Internal - Faculty & Staff

Choosing the Right eLearning Tool

Used wisely, technology empowers you to take your online course from just a collection of materials to something that is engaging and interactive for students where they are taking responsibility for their own learning.

There are a wide variety of tools available for creating materials for your online or blended course. You are likely familiar with posting word documents, spreadsheets, PPTs and PDFs in your courses. In addition to these common file types, Simmons offers many additional tools, which we encourage you to explore when designing your courses.

  1. Master the basics.
    – You don’t have to be a computer wizard to teach online. But, you do have to have a basic understanding of how your computer works and where to go when you need help.
    – Familiarize yourself with browsers. It’s helpful to know Internet ExplorerChrome, and Firefox. Have those on your computer.
    – Develop a basic understanding of the Learning Management System Moodle. Take advantage of the instructor led and self-paced training offered by the technology department.
  2. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. There are many instructors at Simmons and beyond that you are in touch with that are already teaching online or in a blended learning format. That’s a huge resource to you.
  3. Establish a partnership with your students. Let them know that you are in it together.
  4. When you are trying a new tool, PRACTICE.
  5. Have a backup plan. When trying something new, you’re more likely to run into some technical difficulties; you want to make sure you know how to handle it.
  6. Avoid showing frustration with the technology. When you’re really frustrated it might put questions in your students’ minds about how reliable the technology is or make it easy for them to use technology as an excuse for subpar work.
  7. Keep it simple! Pick 1-3 tools that you can really master and make work in your class.

Expand the tool name below to see main purpose of the tool and how faculty and students commonly use the tool.  For detailed information and step by step how to’s about using the tool, please explore the eLearning Toolbox

Moodle LMS

Tool Link: Moodle LMS 
(Access courses you are teaching at moodle.simmons.edu)

Main Purpose

  • Create a Course and Syllabus
  • Course Repository and one-stop-shop
  • The Simmons Learning Management System that holds all the courses, resources, assignments and materials in one place
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Post Syllabus in a secure web space
  • Share resources, communicate and collaborate all in one place
  • Send announcements or reminders; post questions to a discussion board; interact outside of class via online chat tools; provide students with timely feedback and more
  • Class materials in one place
  • Share resources, communicate, collaborate in one place
  • Submit online materials/assignments
  • Interact outside of the face-to-face class
Moodle Advanced Discussion Forums

Tool Link: Moodle Advanced Discussion Forums 

(in Moodle located under Add Resource)

Main Purpose

  • Have class discussions outside of class time
  • Discuss topics, questions and comments through asynchronous threaded discussion forums
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Class-wide discussions
  • Private group discussions
  • Can be assigned by faculty as a class discussion or part of a group assignment
  • Subscription to a board allowing for easy access through email
  • Participate in class-wide or group asynchronous discussions
  • Contributions should be thoughtful and move the conversation forward
  • Students can subscribe to board prompting them when new information has been added to forums
Moodle Assignments and Quizzes

Tool Link: Moodle Assignments and Quizzes

(in Moodle located under Add Resource)

Main Purpose

  • Online assessment options
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Online instructions and submissions
  • Time release and availability options
  • Various submission settings available
  • Students can submit any digital content (files)
  • Online review of graded assignments if faculty allow for it
GoToMeeting

Tool Link: GoToMeeting

Main Purpose

  • Virtual classes and office hours
  • Host online meetings
  • Record Video Wrap Ups
  • Have real-time, online meetings and classes where you can collaborate with voice, text chat, whiteboard and document sharing
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Teach from anywhere
  • Have a guest speaker present to your class from anywhere
  • Real-time, online class sessions
  • Online office hours
  • Exam review sessions
  • Record session to review later
  • Attend class even if you are not on campus
  • Review recorded sessions for better prep or refreshers on particular topics
Adobe Connect

Tool Link: Adobe Connect

Main Purpose

  • Virtual classes and office hours
  • Host online meetings
  • Have real-time discussions and presentations, record meetings, chat in live sessions, or hold breakout sessions
  • Share various types of content, such as slides, videos, shared files, polls, messages, as well as selected items on computer screen
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Teach from anywhere
  • Hold breakout sessions in which smaller sub-groups can talk or collaborate on a whiteboard and share their screens
  • Online office hours
  • Exam review sessions
  • Record session to review later
  • Attend class even if you are not on campus
  • Review recorded sessions for better prep or refreshers on a particular topic
  • Meet with peers in breakout sessions in which smaller sub-groups can talk or collaborate on a whiteboard and share their screens
Tegrity

Tool Link: Tegrity

(integrated with Moodle LMS)

Main Purpose

  • Create a presentation or capture your desktop demonstration and publish in a web friendly format
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Create presentations or desktop capture demonstrations
  • Provide assignment wrap-ups using voice, video and content
  • Provide topic overviews using audio, video and other content
  • Review faculty presentations and demonstrations
VoiceThread

Tool Link: VoiceThread 

(voicethread.com, free web-based application)

Main Purpose

  • Create and share video presentation with your webcam and microphone and publish in a web friendly format
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Like a slide show – upload media including images, video, doc., ppt. to web-based location
  • Share it by linking or embedding
  • Once shared, comments can be made by phone, text, video or audio
  • Great for group or individual presentations, icebreaker assignments, mini-lectures, FAQ’s and substantive feedback
  • Comments can be made by phone, text, video or audio
  • Create group presentations
  • Review faculty presentations
Audacity

Tool Link: Audacity 

(https://sourceforge.net/projects/audacity/, free web-based application)

Main Purpose

  • Audio recording and editing software application
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • With an on-board microphone or attached to a computer, professors can record audio lectures
  • Simple plug-in to export mp3 files
  • Projects can be exported for every kind of media player
  • Record and edit oral histories
  • Student groups can record meetings
Jing

Tool Link: Jing 

(https://www.techsmith.com/jing.html, free web-based application)

Main Purpose

  • Simple screencast capture and image capture
  • Select any window or region to record and Jing will capture everything that happens in that area
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Add basic visual elements to enhance the online experience
  • Demonstrate screen movements to help students navigate the concept
  • Watch faculty created online video capture presentations thru link or embedded content
  • Create video or screen capture images instantly
Wiki

Tool Link: Wiki 

Main Purpose

  • Create class web pages – like Wikipedia; you can decide who has rights to make edits
  • Collaborative website where everyone can add or edit content
  • View who made what changes
  • Revert to previous versions
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Collaboration exercises such as research projects
  • Create encyclopedia-type entries on topics
  • Faculty may comment on entries
  • Create teaching notes to accompany cases
  • Member and non-member settings available allowing things to be open or private
  • Collaborate on group projects
  • Share websites and online content
  • Create encyclopedia-type entries on topics
  • Students may comment on entries
Blog

Tool Link: Blog

Main Purpose

  • Create individual or class journals online – can make comments on entries
  • Create a web-based journal or portfolio that can be private for the individual, group based or class wide
Faculty Uses Student Uses
  • Reflection, portfolio and journal assignments
  • Faculty may comment on entries
  • Member and non-member settings available allowing things to be open or private
  • Post reflections
  • Share comments about assignments
  • Students may comment on entries
Google Drive

Tool Link: Google Drive

(part of the Google Education Suite)

Main Purpose

  • Share and collaborate on documents
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Cloud-based space used for creating and storing documents, spreadsheets and presentations
  • Multiple users can edit documents at the same time and export them into standard formats (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML and PDF)
  • Shared docs are private to those invited, so only invited members can access the information
  • Easy access to content on mobile devices thru free apps
  • Private group space used for storing documents, tracking versions and collecting online resources
  • Site is separate from Moodle class site
  • Shared calendar can make it easier for students to find meeting times or mark deadlines
  • Easy access to content om mobile devices thru free apps
Twitter

Tool Link: Twitter 

Main Purpose

  • Micro-blogging
  • Post short, 140 character messages called “tweets”
Faculty Uses  Student Uses
  • Tweets can be restricted and read only be approved individuals or made publicly available
  • A user can insert a hashtag, such as #simmonsuniv, so others searching for that term will see their posting
  • Users can add the ‘@’ symbol to a friend or colleague’s username to direct a public posting at them
  • A user can insert a hashtag, such as #simmonsuniv, so others searching for that term will see their posting
  • Users can add the ‘@’ symbol to a friend or colleague’s username to direct a public posting at them

Would you like to download all the content above?  Choosing the Right Tool