Tools and Resources

We've provided a list of recommended NC State tools and resources for instructors based on accessibility, reliability and availability of support.

Instructor needs can differ widely by class, field of study or other instructional components. The list below is not comprehensive and there may be other appropriate tools or technology solutions. Preference is also given to tools supported by NC State.

Communicate with students

Tools

  • Moodle
    • Announcements forum – Every Moodle course includes an Announcements forum. Only instructors can post to the forum, and student subscriptions are automatic and required. Students receive emailed copies of all posted messages.
    • Quickmail block – This block can be added to any Moodle course. It allows instructors to compose email messages directly in Moodle and send them to any members of the class. 
    • Participants list – Instructors can select one or more students and send messages to them through Moodle (along with a copy sent via email). Student email addresses can also be downloaded from the Participants list.
  • WolfWare Google Groups – WolfWare Google Groups provides a set of email lists that can be used by instructors to communicate with a class. Google Groups can also be set up as a channel for students to request help from instructors and support staff. Multiple email lists can be configured within a single class, and class rosters are updated automatically when changes (adds and drops) occur. WolfWare Google Groups also allows sharing of Google Calendar events and online documents from Google Drive.
  • Zoom – Use Zoom for online office hours and one-on-one meetings with students.

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Distribute course materials and readings

Tools

  • Moodle Files (such as PDFs, slide presentations, or other documents) can be uploaded into a Moodle course and accessed directly by students. Links to URLs and basic HTML content are also easy to create and organize in Moodle.
  • Google Drive Materials in Google Drive (such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides) can be shared publicly or sharing can be restricted to NC State users or to specific students. When Google Drive is used in conjunction with WolfWare Google Groups, instructors can share Google content with a class roster with access permissions that are automatically updated through roster changes.
  • Course Reserves – Through the Libraries’ course reserves system, instructors can request that library staff create and add physical and digital course reserves to their classes. Instructors can also directly manage their course reserves online. 
  • Textbooks – Each semester, the Libraries places at least one copy of every required textbook on reserve. Many textbooks are now available online, and the Libraries can scan and deliver chapters or portions of print-only textbooks and other reserve materials to students via email.
  • Open Educational Resources – The Libraries offers faculty training and support for open education and open pedagogy. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are educational materials that you can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share.

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Deliver lectures

Tools

  • Zoom The Zoom web conferencing platform is well suited for synchronous online meetings involving small or large groups (up to 300 participants), and includes video, audio, screen sharing, text chat, whiteboard annotation and other interactive features. Zoom meetings can be recorded for later viewing, and recordings can include automatic transcription that displays as separate text or as captions that appear along with the recorded video as it plays.
  • My Mediasite My Mediasite is a tool that instructors can use to record presentations from a personal computer, capturing video and/or audio and computer images. My Mediasite is frequently used by instructors to record their own audio narration over a set of presentation slides; the resulting recording can then be provided to students as a streaming video online. My Mediasite also allows other videos to be uploaded, thus providing instructors with a single location to store and manage video content. 

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Run lab activities

Tools (all external)

  • Merlot:  From Merlot.org: “The MERLOT system provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners and researchers.”  Some options for virtual labs, curated by MERLOT: 
  • PhET: Offers interactive simulations for science and math.
  • Labster: Virtual pre-made labs for a fee

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Foster communication and collaboration among students

Tools

  • Moodle Forum activity The Forum activity in Moodle allows students and instructors to exchange ideas by creating and commenting on posts within threaded discussions. Files such as images and media can also be included in forum posts. Instructors can choose to grade and/or rate forum posts and it is also possible to give students permission to rate each others’ posts. 
  • Google Drive/G Suite The various tools in Google’s G Suite are designed with collaboration in mind, and they can be useful for students who need to work together on projects. Productivity apps such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides allow shared editing of documents and other files, Drive allows file and folder sharing, and Hangouts provides easy-to-use live video and text chat for collaborators. 
  • Zoom Students can also use the Zoom web conferencing platform in a variety of collaborative ways, such as holding online group meetings, participating in online discussions in real time, or delivering online presentations. A Zoom session can include audio, video, screen sharing, text chat, and more, and Zoom meetings can be recorded for later viewing. Divide your students into Breakout Rooms during a class Zoom meeting to allow them to collaborate in small groups.

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Collect assignments

Tools

  • Moodle Assignment activity The Assignment activity in Moodle provides a space where students can submit work and instructors can provide feedback and assign grades. Assignments can be configured to support a wide variety of instructional needs, including group work and blind grading. Student submissions can take the form of submitted files, text entered directly into Moodle, or audio recordings. 
  • Google Docs Assignment instructions can be created using a Google Doc and shared via NC State email address. Students can also submit assignments as Google Docs by sharing back with faculty. A best practice is to have students re-assign ownership of graded work to the instructor for retention purposes.
  • Google Assignments – If you are using Moodle and Google Docs, you can “marry” them with a tool called Google Assignments. Google Assignments allows you to create, collect, and provide feedback and grades on assignments your students submit in Google Docs, within Moodle. Google Assignments grades are recorded in the Moodle Gradebook automatically. Google Assignments automatically transfers ownership of a Google Doc back and forth between instructor and student, and it retains copies and automatically organizes all files in a Google Drive folder.

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Assess student learning

Tools

  • Moodle Quiz activity The Quiz activity in Moodle allows instructors to design and build quizzes that can include a wide range of question types, including multiple choice, true-false, short answer, and essay. More advanced question types with features like calculated variables and drag-and-drop images and text are also available. The Moodle gradebook records all grades, which students view online. If necessary, instructors can use Respondus software to proctor quiz-taking (but please read this article).
  • Google Forms Instructors can also create and administer quizzes using Google Forms. A link to the quiz can be sent to students, and the responses can be displayed and managed in a Google sheet. 

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Content accessibility

Tools

  • Microsoft Accessibility Checker – Before sharing your Word, PowerPoint and Excel files, run the Accessibility Checker to make sure your Microsoft Office content is easy for people of all abilities to read and edit.
  • Grackle – You can check the accessibility of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides using Grackle, which generates accessibility reports with information on how to improve the accessibility of your Google files. Grackle also provides the ability to save a Google Doc as a tagged PDF.
  • Captioning grants – Creating captions can be a significant investment of resources. NC State offers captioning grants to provide faculty with funding and technical assistance to create captions and/or transcripts for videos.
  • Pope Tech web accessibility tool – The Pope Tech accessibility scanner can be used to quickly test public web pages.
  • WAVE Chrome extension – For private/password-protected pages, the WAVE Chrome extension allows you to evaluate web content for accessibility issues directly within the Chrome browser.

Learn more

Additional resources

  • The Libraries Coronavirus Response Page provides links and information on the many library resources, services, and technologies available to you and your students, including laptops and other tools available for loan.
  • Keep Learning: A partnership between DASA and the Graduate School, this website features strategies and resources to help your students make the transition to a virtual learning environment.
  • Academic Integrity in the Online Environment from the NC State Office of Student Conduct

Faculty Peer Support Network

The Faculty Peer Support Network is a group of NC State faculty willing and able to help other faculty with immediate needs related to developing continuity plans and moving instruction online. If you would like to find a fellow faculty member who can support you, please see a list of these faculty, their areas of support and their contact information on this Google Sheet.

If you would like to add your name to list of faculty who are willing to be contacted, please complete a few questions on this Google Form.

For more information and suggestions, contact the Office of Faculty Development or DELTA’s faculty help desk at learntech@ncsu.edu or (919) 513-7094.

Some “Keep Teaching” content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License by the Trustees of Indiana University.