UNF Center for Instruction and Research Technology

Instructional Design

Online Learning Tools


Interacting with students and assessing their knowledge acquisition is critical in all learning environments. There are many tools available to faculty that make interaction and assessment engaging and effective. Below is a table that outlines various online learning tools and how they can be used in an online course.

Online Learning Tools and Their Applications

When you want to…
Learning Objectives
Post topics or questions for students to respond, share information and resources, and discuss asynchronously
Opportunity for high interaction between all course participants if instructor clearly communicates minimum requirements
Can be used as a form of assessment; Provide rubric or grading criteria to students
Discuss, analyze, compare and contrast
Discussions (Canvas), VoiceThread, Perusall
Virtual Meetings
Communicate synchronously with one or more students with the benefit of video/audio/whiteboard capabilities; have live presentations/lectures by the instructor or student
Visual and audio interaction possibilities with video/web conferencing
Limited assessment capabilities
Present, listen, watch, discuss, speak, meet
Zoom, Microsoft Teams meetings
Chat Rooms
Have synchronous communication between multiple people in a text only format
Less formal interaction in real time
Not for assessment
Discuss, clarify, meet
Chat (Canvas)
Send a reminder or give out new information to all students at once
One way communication from teacher to learner
Not for assessment
Recall, remember
Announcements (Canvas)
Have students post a chronological series of entries on a topic, make periodic updates on the same page
Each blog page is usually written by a single user or group but made public to the rest of the class for comment
Can be used for assessment
Update, recall, reflect, review
Discussions or ePortfolio (Canvas)
Have students write or reflect throughout the course, record lab results, document clinical experiences
Usually private between the student and instructor, but can be shared for others to read
May be used for assessment by the instructor
Reflect, record, document, communicate
ePortfolio or Assignments (Canvas)
Collaborative space where all students can view, contribute, and edit content, create course glossaries and study guides, post text, images, videos, and links
Open for interaction and collaboration between all students and the instructor
Limited assessment capabilities
Brainstorm, plan, write, define, create, post
Pages or Collaborations (Canvas)
Student Groups
Organize students for things like group projects or papers
High interaction among small groups of students
Assignments created as a group can be turned in and assessed
Create, collaborate, discuss, compare and contrast
People (Canvas)
Assess learning with questions
Limited interaction between instructor and student
Designed as an assessment tool
Respond, recall, identify, label
Quizzes (Canvas), Top Hat
Have students collect evidence, artifacts, or document learning for long term storage
Individual work that may be shared with others
May be used for assessment, formative or summative
Document, collect, assemble
ePortfolios (Canvas)
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