Make your course more engaging – and easier to manage – with eLearning technology

October 24, 2017 | Claudia Stanny

Make your course more engaging – and easier to manage – with eLearning technology

The University of West Florida eLearning system includes several tools and features that can help you organize your course content and communicate with your students. Using eLearning can simplify your work and improve communication between you and your students.

eLearning tools that save you time and help you organize

  • Post the syllabus, handouts, and other course materials in eLearning. Spend less time at the office photocopier. Students can download and print copies of materials when they need them and make new copies if they misplace their original copy.
  • Use Drop Boxes in eLearning to collect student papers. No hunting through your email queue for a student email and attachment. The Drop Box never loses a paper.
  • Request an originality report from turnitin directly from the Drop Box. You can upload student papers into turnitin directly from a Drop Box instead of accessing your account in turnitin and uploading papers from your computer.
  • Give students rapid feedback on written work and exam grades while complying with FERPA requirements. Because eLearning is password-protected, it creates a secure method for you to post grades and give feedback on papers. You don’t have to spend time creating secret codes for posted grades or worrying about where you make papers available for students to collect. Students log into eLearning and access their grades and paper feedback from any location. But students can access their own grades; they can’t rifle through other student papers in a stack. In addition, your gradebook is stored in a secure place and you can access it whenever you need to consult these records. The Drop Box includes a tool for uploading and maintaining feedback on papers.

Use eLearning to communicate with and engage your students

  • Welcome your students to the course. You can post a welcoming overview of the course in the News section of eLearning. You can send a welcoming message to students before the first day of class through email (use the class list and eLearning email function).
  • Send students important messages and updates about the course. Post messages to students in eLearning using the News feature. All students get updates on deadlines and information about assignments when they log into the course. You can send a message to one student or to the entire class using the Classlist mail tool.
  • Use a Discussion board to answer student questions that affect the entire class. Rather than answer six student emails requesting clarification about similar aspects of an assignment, post one answer to the Discussion board. As with questions posed and answered in class, the answer to a question posed by one student may benefit the entire class if they hear (or read) your response. Some instructors create a “Virtual Office” discussion thread in eLearning for these types of questions and responses.
  • Use the eLearning Calendar to send students reminders of upcoming assignment and exam deadlines. Scheduled events will appear in the announcements area of eLearning. They won’t get lost, erased, or deleted, as can happen with email.

Use eLearning to organize your materials and document how you teach a course 

  • We often keep paper copies of syllabi, old exams, rubrics, and handouts that describe assignments. Managing paper files takes time. You might pull a document from the file and forget to put it back. You might forget to put a date on some documents. eLearning keeps all of your uploaded handouts and materials in the course shell.
  • Older versions of your course are stored in the eLearning system, creating a natural archive and organization for course materials. This record will help you document how you teach your course now and how your course has evolved and improved over time.

This tip is based in part on a teaching strategy submitted by Olena Zhadko, Ph.D., and Francine Glazer, Ph.D., Center for Teaching and Learning, New York Institute of Technology, to the Western Kentucky University Teaching Issues Writing Consortium and used under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 (, which permits non-commercial reuse, adaptation, and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed to the author.