Tools and Platforms

What kinds of tools and platforms are available to you and your students, and how can you adapt them to achieve your objectives in-person and/or online?


The Canvas course site created for each course offering at Harvard is an important tool for teaching—whether in classrooms or online. Many instructors already use these sites to share the syllabus for their courses, and possibly as a place to collect assignments or circulate readings. In a situation in which you need to make changes to your course's instructional practices, Canvas can be an extremely useful means through which to communicate changes, coordinate lecture or sections, promote discussions, collect student work, provide feedback, share materials, etc.

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Zoom, which allows you to create a videoconference with up to 300 participants at a time, is one of the most effective tools which you can use to communicate—whether synchronously or, through its "record meeting" feature, asynchronously—with your students, teaching staff, and colleagues more generally. While teaching by Zoom involves certain limitations (not least of which is the fact that it requires your students to have fairly robust internet access), it also unlocks a number of interesting possibilities (e.g. the ability to use breakout rooms, or to do boardwork and annotate slides in real time).

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Slack is an online messaging platform that allows you to create private workspaces where you can conveniently organize conversations, share files, and search conversations for answers. Designed to replace the need for email, it’s a tool that is very popular in industry and at companies with a distributed workforce. Students who have been introduced to Slack during their summer internships or for courses at Harvard are increasingly using it to organize their clubs and extracurriculars.

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Language Tools

Beyond the many tools that can be integrated into your course's Canvas site, what other applications could help you provide your students feedback on their language learning? What websites, apps, resources, or online games are popular in your language, or will help students with the types of skills you want them to develop?

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