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

February 7, 2017 | Dr. 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 store papers in your office. Students log into eLearning and access their grades and paper feedback from any location. But they can only access their own grades. In addition, your gradebook is stored in a secure place and you can access it whenever you need to consult theses 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 your students (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 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 and documents tend to drift out of the files and get misplaced. eLearning keeps all your uploaded handouts and materials in the course shell.
  • Older versions of your course are stored in the system, creating a natural organization for course materials term-by-term. This record will help you document how you teach your course and how your course has evolved and improved over time.

 This tip is based on “Make Courses More Engaging – and More Manageable – with Technology” submitted by Olena Zhadko, Ph.D., Manage, Course Development, and Francine Glazer, Ph.D., Assistant Provost and Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, New York Institute of Technology to the Western Kentucky University Teaching Issues Writing Consortium 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.

 “Make your course more engaging – and easier to manage – with eLearning technology,” modified and edited by Claudia J. Stanny is Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by Claudia J. Stanny.


tmd 2/7/2017