Technology Choices

From E-Learning Faculty Modules


Module Summary

Use a variety of technologies to deliver your course content to students. Combinations of technologies can help you address different content and learning styles.

Consider which technologies will work best for your students in the context of goals, objectives, and course content. If you are uncertain which technologies to use or the best choices for your course, consult with an instructional designer, web media coordinator, or program coordinator assigned to your college to help you determine your options.

It’s important to remember that technology should complement your course design and teaching rather than overshadow them.

Faculty Tip: Roger McHaney – Professor – Management


Learners will...

  • Review some of the technology choices available for online instructor.
  • Be able to differentiate between broad categories of technologies used for different specific online learning tasks.
  • Know what resources are available to them in selecting and using various technologies.

Main Concepts

There are an ever-growing number of technologies available for the online instructor. The choices you will have to make will be numerous, varied, and often filled with compromise. You will need to decide which tools you will use for both synchronous and asynchronous communication. You will also have to decide how you plan to deliver text to your students. There will be choices concerning video, audio, and multimedia. Often, you will need some initial assistance deciding which technologies best suite your teaching style and the course material you are delivering, as well as getting started with most of these technologies.

The instructional designers in iTAC can guide you through a lot of this process as you are developing your courses, especially at the onset of designing how you wish to teaching online. You can also find additional services in iTAC including technology training, equipment checkout and the Media Development Center. If you are looking for a solution that is a little less hands-on, the Office of Mediated Education provides services covering web presentation software, live audio/video webcasting, and A/V editing and encoding. You will find at the end of this module contact information for all the above-mentioned resources.

How to

Many of the easiest to use technologies and tools available to the online instructor are already a part of K-State Online. Those are often the best choice for those new to teaching in the online environment. The list below is not meant to advocate one specific technology or software over another. Rather, it is intended to give you a cursory idea of some of the more readily available choices.

  • Written Documents:
    • HTML (available in K-State Online)
    • MS Word
    • PDFs
    • Print
  • Asynchronous Communication Tools:
    • Email (available in K-State Online)
    • Announcements (available in K-State Online)
    • Message board (available in K-State Online)
    • Blogs
    • Wikis
  • Synchronous Communication Tools:
    • Wimba (available in K-State Online)
    • Chat (available in K-State Online)
    • Skype, and other tools
  • Lecture Capturing:
    • Camtasia
    • Screenflow
    • Adobe Captivate
  • Video and Audio:

Possible Pitfalls

  • Failure to have backup plans

Technology can, and does fail. The more complicated, or the more bandwidth intensive a technology, the more likely you are to have problem. Be prepared, have a contingency plan in place.

  • New technology

Take the time to learn and test new technology before implementing it in you course. With Web 2.0 applications springing up daily, and advances to more traditional technologies, it is very easy to find new products to use. Be aware that you may not find tech support for these new technologies if you choose to use them

  • Bandwidth

Some applications require broadband connections and can be wholly unusable to students with dial-up connections. This is particularly true of video conferencing. Be sure that there is a significant instructional rational for requiring the use of such technology. Some students may not be able to participate at all, especially with rural or overseas connections.

  • Too complex for your students

Beware of too many bells and whistles when choosing technology. Often, feature heavy technologies are not worth the tech support issues that tend to go with them.

Extra Resources