The Humanizing Tool Buffet

A collection of emerging tools just right for humanizing your online course.

Peruse the buffet, click on the links, and sample what looks intriguing and helpful to you!


Want to see these tools in action? Check this out too!

Behaviors & Strategies for Improving Instructor Presence Online

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Tools that Deliver the
Human Touch

Adobe Spark Video

for web, iPad, and iPhone

A free, simple to use app for creating digital stories. Get creative and give it a try! Here's an example of a 1-minute course bumper video created with Adobe Voice.


Animoto

Create hip, high-energy videos that look like they belong on TV! Videos are generated from still images, text you type onto the screen, and you can choose to add 10-second video clips.

  • Sign-up for an Animoto classroom account and receive a free 6-month Plus account that includes the creation of unlimited full-length videos!


Flipgrid

Present a question (in writing) and your students respond in video, asynchrously. An image of each student appears to designate their comment.


Jing

A free, essential tool for communicating with your online students. With Jing you can create free recordings of your screen of up to 5-minutes and upload them direct to your free, integrated Screencast.com account. This workflow provides a method of answering student questions with links to personalized video explanations! Also includes an option to create annotated screenshots.


TouchCast

for iPad, PC version coming!

Record yourself and drag in pre-selected Twitter Feeds, webpages, questions, and polls called Vapps. TouchCast takes video to new dimensions!

Screencast-o-matic

Use this web-based screencast tool to record anything on your screen! Create videos up to 15 minutes in length that may be downloaded as high quality .mp4 files or uploaded direct to your free YouTube account -- all free and no downloads! To eliminate the small watermark on your video, upgrade to the Pro version for $15/year -- it includes loads of features including editing tools.


SpeakPipe

A free method of leaving online voice messages. SpeakPipe provides a user with a customized URL that you may embed into a website or LMS. When a user clicks on it, they just click a button to record a message for you. Be sure to customize your settings to require users to enter an email address and name so you always know who your messages are from (sometimes students forget these details!). Replying is as simply as clicking a button and recording. This blog post shares more!


YouTube

Record, caption, edit, and embed your videos with a free account. There's so much more too including the ability to create embeddable playlists and online slideshows too. Return to your videos and add text annotations to them to engage students in deeper inquiry.


YouTube Capture

for iPhone and iPad
Record videos on-the-go from your mobile device and upload them straight to your YouTube account. Lots of potential hear for truly creating a classroom without walls.

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Tools for Communication and Interaction

VoiceThread

Web, iOS, and Android

Create asynchronous conversations in voice, video, or text around media files (images, videos, presentations, documents, audio files, and more!).


CI Faculty and students, to get started with VoiceThread, visit the Faculty Toolkit.


Slack

Web, iOS, and Android

Looking for an alternative to email? Slack just may be your answer! Slack is a communication tool designed to keep teams connected. Create a "Team," invite your team mates (or students) to join, and as the conversation starts, identify themes and create "Channels" to allow those themes to branch off into smaller groups. Attached files get added into the Channel's resources. All conversations are searchable. To get the most out of Slack, install the web app on your computer and the mobile app on your phone.


Cel.ly

Android & iOS (no web version)

A free, simple tool that enables users with mobile phones to create a group (or cell) on the fly and communicate via basic text messaging without sharing personal phone numbers. Cel.ly can be used with a non-smartphone (that is, a mobile phone without an internet connection), making it particularly attractive to populations with lower smartphone ownership rates. Members join by sending a text message. Great tool for sending polls, reminders, and alerts to a group, as well as increasing student-student interactions.


Padlet

A free digital bulletin board. Students simply post by clicking and typing. Works on smartphones too! Each post can be text, image, or a link. Use for brainstorming, feedback, research resources, debating topics, notetaking...the sky is the limit! Padlets can also be embedded within an LMS or on a webpage.


Vialogues

Provides a method for facilitating an asynchronous conversation in text around a video. Link a YOuTube video straight into Vialogues and ask your students a discussion question. As they view the video, they type their comments, which are synced with the video and play back in real time for later viewers.



AnswerGarden

Web and iPad

Create a question in AnswerGarden for free. Embed the question in your course or site. Students type in their answer and it appears instantly in a word cloud. The answers that are submitted more frequently appear larger than others. Tip: One-word answers work best. Try to write questions that include the prompt, "In one word..."


Tackk

A free, super simple option for creating websites. Each Tackk you create may be public or private. Public Tackks have the option to enable a Tackstream, which creates a conversation about the Tackk. Comments may be left without an account but to include images or videos, a user must be signed into Tackk. Tackk has built-in templates to select from, including one for a "class assignment." You may also consider using Tackk to create content for your online course and embedding the Tackk directly into your LMS (be sure to increase the dimensions on the embed code, as the default is quite small).



Google Docs

More than just documents! Google Drive includes the options to create collaborative docs, presentations and simple forms (like online surveys) too! Don't miss the Template Gallery!


CI faculty and students, follow these steps to get started with Google Docs:

  • Log into myci
  • Click on CI Docs
  • Once you are authenticated, click the blue "New" button
  • Select "Google Doc"
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Tools for Creating
Beautiful Content

Google Sites


The new and improved Google Sites is a quick, beautiful way to create online resource sites for your classes. Students can use Google Sites to create ePortfolios, demonstrating mastery of your course objectives.


CI faculty and students, follow these steps to get started with Google Sites:

  • Log into myci
  • Click on CI Docs
  • Once you are authenticated, click the blue "New" button
  • Select "Google Sites" (which is located under "more")


Haiku Deck

for iPad & web

Create free, stunning, visual presentations in a moments. Haiku Deck enables you to pull beautiful images directly from Flickr and attributes them for you. Your prez may be shared online or exported into PowerPoint where you can add more slides for customization. Click here to view a sample Haiku Deck.


Adobe Spark Page

A free, simple tool for creating gorgeous single-page websites.

Adobe Spark Post

for web, iPad, and iPhone

Create stunning graphics for social sharing -- free and easily!


Canva

for web and iPad

A simple, online graphic design tool with thousands of images, backgrounds, and graphics available for free. Canva is super for designing online course banners or any type of image for social media. If you want to design from scratch, get started by selecting a canvas size from the templates provided. Be sure to spend some time reviewing a few of Canva's fabulous (and fun) tutorials to learn some basic design skills.


Populr

for web

A free, simple way to create single-page websites. This page was made with Populr! Beautiful templates to get you started. Includes the option to record video directly into a page. Great for a humanized, interactive syllabus! Pages render great on mobile devices and (with an education account) your pages can be password protected and you can also make choose to turn them into collaborative wiki-like pages!

  • Use this education coupon for a free upgraded Populr account with no branding and the ability to password protect your pages.


Photos for Class

for web

Search for Creative-Commons licensed photos and download them with proper attribution. Huge time saver. Tip! If the size of the image you download from this site is too small, click the "View on Flickr" link, select the "Download this photo" icon, and choose the size you need.


Unsplash

Download beautiful images you may re-use without attribution!


Image Credits

Creative Commons License
How to Humanize Your Online Class: Tool Buffet by CSU Channel Islands is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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