Provide Technical Support Info for Online Tools

Quality Review Showcase

The Quality and High Quality online course reviews explore components proven to be best practices in online course design. This post showcases Quality item, “Technical support information (e.g. tutorials, instructions) for using technology tools are provided”.

What tools do students use in your online course to practice and demonstrate the learning objectives in your course? The most obvious answer is the Webcourses@UCF system, along with frequently used programs like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Collaborative cloud-based systems such as Google Drive and Microsoft Teams are also commonly used. Social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok are occasionally leveraged as well. Finally, more complex tools like SPSS for statistical analysis, ArcGIS for mapping, and ALEKS for math problems, may be required.

It can be easy to assume that students know how to use the technology tools in your course because of their age or class standing, but this should not be assumed. If even a handful of students do not know how to skillfully use a tool, it will impede their ability to demonstrate their learning. Providing resources to lessen the technology learning curve can be the difference between success and failure.

What Are Some Ways Your Online Course Can Be Designed to Meet This Standard?

  • First, review your online course and take note of the technology tools that students are being asked to use.
  • In the syllabus, let them know what technology tools will be required to succeed in your course. If students need to free obtain or purchase a tool, include that in the Required Course Materials and Resources section. For each tool, include a link to a tutorial and/or to the appropriate support service on campus.
  • Use the Webcourses@UCF Templater tool to import the Course Expectations page that can be modified (this page has a Technical Resources area that links to online learning support resources like Knights Online and Webcourses@UCF Support).
  • During the first week of class, distribute a brief survey about their proficiency with the tools you will be using in class. For those with little proficiency, consider sending them more specific tutorials or additional guidance.
  • For each module or unit, provide an introduction that communicates to the student what technology tool they will be using, if a special tool is being used. Use the Webcourses@UCF Templater tool to import a Module Introduction page that can be adapted for each module in your course.
  • When the assignment calls for a certain technology, include a link to a helpful resource within the assignment description. Explain what they should do when they run into a problem. Should they contact you? Should they consult a tutorial?
  • In blended courses that contain both in-person and online components, consider giving a brief tutorial in the classroom and allowing time for questions from students.
  • For fully online courses, Zoom could be utilized. Share your screen and record your own brief tutorial to share with students, or schedule a live session with online students (recording the session is recommended so you can share with others).
  • Consider creating an open-ended discussion forum about the tools you will be using in the class, and encourage students to ask each other questions about using them.

What Does This Look Like in a Real Online Course?

Example 1: Sandra Wheeler, ANT3550C (Primatology)

For one assignment in her class, Dr. Wheeler asks students to create an infographic. Since most students have not created an infographic before, she provides additional information and examples to guide them.

What Is An Infographic?

You’re probably wondering, what the heck is an infographic? I bet you’ve seen them in class or maybe as you’re scrolling through the Internet. An infographic is an effective tool for summarizing complex ideas into a compact visual form.

An infographic makes minimal use of text and can be a powerful tool for displaying data, explaining concepts, simplifying presentations, mapping relationships, showing trends and providing essential insights. The use of compelling images on an infographic can make what is an abstract idea that much easier to understand (hence infographics popularity in marketing, instruction, and social media). Infographics simplify large data sets providing a high-level view and making them easier to digest at first glance.

Infographics can be fairly simple or incredibly complex, but they share something in common: they tell a story. The story you will tell by completing this assignment will be about primates.

How Do I Make One?

For this assignment, PowerPoint will be the easiest program to use as it is very compatible with images and text boxes are very easy to create. If you’re not familiar with the program, Google “PowerPoint Tutorial” and you will get thousands of hits. It’s super easy and you can drag and drop images and edit them on the screen. You are welcome to use another program that you are comfortable with, as long as you follow the same guidelines. Since this will be an assignment for this class, you will also be required to provide the citations and source information for the images and text you use.

When starting to think about your primate infographic, consider the steps in planning and creating it:

  • Do you have PowerPoint on your computer? If you don’t, you have access to it FOR FREE through UCF Apps
  • If you don’t want to use PowerPoint to create your infographic, you are free to use a different program.
  • Define a topic, what do you want to focus on?
  • Collect data for your infographic (images, actual data, text).
  • Visualize the data for your infographic.
  • Lay out your infographic, plan spaces for images and text.
  • Tell a story, make it look nice but provide information in a meaningful and contextual way.
  • Make sure to provide the url’s for the images and proper citations for your sources.

How Do I Find and Cite Appropriate Images?

Finding and using images is different from how you find and use text citations. Even if you grab something from Google Images, the chances are high that it is a copyrighted image and should not be used so it might be good to look through openly licensed images only. There are settings in Google Images and other popular sites that filter for openly licensed images. If you click on  you’ll see there are many ways to search openly licensed (non-copyrighted) images.

Show Me A Good Example Of An Infographic! I Still Don’t Know What That Is!

Sure! Below is a nice one on Jane Goodall. It has her image in the middle and text boxes surrounding her explaining achievements in her life concerning her work with chimpanzees. In your case, you will have a second ‘image’ with all your references and image sources. I’ve also provided you with examples of good infographics from previous classes.

Example 2. Kacie Tartt, SPN1121C (Elementary Spanish Language and Civilization II)

This course utilizes Realizeit, a personalized adaptive learning system. A module has been created to provide students an introduction to the tool, as well as technical requirements and recommendations for skillfully using the tool to succeed in the class.

Learning module screenshot

Example 3. Emily Johnson, ENC4265 (Writing for the Computer Industry)

Students are asked to create a digital portfolio during the course. Dr. Johnson gives students the choice in which technology they will use to create it (e.g., Wix, WordPress, or other). This is helpful if a student is more proficient in one tool than another. A Digital Resources page is provided in the week 1 welcome module in which she provides general information and tips about both tools and links to the resources for each.

For this course, you need to post all of your assignments to your own digital portfolio.

As mentioned in the syllabus, this serves several purposes: to help you create or add to your professional work, increase your digital presence, and provide me with one convenient location to review your work.

If you already have a website Wix or WordPress that you like, great! Add to that! If you don’t, you should, and, well, now you have to! No more excuses! 🙂

Here are some options and resources:


I recommend using the free version of Wix. It is user-friendly, and though no coding is required, it allows you to customize things using code (and you can find lots of help from others using Google). The main website even walks you through creating your basic site–just click the link above and click “Get Started”!

Tutorial for Wix:


For whatever reason, WordPress is the most popular website creator on the Internet today. It is rather likely that your company will be using it. (UCF even uses it for department websites!)

However, as it has gained popularity, it has continually stripped away the available features–to the point that on my own professional website, I can’t customize very much or modify the CSS–and I pay annually for the “premium” plan! (I resorted to the HTML-only editor, and still have spacing issues)

So, if you already have a WordPress or you have past experience with it, it’s fine to use, just be aware that you’ll have to work hard to achieve the look (and spacing) necessary for some assignments.

Tutorials for WordPress

Getting started:


Forums (search bar at the top):

Others: If you already have a portfolio online somewhere and would like to use it for this class, please just email me the link through the Webcourses Inbox or Discord message so that I can be sure it will accommodate all of the assignments for this course!

If you know of another free, user-friendly option that I should add to this list, please let me know with an email or Discord message!

Don’t neglect your digital presence! This article has some helpful tips for digital portfolios:

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