Online Course Tools

Use Harmonize’s educational technology to improve student engagement.

Getting students to engage online might feel impossible…

Harmonize makes it a cinch.

Increase student engagement

Harmonize shows students and instructors everything that’s happening, at a glance. As a result, it’s easy for students to discover content and for instructors to monitor student engagement. Reactions and tagging make collaborating in online discussions feel easy and natural for students.

Keep students on the ball by providing more structure

Milestones, or multiple due dates, help students remember deadlines and engage now instead of at the last minute. Use them to set clear expectations, remind students of approaching due dates, and pull them back into the conversation.

Chat and polls

Increase interactions between students and instructors

Encourage more vibrant and frequent interactions by giving every student a pathway to participation. Use annotations to provide richer feedback and facilitate peer-to-peer learning. Instructors can also spark new conversations using chat, polls, and Q&A boards.

These features are designed to maximize student engagement. And they do.

Grid view

Gauge student engagement at a glance. The Harmonize layout makes it easy to see which conversations have the most engagement and what students are saying.

flag icon Milestones

Lend structure to your course experience. Milestones help students see what’s expected of them, and when, so they make substantive, on-time contributions.

rich multimedia icon Rich multimedia

Why should students only be able to post text? Harmonize supports video, images, audio, and embedded URLs, so students can finally express themselves.

Q&A Boards icon Q&A

Let students answer each others’ questions. Leave Q&A boards up all term to avoid repeated questions and help students share information in one place.

polls icon PDF, Image & Video Annotations

Adding annotations to content promotes peer-to-peer learning, richer instructor feedback, and deeper engagement with course material.

reactions & tagging icon Tagging

Pull students into the conversation by tagging them directly. Students and instructors have the ability to tag anybody in the class.


Keep students on task and help them meet deadlines with notifications. Add a custom notification for the whole class or individual students.

chat bubble icon Chat

Using Harmonize Chat, instructors and students can communicate in real time. It’s easy for students to see which classmates are online and begin a new chat.


Use polls to gauge understanding, assess students, or review content. You can even use a poll to take attendance. Run a poll on its own or add it to any discussion.


Students can use emojis to respond to their classmates. Reactions lower the barrier to responding to peers and help more students contribute.

Examples Of Technologies That Improve Student Learning

If you’re in search of examples of technologies that improve student learning, this article shares some of the best and most effective tools to consider. While some institutions have made the transition to online platforms to support online teaching and learning, others have struggled. With more and more students participating in classes online, it’s imperative that instructors become familiar with some of the best technology tools used in the classroom in order to ensure a positive experience, both for themselves and their students.

Teaching online classes is undoubtedly different from teaching traditional, face-to-face courses, but learning how to navigate this new digital landscape is crucial for those working in education today. Whether you are an experienced educator or just going into your first year of teaching, you can improve the effectiveness of your digital classroom by following a few best practices in online teaching. By implementing online pedagogy best practices, creating an inclusive learning environment, and using the best online learning platform for technology, you can improve your teaching strategy and make a smoother transition to digital learning.

The most effective tools make it simple and easy for instructors to effectively manage online courses. Similarly, they make it easy to discover and engage with course content, classmates, and their instructor. Learning management systems are common — in fact, you’d be hard pressed to find an institution without one — but they are not a replacement for collaborative tools and can’t replicate the impact of technology on education.

While face-to-face learning has a place, increasingly, learning is being conducted through digital channels. This can be cost effective, convenient, and easier to manage for students, and also for educators it translates to being able to reach people from a distance. For distance learning, online learning platforms have become essential and in this article, we share some critical examples of technology in the classroom.

How Technology Has Changed the Way Students Learn

The popularity of online learning has skyrocketed in recent years, and as a result, how technology has changed the way students learn today is significant. While some institutions have made the transition to online platforms to support online teaching and learning, others have struggled to find the right tools for online education. With more and more students participating in classes online, it’s imperative that instructors become familiar with some of the best practices in online teaching as well as study tools for students in order to ensure a positive experience, both for themselves and their students.

Online education has changed the way students learn in the following ways:

  1. Flexibility: Among the many benefits, you’ll find virtual classrooms are great for people who are advancing their education while working. In a traditional classroom, lectures will be scheduled at a specific time of day and your schedule will be formed around the availability of classes. If you’re currently employed and courses aren’t available after your working hours, it can be difficult to juggle a course load in addition to your work duties. When attending a virtual campus, online education courses allow for far more autonomy in deciding your own schedule, and is one of many inclusive teaching strategies. That means you can study whenever it’s convenient for you. Live with some noisy roommates? Having more control over your schedule also means you can avoid distractions easier.
  2. Reduced Costs: Education can be expensive, but virtual learning can provide a number of ways for students to save. Not having to commute to campus can help you save on transportation costs. Every year, the average student spends more than a thousand dollars on textbooks and course materials. Virtual coursework and the technology used in education today often takes advantage of virtual resources, which translates into less money spent on textbooks. Tuition costs can also vary between online and on-campus programs.  Between all these sources of savings, cost-cutting can be an enormous benefit of online classes.
  3. Increased Course Variety: Another reason asynchronous blended learning is better for some is the increased variety of education options. Since students are not required to travel to campus for courses scheduled on specific days and times, students can enroll in the courses they are most interested in. Students in an online program can take the course they want and complete the coursework at a time that is most convenient for them. Through online courses, students can gain the knowledge they need to earn their degree or grow in their profession. Online courses allow you to earn essentially the same range of different degrees that can be earned from a traditional educational environment. That includes learning certificates and professional certifications to master’s degrees or doctoral degrees.
  4. Career Advancement Opportunities: Online education importance can’t be overstated. Just like courses taken in a traditional classroom setting, virtual learning can provide you with a number of career advancement opportunities. Because you’re the master of your own schedule, students of virtual learning are better prepared to continue working while pursuing academic credentials. And for students who aren’t employed, academic work can serve to explain any discontinuity or gaps in a resume. In either case, the advantages of virtual learning can be clearly seen on a resume.
  5. Increased Collaboration: Online students have better opportunities to collaborate with classmates through virtual group work and meetings. One of the benefits of online courses are the online discussion boards and communication tools that allow students to post their feedback on readings and other assignments and respond to their classmates. Students may also receive more one-on-one time with their professor with virtual learning, which is beneficial for both learning and networking.
  6. Enhanced Time Management Skills: While the benefits of online education courses include the flexibility to complete assignments at a time that is most convenient to the student, the student still needs to manage their time wisely to ensure they complete their assignments by the deadlines set by the instructor. Online courses teach students how to manage their time better since the student bears the responsibility of engaging with the course instead of simply showing up to class on an assigned day and time. As a result, students not only gain knowledge from the coursework, but they also sharpen their time management skills.
  7. Immediate Feedback: Integrating coursework with technology provides a number of advantages. Rather than waiting days or weeks after exams, you can often get immediate feedback. In online courses, students upload assignments digitally for review by their instructor. Instructors review student work online and submit feedback electronically. As a result, students receive feedback right away. In a traditional classroom setting, students may need to wait a week or two to receive feedback on their assignments. By receiving feedback sooner, students can learn faster and make adjustments for future assignments — actually leading to an increase in student engagement in online learning.
  8. Access to Course Materials: Where a traditional lecture leaves you at the mercy of your best note-taking skills, video presentations can be watched and revisited as necessary. If a student didn’t quite understand some of the content covered in a video lecture, they can go back and listen to it again. Students can use lecture videos as a supplemental tool to help with competing assignments.

Examples of Technology in Education

Finding the best examples of technology in education and the use of technology in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning is key to creating a successful online course for students. You should choose an education platform based on your preferred online teaching tools and techniques. For instance, if you want to incorporate videos in your classes, you should look for video learning platforms that can easily integrate video technology. If you want to provide opportunities for student collaboration, you should look for an app that allows students to connect, whether through video or chat — or both.

As examples of educational technology in the classroom, the most effective are those that can be customized to suit the needs of each user. Some platforms offer a greater range of tools and features than others, but it’s important to choose something that can evolve alongside your teaching needs. When choosing an online learning platform for students, consider putting together a list of educational platforms based on your needs and institution’s budget. It may not make sense to invest in an expensive platform if you’re primarily teaching in-person, or will only be working with a small group of online students. On the other hand, if you are going to be teaching entirely online, it might be best to choose an app with extensive functionality. It’s all about the proper use of technology for students.

Other online learning platforms for kids include tools that range from online whiteboards to digital quizzes. There are many ways you can utilize online tools to engage your students and promote learning, even if you aren’t teaching in a physical classroom. Many people erroneously believe that online learning is less effective than traditional learning, but this is not always the case. Instructors can create learning experiences just as effective, if not better than in-person learning, by leveraging the right apps and technology-based activities examples. By incorporating the best online learning platforms with certification and adhering to best practices in online teaching, you can create a positive, learning environment for your students.

Example of Technology Integration in a Lesson

Many institutions are trying to figure out how to measure student engagement, which means an example of technology integration in a lesson becomes important. An important element of online teaching tools is tracking student engagement — which is not possible when an institution relies on a variety of disconnected digital learning tools that aren’t fully integrated with the LMS.

For example, consider the heavy lift required for grading students when all of these instances or examples of teaching tools are disconnected or not integrated with the LMS. When instructors at Brown University started using a suite of LMS-integrated discussion & collaboration tools to evaluate student participation, it drastically reduced many of the time-consuming tasks often involved with assessing student work and allowed more time for instructors to provide constructive feedback.

Instructors often had to dig through 60-page discussion threads, as well as search through activities in other systems, like WordPress and Google docs. This meant additional hours and the manual task of entering grades in the LMS. With a consolidated, comprehensive set of tools, instructors can:

Instructors agree. At Fayetteville State University, 100% of instructors indicated feeling better equipped to evaluate participation when they used Harmonize’s discussion & collaboration tools, especially when they use autograding for participation. These online learning tools examples work together, integrated with the LMS and allow you to build more engaging online courses, you’ll end up having something so much more powerful: student engagement data and the know how to measure student engagement online.

With behind-the-scenes analytics built into your online discussion board or asynchronous discussion, social annotation tools, live polls for students, image annotation tool and video annotation, instructors and administrators can quickly understand how students are progressing toward goals, and what course activities are working. You can see who, how, and when students are participating in courses, which students need more attention, and which topics worked best. In addition to implementing best practice student engagement strategies, these kinds of student engagement insights can help instructors trigger customized outreach to specific students — promptly and proactively re-engaging them in discussion and working to get them back on track. It’s an easy and effective way to help instructors improve engagement and retention in their courses — but not possible when the data doesn’t exist or is scattered among several disparate online teaching tools.

Importance of Educational Technology

The importance of education technology and the effectiveness of online learning is still being researched. Still — and partly in thanks to the pandemic — the popularity of online courses and the use of technology in education has grown rapidly over the last two years. Educational technology and online learning can take a number of different forms. Often people think of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, where thousands of students watch a video online and fill out questionnaires or take exams based on those lectures.

While the sophistication and effectiveness of online courses and the importance of educational technology for students continue to increase, there are weaknesses inherent in the use of this medium that can pose potential threats to the success of any online program.

Equity and Accessibility to Technology

When it comes to the importance of educational technology for the teacher and student, we must consider equity and accessibility. Before any online program can hope to succeed, it must have students who are able to access the online learning environment. Lack of access, whether it be for economic or logistic reasons, will exclude otherwise eligible students from the course. This is a significant issue in rural and lower socioeconomic neighborhoods. Furthermore, from an administrative point of view, if students cannot afford the technology the institution employs, they are lost as customers. As far as internet accessibility is concerned, it is not universal, and in some areas of the United States and other countries, internet access poses a significant cost to the user. Some users pay a fixed monthly rate for their Internet connection, while others are charged for the time they spend online. If the participants’ time online is limited by the amount of Internet access they can afford, then instruction and participation in the online program will not be equitable for all students in the course.

Computer Literacy: Both students and facilitators must possess a minimum level of computer knowledge in order to function successfully in an online environment. For example, they must be able to use a variety of search engines and be comfortable navigating on the World Wide Web, as well as be familiar with Newsgroups, discussion boards, FTP procedures, and email.

Risk of Disengagement: Less oversight, structure, and a lack of physical location can lead to a growing sense of isolation and increased distraction for online students. To curb these threats to engagement, most online courses have a format much more similar to in-person courses. The teacher helps to run virtual discussion among the students, provides assignments, and follows up with individual students. Sometimes these courses are synchronous (instructors and students all meet at the same time) and sometimes they are asynchronous (non-concurrent). In both cases, the instructor provides opportunities for students to engage thoughtfully with subject matter, and students, in most cases, are required to interact with each other virtually through tech, underscoring the importance of educational technology in teaching and learning process.

How Technology Enhances Teaching and Learning

You might still be wondering how technology enhances teaching and learning. The bottom line is that having access to the most effective online teaching tools to power effective learning is paramount. The use of technology in teaching and learning ensures that the technology is inclusive of different learners’ styles, fosters social connection and community, and is designed to help instructors track student participation could spell the difference between student success or attrition.

To do all of this, some institutions rely on a variety of disconnected tools that aren’t fully integrated with the LMS — creating additional barriers for instructors and making it more difficult to create a cohesive learning experience that can increase student engagement in online learning.

A suite of digital tools for online teaching and learning, Harmonize offers a range of tools for improving student engagement, including rich multimedia discussion and Q&A boards, polling, chat, and more — all of which allow students to participate in the ways that work best for them. Using online tools for student engagement increases the quality and quantity of student-to-student, student-to-content, and student-to-instructor interactions.

Harmonize is a suite of digital discussion and collaboration tools that integrate seamlessly with your LMS to facilitate a more engaging online learning experience. It’s everything an instructor needs to increase student engagement online and promote inclusive learning, while saving time and eliminating manual tasks.

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