Five Free Tools to Perk Up Your Online Courses

There are many, many tools available to help enliven a course that’s grown a bit stale.   Here are five tools that will help refresh and renew your course to keep it relevant and interesting.

Read the descriptions for each tool and click on the accompanying images to see an example.


Creates a very quick and easy video compilation of photos, video clips, and text set to music

A great tool for student introductions.


  • Quick and easy to use
  • Allows students to introduce themselves visually
  • Promotes real relationships by letting students see their classmates


Creates a very quick webcam or screen capture video.

A great tool for student or instructor introductions, assignment instructions or feedback, providing a demonstration, short lectures.



  • Quick and easy to use
  • A quick alternative to written instructions or feedback
  • Multiple uses


“transforms static content such as PowerPoint® documents into voice-enriched video presentations that can be accessed anytime, on-demand…and tracked so you can measure the effectiveness of your communications.”

  • Fairly easy to use
  • Multiple methods of adding audio: upload file, record by telephone or computer mic
  • Provides a visual and aural lecture opportunity
  • Allows mobile viewing


Creates visually engaging presentations

Visual alternative to text based lectures  

  • Recent update provides templates making it easier to use
  • Beneficial for visual learners
  • Can incorporate a lot of images and video clips
  • Interactive


” a totally web-based application that allows you to place collections of media like images, videos, documents, and presentations at the center of an asynchronous conversation.”


  • Free account available
  • Allows asynchronous interaction
  • Can create interaction in a number of different ways
  • Great alternative to text only discussions
  • Mobile friendly
  • Lots of tutorials to help you learn the product


         Why Use Web 2.0 Tools?

  • They support collaboration across time and space.
  • They are easily accessible and easy to use
  • Many people already have a comfort level using them
  • They are low-cost (sometimes even free)
  • They do not require much IT support
  • They have very little “downtime.”
  • They are inexpensive and easy to use, there is little risk in trying them.

– Jessie Wilkins

Want to see more online learning tools?

The vast number of tools available can be overwhelming, so don’t try to use them all at once.  Just choose a new tool that you think might be useful and try it out.  If it works, keep using it, if not try something new.

Jennifer Brown
Instructional Assessment Coordinator


2 thoughts on “Five Free Tools to Perk Up Your Online Courses

  1. Pingback: Taking the Zzz’s out of Online Learning | The E-Learning Pioneer

  2. Pingback: Engaging your students through interactivity | The E-Learning Pioneer

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