreate the wheel as they say for many of the common concepts taught in courses. Use our Open Educational Resources page to help with locating such existing resources.
For other technology tools, visit Tools for Teaching.
Creating accessible content
As a general rule, you should create your content from the beginning so that it is accessible to everyone including those with various perception disabilities such as the blind and deaf. See our Creating Accessible Online Content page for guidelines.
Using a template
The CTE can provide a template for you to use when creating text-based web pages for your online courses. The template can be used when creating pages in Microsoft Expression or simply by altering the content inside GeorgiaVIEW. Contact the CTE for more help or information about using templates.
You can also use the HTML editor inside GeorgiaVIEW to create basic web pages for your course, or use the free Expression Web (available here for free) to create pages and upload them to GeorgiaVIEW.
Using existing courses
There are some courses created by others that you can adopt and change to suit your purposes. The utility and quality of some of these courses vary widely. In no case should you assume that the course is ready just as it is.
The Open Course Library from Washington State has many courses you can review and use for free.
Beyond the content
There are many ways to create content beyond simple text. Be sure you focus on your pedagogical purpose when creating content, however, so you do not create extra work for yourself that serves no purpose or that causes extra, pointless work for students.
Remember that one of goals with online content is to get students to do something with content after they have read, watched, or interacted with it. This “active learning” principle asserts that students must use content in some way (an active way) rather than just passively receiving it (like reading or watching a video) or they will not retain it nor will the really fully understand it until they have used the content. Using the content can mean answering questions about the content they just read, or deciding what they should do when presented with a case study, or choosing the next step based on a problem presented, or participating in a discussion with other students—to name a few of the things you can do to get students to be active with your content.
Tools for creating content
Tools for creating interaction
First, do not forget that many great interactive lessons have already been created and shared with the world that you can use in your course. Some allow you to download the object and put it in your class or to link to it from within your class. The challenge is just finding them. Visit our OER page for help.
- You can create simple interactive lessons in PowerPoint and then ask the CTE to convert it to a form you can put in your course. See this example of an interactive PowerPoint.
- SoftChalk, available in the CTE, can create a number of interactive activities including a simple page-by-page presentation of content with embedded questions. See SoftChalk lesson examples. CTE staff can also create such lessons for you. Contact the CTE for help.
- StudyMate is a tool for creating basic recall exercises such as flash cards and a jeopardy-style game. See some StudyMate examples here. You can download and install it from the Faculty Resources course inside GeorgiaVIEW. If you do not have access to this course, contact the CTE.
- Quizlet. Create flashcards, tests and learning games,
- StudyStack. View user-created flash cards or create your own.
- TedEd. From the Ted Talks people, this website provides videos on various topics and lets you create lessons with them including quizzes, discussions, and links to other resources. You can also upload your own videos to YouTube and use TedEd to create lessons from them. Learn more about TedEd here.
Whether it’s adding images to your content or finding photos for a video, there are a number of resources to help. View our Image Resources page for ways to create, edit or find images for use in your classes.
Creating video can be as simple as recording a video straight to YouTube with a webcam or as complicated, of course, as producing a highly professional educational video. Most likely, you will be doing something more on the lower end of production. But you can still create videos that explain concepts without having professional production skills.
One of the simplest things you can do is to create a narrated PowerPoint, and then upload it to YouTube. Then you embed the video in your course. Learn more about using PowerPoint in online courses.
- Screencast-o-matic. Great tool for creating a video by capturing your computer screen where you can write on the screen or show documents, and then you can upload easily to YouTube.
- Basic webcam video. Using your webcam, you can create videos that you upload directly to your YouTube account and then embed into GeorgiaVIEW. Use these only for brief updates and such.
- Present.me. Record presentations that include your PowerPoint plus a video of you created from your webcam.
- Fotobabble. Put your voice over images
- PhotoStory. A simple, free tool for creating a video slide show (compatible with Windows 7).
- PowToon. Create animated presentations with this online tool.
As with other kinds of learning activities, keep in mind that many videos already exist on topics you teach in your courses. You may find videos available online that are better than anything you could create. Here are some sources:
- Films On Demand. Many educational videos available for your use. (see also, how to embed in GeorgaVIEW).
- YouTube. There is an abundance of video already created and available on YouTube that you can embed in your course.
- TeacherTube. Like YouTube, only just for teachers.
- TedEd. From the Ted Talks people, this website provides videos on various topics and lets you create lessons with them. You can also upload your own videos to YouTube and use TedEd to create lessons from them. Learn more about TedEd here.