Technology for College Learning

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe different technologies used in online education

A student watches a video lesson on his computer.Technology in Education

Collaboration between students and the instructor is an important aspect of any online course. Therefore, with the increase of available technological tools, online instructors have incorporated a variety of technologies into online learning spaces to create opportunities for interaction as well as to diversify learning activities for students. For example, there are online conferencing tools evolving to support synchronous sessions for online instruction. It is possible to share a view of an application, share files, have real time chat, real time voice communication, and real time video during a live class session.

How Is Technology Used to Organize Online Courses?

Technology is used by educational institutions to provide students with easy access to course information, support services, and flexible online learning. Educational technology tools include learning management systems (LMS) such as Moodle or Canvas that houses your online courses, as well as podcasts, video lecture capture technology, and online discussion boards.

Try It

Navigating Your Learning Management System

Moodle is one of the many different kinds of learning management systems (LMS). Watch this video to learn how to navigate Moodle.

Technology for Online Assignments

Different technologies are utilized by instructors to provide students with varying ways to share their knowledge and experiences within the course and to connect with your online learning community and the instructor. These approaches are based on the community of inquiry (CoI), which prioritizes the importance of online courses including opportunities for affective expression, open communication, and a sense of group cohesion.

A student sitting on a chair in her apartment with her laptop.

Additionally, these approaches contribute to students’ development of belonging and satisfying interactions with fellow students and the instructor.[1] You can use technology to write a discussion, record a video in VoiceThread or Flipgrid, and post a comment to a Padlet.

For example, VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in five ways—using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.

You can learn more about VoiceThread by watching this video on how to complete a VoiceThread assignment.

Additional technology used in online courses include

  • computer software and Internet resources that allow students to record, defend, and challenge their thinking.
  • digital camcorders that allow students to observe and analyze the world—to re-see and reimagine it in a way that appeals to them.
  • interactive whiteboards that are helpful for class discussions about ideas or web content; they facilitate whole-class display and hands-on participation.
  • student-response systems, like clickers, that allow students to respond to questions and then debate the answers.
  • blogs that can serve as personal journals, where students can record, share, and reflect on field experiences and research activities. Students can also use blogs as a pre-established environment for critically responding to assigned readings.
  • wikis that can help students coordinate, compile, synthesize, and present individual or group projects or research, as well as build and share group resources and knowledge. Wikis can also help students provide peer review, feedback, and critiques.
  • discussion boards that can help students establish a sense of community with their class and engage in ongoing threaded conversations on assigned readings and topics highlighting diverse points of view.
  • Padlet that serves as a virtual wall, which enables you to post information to it. Students can work on independent research projects, collect information about topics, and use evidence to support answers to a series of questions.


community of inquiry: an understanding of learning spaces that prioritizes opportunities for affective expression, open communication, and a sense of group cohesion

learning management system: an interactive online learning environment such as Canvas or Moodle

  1. Anderson, T., R. Liam, D. R. Garrison, and W. Archer. "Assessing Teaching Presence in a Computer Conferencing Context." Online Learning Journal, 2001,