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Searching for New Tech Tools

Technology tools are a necessary part of teaching an online course. They can increase student engagement and can often make student and instructor interactions easier and more effective.

But the amount of tools available to help us teach our online courses can be overwhelming, especially if you have never taught online before. The good news is you do not have to use tech tools unless they meet a specific need in your course. ​


Here are some websites containing lists of tools for you to use in your online course. 

Below are some guidelines to follow when selecting your next technological tool.

1. Objectives 

Tools are only useful when they help your students meet the objectives of the course or a specific activity. If the tool is not directly related to assisting student success, then the tool can become a negative aspect for both the student and the instructor.


2. Accessibility 

You should consider whether all of the students in your class will be able to access the tool. Ask yourself, is it costly? Will the students have to create a username and password? Does it require special software? Will students who require accommodations be able to use it? Not all of these are deal breakers, but you should always consider the diverse needs of online students.


3. Compatibility

Very often, you will find tech tools have very specific requirements to be implemented. Consider whether the tool can be used on mobile devices or tablets, if it will sync with Canvas, or Google calendars and documents, and which browsers are optimal.


4. Privacy 

It is very important to ensure your students’ private information is accessible to only you or the other students in the class. You should be aware that oftentimes free tools are not really free, because they will sell or distribute email addresses and other personal information to a third party. Make sure the tool has security measures in place. Also, check to see if you are able to save the information or download student work so you can save it for your archives.


5. Easy to Use

Make sure the tool is easy to use for both you and the students. If there is a high learning curve, it can distract from the objectives. Additionally, have fun with it! If your students are not enjoying the time spent using the tool, then they are less likely to be engaged with the activity or content. Active engagement is critical to students’ success (1-2).



  • References 

     1. Bandura, A. (1999). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Asian journal of social psychology, 2(1), 21-41.

    2. Braxton, J. M., Milem, J. F., & Sullivan, A. S. (2000). The influence of active learning on the college student departure process: Toward a revision of Tinto's theory. The Journal of Higher Education, 71(5), 569-590.


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