These resources and guides should help you select and learn more about technologies that can support remote teaching and learning on short notice. Contact the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning if you would like assistance rethinking or modifying your course.



Blackboard provides a centralized tool for you to communicate with students, post and distribute learning materials, and collect and assess student work.

Sources of Content

If possible, we recommend finding existing content sources instead of creating your own, because it can take you less time. In addition to the resources below, check with your textbook publisher or professional association to see if they have anything available.

  • Open Education Resources - OER are freely available or openly licensed learning objects such as media, textbooks, articles, and digital tools that can be used in your courses. The NIU University Libraries has created a helpful LibGuide with links to many OER repositories.

Video Authoring

If you cannot find existing content or resources, there are ways that you can quickly create your own media. 

  • VoiceThread - VoiceThread is an online platform that allows you to put digital media such as images, videos, and documents at the center of an asynchronous conversation. VoiceThread allows people to contribute to discussions using a keyboard, microphone, web cam, telephone, or uploaded audio file. All NIU faculty and students have access to use VoiceThread.
  • Screencasting - Record anything on your screen with audio and webcam video to create informative and engaging software or other screen-based demonstrations that are saved as a video file. Kaltura has screencasting capabilities within Kaltura Capture.  

    Both of the following tools also have free options.
  • Kaltura - Kaltura makes it easier to incorporate media like audio and video into Blackboard. You can record media directly using Kaltura Capture or upload your own video files. Kaltura encodes and converts media so that it is optimized for streaming and able to play on most devices.

Web Conferencing

Hold entire class sessions or office hours with web conferencing tools. 

  • Blackboard Collaborate - Participants can share audio, video, and text chat; Presenters can share presentations, content on their computer screens 
  • Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Teams is a unified communications tool that allows for persistent 1:1 or group chat, video/audio calls and conferencing, and has integration with the full suite of O365 applications we’ve come to rely upon at NIU. 
  • Zoom - Available as an alternative synchronous collaboration tool for courses and instructional activities.

Discussion / Collaboration

Interactivity and community are important to ensure that students still feel supported by you and connected to one another.

  • Blackboard Discussion Board - Have students share thoughts and ideas about class materials asynchronously (not at the same time).  You can create multiple discussion forums for students to discuss and respond to course content and activities, share resources, and collaborate around projects and assignments.
  • FlipGrid - Instead of text-based discussions, foster interaction between you and your students by allowing students to record themselves in a video format. Students can then share the recording either with you alone or with the entire class. This tool can be a catalyst for multi-media dialogue in your online course.
  • Office 365 - All students, faculty and staff have access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office tools available in a web browser and desktop application. Faculty and students can collaborate on documents and presentations, share content and provide feedback online.
  • OneDrive - OneDrive gives you 1TB of individual storage space in a secure environment that is FERPA- and HIPAA-compliant. Faculty and students can share any file stored in OneDrive for easy collaboration. 

Tips and Advice

The following articles provide additional tips, advice, and encouragement.

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