9 Tools To Make Teaching Online Courses Easier In 2020

Whether you’ve been teaching online for years or you’re transitioning to online courses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a plethora of tools to help plan and deliver content, keep students engaged, increase efficiency, and more.

To make your life easier, we’ve compiled a list for you. The tools listed below are sure to enhance the online experience for you and your students.

Flipgrid is an online platform that lets you post a topic that students respond to with short video recordings. Break up the pace of the lecture by asking students to submit a short 1-2 minute long recording describing their understanding of the content you just covered. The time limit will prevent them from rambling and help them learn how to be concise, while the video format lets them engage and share their comprehension in a visual and interactive mode that today’s learners are accustomed to.

Tools like Dotstorming make it easier for students to collaborate in online courses. You can post a topic, sit back, and observe or guide the class while students add their ideas to the board, vote for ideas other students added, and use an in-platform chat to discuss their thoughts and decision making processes.

Most students are used to watching their instructors use whiteboards to do things like work through math problems or draw diagrams. This online white board gives you extensive creative tools like text, draw, shapes, uploads, and more, saving you from using your bathroom wall as a canvas. It also lets you export your whiteboard creation to keep for later.

AWW is especially convenient because you don’t have to log in before creating your whiteboard. It’s a quick and easy navigation away from your presentation to the online whiteboard, making it ideal for times when you’re sharing your screen.

CourseKey enables you to run live online courses that feel like they’re in-person. The platform pairs with any video conferencing solution and gives you the ability to take secure attendance in seconds using face and fingerprint scanning to log how much time students spend in class. It also allows you to send out various types of student activities while lecture is happening, including polls, quizzes, and content related questions. All activities come with live results to let you gauge how well students are understanding the lecture and give students a confidence boost when they’re on the right track. Plus, your students can message you privately and both you and the students can share updates and resources with the entire class in the course chat.

Fraud and plagiarism are two prevalent issues in online education. Unicheck is a great tool for detecting potential plagiarism in student work. It supports 99% of file formats and bulk uploads, analyzes students’ work in a matter of seconds, and generates reports with detailed analysis of potential plagiarism. They have integrations with popular learning management systems like Canvas, Moodle, and SmartSchool and even have a Google add-on for real-time analysis of Google Docs.

An instructor’s presentation is a major component of class each day. While slideshow solutions like Powerpoint and Google slides get the job done, a tool like Prezi transforms your slides into engaging presentations. Prezi has millions of templates to choose from and even has a Powerpoint to presentation converter, letting you easily create presentations that will grab and keep your students’ attention.

Trello is a project management tool that allows you to stay organized and on time. Its user interface provides an overview of your entire project and gives you access to more detailed information by clicking into the “cards.” Trello lets you add comments, links, attachments, due dates, and more, and can also integrate with software like DropBox, Google Drive, and Slack for easy file/data sharing across platforms. You can even access Trello on your phone to make updates and additions from anywhere.

Trello can be an especially effective organizational tool if you’re teaching online for the first time and need a place to manage your tasks. Not only can Trello help you stay organized, it’s a great collaborative tool for students working in a group or on a project together.

Pocket allows you to save resources, articles, videos, and more to include in your lessons later. Once saved to Pocket, you can view your list of content on any device — phone, tablet or computer and can even access it while offline.

In online courses, taking advantage of different resources is especially vital to enriching the class session and keeping students engaged. When you come across a valuable piece of content you’d like to include in your lecture, simply add it to Pocket for easy access later.

Headspace is a helpful tool to manage your stress and emotional well-being during turbulent times. Using guided meditations and mindfulness exercises, Headspace helps you with stress management and helps to improve your sleep. Undergoing a big change like switching to online courses is a big adjustment. Use Headspace to give you a clear mind during and after your transition. Headspace is free for K12 teachers and has a two week free trial for everyone else.

In Conclusion

There are countless tools available online for teachers. But the tools listed above are sure to help you organize and enrich your course content, increase efficiency, and create a more engaging learning environment for students.

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