Choosing the appropriate technologies for your course can be challenging. It takes time to identify what tools will be most effective and master them. We encourage you to adopt the motto “less is more.” Using a few tools well can be equally effective as incorporating more complicated technologies. Seek out help from the technology vendor, your department IT, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), or Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) for training and recommendations well before the beginning of the semester.
This Guide to Course Delivery will help you decide which technology tools are right for your course. We invite you to either visit them in order or skip to the topics that are most relevant to you.
Each topic includes resources to evaluate suggested technologies, links to help files, and a list of best practices. Read below for general advice on picking course technologies, or skip straight to the topic you need:
Any tool you choose should fit the pedagogy of the course. The fundamental measure of any tool is: “Can it help your students meet the learning objectives you’ve set for your course?” Once you have identified the technical needs for your course, it becomes easier to hone in on appropriate tools. For example, if a course learning objective is to teach students how to give an effective oral presentation, you may want to prioritize finding a discussion tool that includes video or audio recording.
Rely on tools that the university already provides. Try to adopt the educational technology tools that your department IT, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), or the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning supports. This will allow you and your students to use existing help documentation and receive timely technical help.
The technology tool must be accessible by all students. Some technologies cannot be adopted because of concerns that extend beyond your course: Is that service available in a student’s country? Do they have sufficient bandwidth to use the program? Is it cost-prohibitive? Does it meet accommodation standards?
Only use a tool if you can explain it. Even when help resources are available to students, you are the first line of defense for assistance. To avoid problems, provide basic instructions and explain where to get help. For example, if you assign recorded partner interviews, you may need to explain to students how to start their own meeting in Microsoft Teams or Blackboard Collaborate to record and share with you (or share a link to existing instructions).
Flexible Teaching guides were developed by Duke Learning Innovation and adapted for NIU by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. They are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
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CITL staff are available to answer your questions about Flexible Teaching. Give us a call or text 815-797-2477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our staff.
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