Instructional Technology Tools

AuthorRebecca Purdom - Greg Brandes - Karen Westwood
Chapter 3
Instructional Technology Tools
The particular online tools used to deliver distance courses can be incorporated into teaching to achieve a
variety of goals from course management to enhancing knowledge acquisition. Depending on the
application, technology tools can be used to encourage group collaboration, provide active engagement,
present immediate feedback, and prepare students for their future in a digital world.
The tools described in this chapter describe just some of the current tools available to online instructors
and programs. This is not an exhaustive list, and it is not intended to dictate the best tools for any one
particular pedagogical or program goal. The best use of all tools will be dictated by the pedagogical
decisions critical to program design and success.
This chapter addresses:
Learning management systems. Proprietary or open-source learning management systems collect
online teaching tools in one place; some schools collect individual tools and assemble their own
technology teaching toolset. What should a school consider in choosing an approach?
Webcasts and video feeds. How can a program best use video, either live webcasts or recorded
videos, to deliver content and engage students?
Podcasts and voice-over-slides. How can a program deploy recorded audio (podcasts) and voice-
over technology (voice-over slides) to effectively present information?
Chats and blogs. How can more informal means of interactions such as chats and blogs be used
effectively to encourage student engagement in distance courses?
Quizzes. How can quizzes be used effectively to check and assess learning?
Discussions. How can discussions be used as robust interactive elements of courses to develop
learning and enhance interaction among faculty and students?
Wikis. How can group projects and co-produced works enhance learning for individual students?
Learning Management Systems
A wide variety of individual tools can be used to embody and deliver the course. These tools are typically
housed together in a single online platform called a Learning Management System (LMS). Some schools
use free online resources or cobble together various tools to produce online classes (e.g., using Google
Docs and other collaborative tools), while most higher education organizations employ a proprietary or
open source LMS (e.g., Blackboard, Moodle, Brightspace, Canvas, or Sakai). Still other schools use

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