Selecting the best tool for the job

The mini session this week will focus on the strengths and challenges of various online collaboration tools. 

We have so many tools at our disposal today and it may be difficult to know which one to use in any given situation, for any given group of students, or to accomplish a specific outcome. Instructor/designer knowledge and comfort levels with various tools is often a factor in making the decision, as do things such as accessibility, FOIPOP, institutional support, etc. While FLO is about facilitating online rather than about designing and developing courses, sometimes instructors hired to teach an existing course want to ‘spruce it up’ a bit. That might mean updating a few readings or adding a video resource. But it might also mean using a new tool for an activity or even creating a new learning activity.

Here are a few guiding principles for selecting the right tool or mode for a part of a course:

  1. Knowing about a range of tools gives an instructor a larger toolbox from which to select
  2. Thinking hard about the purpose and desired outcomes will drive the selection of tools
  3.  It is okay to get creative and playful

Caution: Many free tools have limitations to encourage people to upgrade to paid options. Check out the terms of use before you commit your learners. Many free tools have social networking options embedded; make sure you know how "open" a session or creation will be.

Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria

Here are the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria you should be working with/toward for this activity

Learning Outcomes
(your participants will be able to...)

Assessment Criteria
  • Use strategies and tools to establish and maintain instructor presence, and support learning and community goals
  • Articulate rationale for instructional choices (including tool selection) 
  • Critically evaluate self-performance and learning
  • Assess community-building elements and strategies in the design of online learning activities and courses
  • Use strategies to support diverse communities of online adult learners
  • Articulate strengths & challenges of various online collaboration tools
  • Propose the kinds of learning activities best suited for synchronous or asynchronous online engagement


Last modified: Friday, 13 February 2015, 4:21 PM