Build your digital course Illustration

Build your digital course

Digital courses are composed of the pedagogical practices plus the technological tools used to carry them out in the online format. The digital tools are chosen based both on the intended learning outcomes and experiences, as well as the availability of these tools. Below is a menu of digital tools to choose from, and a set of recommendations, or Golden rules, to consider.

Digital toolsGolden rulesPre-loved Practices for Online LearningHandbook

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Digital tools


Tools Categories
Piazza Thumbnail


A wiki-style Q&A platform with anonymous posting where instructors endorse answers.

Activities with Piazza: Course discussion activity, Student-led questionnaire 

Zulip Thumbnail


Enables discussion forums through real-time chat with an email threading model and enables integration with other online tools.

Course discussion activity

Padlet Thumbnail


Padlet is an online platform that allows the user to add posts for online collaboration.

Activity with padlet (Online group discussion)

Panopto Thumbnail


Is a tool that allows you to create and share videos, and create a video library for watching and broadcasting.

Activity with Panopto (Multi-step exercises on video, Short video recording)



Mentimeter Thumbnail


Build interactive presentations with questions, polls, quizzes, slides, images, gifs, etc. for an engaging presentation. Students can answer the questions and see their responses in real-time.

Focus SOS activity

Loom Thumbnail


A tool to record quick videos of your screen.

Activities: Video analysis, Short video recording, Multi-step exercises on video

Wikis Thumbnail


Wiki services can be regarded as a type of Document Collaboration Tool. They allow people to co-create and organize knowledge as well as for documenting projects.

MURAL Thumbnail

MURAL is a tool for online collaborative design. It features a large number of design templates, a simple user interface, tools for voting and integration of multimedia.

Overleaf Thumbnail


Overleaf is an online LaTex editor for collaborative writing. It is often used for the creation of complex documents.

Doodle Thumbnail


Coordinate meeting times amongst several participants by marking availability in an online calendar.

Presemo Thumbnail


Presemo is a classroom participation system that allows for the creation of online rooms and activities, where each room has its own web address.

Learning Management System Thumbnail

Learning Management System

LMS are systems for collecting all e-educational material (e.g. videos, interactive presentations, quizzes, tasks) and converting it into an organized course.

Google Workspace Thumbnail

Google Workspace

Formerly G Suite, is a set of collaboration tools that include Gmail, Google Calendar, Meet (Video and voice conferencing), Chat, Drive (Cloud storage), collaborative documents, spreadsheets, presentation slides, forms, etc.

Shared cloud folder example

Kahoot Thumbnail


Is an online tool for creating teaching games for class interaction, learning assessment, and math labs.

Activity: Flipped Classroom

Flinga Thumbnail


Flinga is a Finnish cloud service for co-creation that offers tools for brainstorming, commenting, mind maps and collages.

Activities with Flinga: Online Group Discussion, Local customs and manners

Miro Thumbnail


Miro is an online collaborative design tool. It uses an empty canvas or the option of different templates so participants can engage in co-creation or co-design activities.

Slack Thumbnail


Slack is a chat-based collaboration hub with features for handling attachments. It allows for the creation of private and public channels for sending messages.

Teams Thumbnail


Is an online environment for organizing meetings, chatting, formulating tasks, and schedules. It is connected to a cloud service that allows you to post materials.

Activities with Teams: Multi-step exercises on videoShort video recording, Touch Blue

Zoom Thumbnail


Zoom is an online meeting, webinar, and teaching tool. It allows the creation of student subgroups during classes, has chat functions, and recording capabilities.

Breakout Pitches Activity, Practical group exercises

Golden rules

Remember your face and voice thumbnail

Remember your face and voice

Use conversational language, with a quick tempo and enthusiasm, and try to use real-life examples. Try to keep your face visible, and practice your presentation skills, if necessary.

Brame, 2016; Tavaila, 2022

Clear instructions everywhere thumbnail

Clear instructions everywhere

Provide clear instructions before the activity and keep the instructions and time frames visible during the activity, especially when using breakout rooms.

Tavaila, 2022.

“You remember 30% of what you see and 20% of what you hear” (Dale, 1969)

Use attractive visuals thumbnail

Use attractive visuals

Consider colors, gradients and page spacing in your presentations, use highlighted keywords and changes in contrast, use high-quality, relevant photos to keep content interesting, and avoid unnecessary elements or extra words.

Tavaila, 2022; Brect, 2012; Brame, 2016

Connect to previous material thumbnail

Connect to previous material

At the beginning of the lecture, make sure you give a clear agenda of the lecture, a summary of the current stand on the course’s timeline, how the lecture connects to previous and following lectures, and the time for the breaks.

Brame, 2016; Tavaila 2022

Use multiple screens thumbnail

Use multiple screens

When hosting an online session, it is highly recommended to use at least two screens. For hybrid sessions, two laptops, a projector, a speaker and a technical assistant can make the process more fluid.

Link to example

Stay connected thumbnail

Stay connected

Send out welcome messages before the course, have kick-off meetings, send weekly announcements about upcoming assignments, and emails about inactivity or missing assignments; have virtual office hours.

The Design Book for Online Learning (Huhtanen, 2019)

Give feedback and assess continuously thumbnail

Give feedback and assess continuously

Formative and constructive feedback, such as peer review or iterative tasks, effectively supports students in the learning process.

Hattie 2009 in The Design Book for Online Learning (Huhtanen, 2019)

Manage expectations thumbnail

Manage expectations

Pretests and motivation letters help students to orient themselves and prepare for the course. Make participation expectations clear from the beginning. Tell students whether they are expected to participate or not. Try to remain constant in your lectures’s policies

Hattie & Yates 2014; Huhtanen, 2019; Tavaila 2022

Provide a channel for social interaction thumbnail

Provide a channel for social interaction

Establish a social interaction channel to motivate your students to attend the course for its entire duration.

The Design Book for Online Learning (Huhtanen, 2019)

Activate, activate, activate thumbnail

Activate, activate, activate

Use activities such as questions, quizzes, gamification or discussions to compensate for the weaker relationship in an online environment. Make sure that your students learn actively by designing your lessons around work tasks or problems.

Salmon 2002 in The Design Book for Online Learning (Huhtanen, 2019); Clark and Mayer, 2016

“You remember around 90% of what you do (Dale 90%)


Keep content organized thumbnail

Keep content organized

Keep lectures logical and planned, short, and ending at the right time. Organize the group content and exercises into thematic modules to prevent an online course from being confusing.

Huhtanen, 2019; Brame 2016; Tavaila 2022


Be concise thumbnail

Be concise

Identify core content of the lecture and weed out superfluous information because students’ natural attention span for online courses is about 5-6 minutes.

Hattie & Yates 2014 in The Design Book for Online Learning (Huhtanen, 2019)