Resources for Flexible Teaching

These resources and guides should help you select and learn more about technologies and practices that can support flexible teaching and learning. Contact the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning if you would like assistance rethinking or modifying your course.

Blackboard provides a centralized tool for you to communicate with students, post and distribute learning materials, and collect and assess student work.

Strategies and tools for supplementing or replacing in-person classroom lectures.

Beyond just creating your own content, look for existing content sources that can save you time. In addition to the resources below, check with your textbook publisher or professional association to see if they have anything available.

  • Open Education Resources - OER are freely available or openly licensed learning objects such as media, textbooks, articles, and digital tools that can be used in your courses. The NIU University Libraries has created a helpful LibGuide with links to many OER repositories.

Interactivity and community are important to ensure that students still feel supported by you and connected to one another.

  • Blackboard Discussion Board - Have students share thoughts and ideas about class materials asynchronously (not at the same time).  You can create multiple discussion forums for students to discuss and respond to course content and activities, share resources, and collaborate around projects and assignments.
  • FlipGrid - Instead of text-based discussions, foster interaction between you and your students by allowing students to record themselves in a video format. Students can then share the recording either with you alone or with the entire class. This tool can be a catalyst for multi-media dialogue in your online course.
  • Office 365 - All students, faculty and staff have access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office tools available in a web browser and desktop application. Faculty and students can collaborate on documents and presentations, share content and provide feedback online.
  • OneDrive - OneDrive gives you 1TB of individual storage space in a secure environment that is FERPA- and HIPAA-compliant. Faculty and students can share any file stored in OneDrive for easy collaboration. 

Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has developed many resources for faculty, including an extensive faculty toolkit, with tips and strategies for culturally responsive teaching. Other helpful resources on inclusive teaching include:

Hold entire class sessions or office hours with web conferencing tools. 


For more on tips on getting started teaching online, visit the NIU Online Teaching Quick Start. Also, see Recommendations to Increase Student Engagement in Online Courses for recommendations shared by NIU faculty and staff.

Additionally, the following resources and recommendations shared by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) may be of particular interest and can be immediately put to use.

You can quickly create your own video content using the following tools:

Additional helpful resources on video creation:

Get Help

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-797-2477
Email: citl@niu.edu

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