Technology Tools for Online, Hybrid, and Web-Enhanced Instruction

Teaching online requires a different set of tools than does face-to-face instruction -- by definition, these tools are technolgically based. Educational Technologies staff are here to help you find the best toolset to achieve your course objectives. The information on this page is a starting point for your thinking about your instructional needs, and the technology tools you can use to achieve them. If you'd like to explore further how to use these tools in your teaching, please start a conversation.

Let's begin with a few definitions:

  • Online course -- involves no face-to-face contact between instructor and student. All interactions take place virtually -- usually asynchronously, but possibly synchonously as well (don't worry, these terms are defined below).
  • Hybrid course -- makes use of blended learning -- a combination of online and face-to-face instruction. In this case, the bulk of the instruction will take place online with face-to-face contact taking place through a few meetings at the beginning of the course, at the end, or perhaps sprinkled throughout.
  • Web-Enhanced course -- the other extreme of blended learning. In this case, the bulk of the instruction takes place face-to-face with online components enhancing that traditional instruction. Many, if not most, courses include an online component often carried out through a Learning Management System (LMS) or course blog (among other options).
  • Synchronous Learning -- requires participants be present in the same location at the same time. This can be face-to-face, as in traditional classroom instruction, or online, as in a web conference or chatroom.
  • Asynchronous Learning -- does not require participants be present in the same location at the same time. Participants can engage with one another at a time and place convenient to them (within the requirements of the course activity of course). Discussion forums, blogs, and wikis are examples of asynchronous learning

Technology resources for online, hybrid, and web-enhanced instruction at SLU:

This list is just a starting point. Begin by addressing your course objectives and your instructional needs for achieving those goals. For each of those needs you will see recommended technologies for meeting them and a brief listing of important considerations for their use. This list is not exhaustive -- there are many more options available. We would be happy to work with you on matching your specific needs to the best technology tools available, please start a conversation.

Instructional Need

Technologies

Considerations3

Share course materials Learning Management System (LMS)1 or SLUblog/Wordpress2 among other options The LMS is a critical element to the organization of an online course, and could be used to host many of the tools listed below.  As it requires the use of their network username and password, and it's use is suject to the university's Acceptable Use Policy, use of the university's official LMS is a critical piece to ensuring that student work submitted in fulfillment of course requirements is the work of the student enrolled in the course.
Syllabus PDF, or present materials within LMS in way that makes timing clear One can structure course materials within LMS in manner similar to syllabus. Use of calendar may be more critical.
Textbook(s) Traditional paper textbooks or eBooks May need to provide online approach for acquiring text(s).
Readings PDF Acrobat Pro (available on university computers) and Adobe Reader (freely available online) allows for electronic annotation
Presentations PowerPoint or other presentation tool Likely necessary to add an audio narration (accomplished easily with PowerPoint), or annotation. Please start a conversation and we can explore the options.
Audio Podcast Audacity, among other options Free download and relatively easy to use (note: an additonal plugin is necessary to export as mp3).
Video Podcast A range of approaches are possible IT has loaner equipment available and can assist in preparing your materials for presentation.  Most laptops, and many desktop computers, include webcams that can be used to create video presentations.
Links to web resources can be presented as in a number of ways through the LMS Taking a creative approach to activities with less, or no, classtime available is critical.
Library resources Library Course Pages Can be linked to LMS. More information on Library Course Pages is available on the library website.
Video resources Video Furnace or a range of web resources Video owned by the university may be streamed through the LMS using Video Furnace. Note that off-campus access to Video Furnace requires VPN and a robust highspeed internet connection. We highly recommend that anyone planning to use video resources in their online course start a conversation with Educational Technologies.
Assessments Assessments built into LMS or conventional assessment with electronic delivery and submission Assessment delivery timing may be managed through LMS.

NOTE: to ensure that submitted work is from the student registered for the course, the university requires the official LMS be used at a minimum for submission of all assessed work. If unsure how to comply with with this requirement, start a conversation with Educational Technologies.

Asynchronous exchange of ideas among all course participants See definition of Asynchronous Learning above In courses where there is less face-to-face time, it is essential to build a sense of community when the students are together.  It is also important to provide opportunites for students to build an identity/profile within the online elements of the course. Educational Techologies staff can advise on this process, please start a conversation.
Discussion Forum LMS or SLUblogs/Wordpress For most class discussions, the Forum tool in the LMS works great.  If interested in fostering more of an online journal approach, our blogging platform may be of interest.
Email LMS, SLU email, and/or APR The LMS allows for all members to easily email any or all members of a course. APR allows instructor to easily email all students. SLU email can also be used but email will need to be addressed to members of course individually.
Collaborative writing GoogleDocs, among other options There are other options, but GoogleDocs is a very robust tool. It's use would require all students to have a Google account and will require some additional management to share the resources properly.
Blog LMS or SLUblogs/Wordpress SLUblogs/Wordpress is more robust than blogging tool in LMS, but it requires some additonal rights management.
Wiki LMS or one of the web-based wiki services Or, GoogleDocs can be used in much the same way as a wiki without added learning curve necessary when utilizing a wiki.
Social Media Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. With careful consideration, these tools can provide a rich medium for course engagement. Please start a conversation if you are interested in exploring these options.
Synchronous exchange of ideas among all course participants See definition of Synchronous Learning above  
Chat There are a range of options on which Educational Technologies staff could advise All participants would need to use a common Chat provider.
Skype http://www.skype.com All participants must have a Skype account and a webcam (if they wish to contribute video). IT can assist with the Skype setup.
Web conference A number of options exist Start a conversation with Educational Technologies if you are interested in exploring this approach.
Interactive whiteboard or
collaborative writing
GoogleDocs This ability is built into most Web Conferencing options, but GoogleDocs could be used in tandem with the other technologies in this section.
Asynchronous exchange between individual student and instructor See definition of Asynchronous Learning above The university will provide a mechanism for strudents to evaluate the
course at its completion. However, when teaching online it is important
to provide students the opportunity to offer feedback on how the course is going from
their perspective and/or if they are encountering any technology related
issues. 
Email    
Voicemail    
Synchronous exchange of ideas between individual student and instructor See definition of Synchronous Learning above  
IM There are a range of options All members of course would need to use a common IM provider or instructor will need to be available through a range of providers.
Telephone / voicemail SLU office phone or cell phone If instructor uses SLU phone number and is not generally in their office, forwarding voicemail to email will be critical.
Paperless annotation/feedback LMS, Word, Acrobat, and GoogleDocs, among other options Start a conversation with Educational Technologies to identify the option best for your teaching style.
Skype http://www.skype.com All participants must have a Skype account and a webcam (if they wish to contribute video). IT can assist with the Skype setup.
Web conference A number of options exist Start a conversation with Educational Technologies if you are interested in exploring this approach.

1 The university has adopted Sakai as their LMS, replacing ANGEL. Click here for further information.
2 Some instructors have opted to use a blog as an alternative to, or enhancement of, the LMS. SLUblogs is our locally hosted instance of the popular blogging platform Wordpress. This approach makes your blog more secure, and makes managing membership easier.
3 Consulting with Educational Technologies staff when implementing any of these solutions is highly recommended, please start a conversation.