Use Technology Effectively

Use Technology Effectively

Use Technology Effectively


Bear in mind that more and more learners are both accessing content and completing activities using tablets and cell phones.  Some of them will be using voice-to-text for forum posts and essay answers.






If you want your students to do something with technology, you should know how to do it.  You, the instructor, should be the students’ first point of contact for help with Moodle.

Before you try something new or unfamiliar, visit the EdTech center for practice and pointers, and practice with it.  Link to SMC Knowledge Base articles for it, or other online resources (for example, the manufacturer’s website, knowledge base, or online user forums).

2 Course navigation facilitates ease of use.*

Moodle’s Course Settings page has a variety of formats, themes, and options to streamline course navigation.  Consider hiding topics that are not needed yet, and using the OneTopic or Collapsed Topics formats.


The course provides alternative means of access to course materials in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners

Some video libraries have searchable full-text transcripts of the videos, that highlight along with the video, including Academic Video Online and Films on Demand.  Your Subject Specialist and Student Disability Services can help with this.


The course design facilitates readability.* Chunk content appropriately.  There are three aspects to this: a) You want to chunk pages primarily by topic; b) you don’t want too many words on a page, only around 250-400; c) “Don’t worry about your word count; worry about making your words count.”

Moodle’s Lesson activity and Page resource are the best way to put text content on your site, and allow you control of what goes on the page.  PDF uploads are very common, but often don’t work well with screen readers or browsers.


Course multimedia facilitate ease of use.*

Be sure videos are properly captioned. Many YouTube videos still use the automatic captioning, which can be worse than useless.

If you use synchronous text chat sessions, use the text and netiquette to convey additional meaning.

Mention these techniques in the syllabus if you use them

  1. A student can indicate she needs more time by typing ...
  2. Consider having the instructor type in all caps, so it’s easy to see it’s the instructor.  (Note, however, that normally all caps is bad (very bad!) netiquette, so be sure students know.)


Instructions make clear how to get started in the Moodle site and where to find various course components.*

Consider briefly going over the Moodle site in the first F2F session, because every instructor uses Moodle differently.


Just as you would for F2F activities, be sure online course activities are tied to the course learning goals.*

In the online description of an activity, consider explicitly telling students which learning goal this activity supports.  For example, in a Forum activity, you could put the learning goal supported in the Description field.


Test your headset and camera.

Go to Zoom’s test page, to test audio and download the client. If you will be using video, go to Zoom’s video test instructions, or this webcam test page.


Require students to do a “test run” of audio/video technology you plan to use, such as recording into Moodle or videoconferencing.

If you will be using Poodll, set up a test Forum or Assignment using Poodll, and require students to record a short video, for example to meet Principle 2, Develop reciprocity and cooperation between students, item 2.  If you will be using Zoom, require each student to come to your zoom room several days before.


There can be awkward silence in the online room while people are arriving (Lounge Time)

Put a puzzle or poll or reflection exercise into the room for people to contemplate.


If you want to make a recording of a Zoom session, know that recordings of class activity are governed by College policy as initiated within SEBA (a copy of which can be had by contacting the SEBA Dean’s office) in 2014. The policy stipulates that all students must first agree, in text, to be included in the recording.

Also, if you record sessions, be aware that students may be reticent to fully express themselves, for fear the recording may come back to haunt them. 

The Zoom record button is in the lower right, and allows you to save to your desktop or to the Zoom cloud.


If possible, the first two weeks of class sessions should be held face-to-face in the scheduled classroom.  This will give you time to orient the students, be sure that they have adequate equipment, and a quiet space in which to do the online sessions.

You should also have a brief online practice session with all students during this time.


Hybrid expectations are that students will work from a private workspace that they have arranged.  This could be their residence hall room, their off-campus housing, or any place where they can expect privacy while also not disturbing the privacy of others.

This is student responsibility and must be made clear to students in the first two weeks of class (before any online session takes place).


Always have the Chat window visible as it is a way to overcome any audio or other technical problems.

Be sure students know about the chat window.


During good weather, some students love the idea of attending class out of doors.  However, WiFi might be spotty because SMC does not have outdoor coverage at this time beyond what “bleeds” from buildings. Additionally, some cell carriers have poor signal quality in areas on campus. ​​​​​​

Students should be told during training/orientation that they have a responsibility to be ready for class.

17 Here are some do's and dont's for online class sessions.