Tools for online education

14 Dec 2020

“Thanks to a solid online infrastructure and ample flexibility and adaptability on the part of both staff and students, UM switched to online education with unprecedented speed. This was later supplemented with several on-campus options.”

The introduction refers to Maastricht University’s website that offers a large variety of information on how to work and study in the year we all had to cope with the measurements taken in the light of COVID-19. The University Library is responsible for managing a large set of systems and applications that facilitate teaching and learning. Canvas is the core online platform that supports education.


Canvas at the core

Each course in the UM curriculum has a course site in Canvas to make content available and to facilitate communication and collaboration. Furthermore, Canvas offers functionality for testing, handing in papers, originality checks on papers, discussion boards etc. All together a firm basis for (online) education.


Virtual Classroom Tools

To support online lectures, tutorials, student group work and virtual office hours, several tools are available. With these online conferencing tools -all integrated in Canvas- you can interact with your students synchronously (real-time), through audio, video and chat, share screens and presentation slides, and collaborate on virtual whiteboards. To help you choose the most suitable tool, we made an overview of important features.


Video for education

We also get requests for registering lectures, creating knowledge clips and instruction videos. We have tools and support available for doing so. You can think of recording tools, but also applications for editing. Because tools, licenses and features sometimes change, we update information and manuals of the tools on a regular basis.


Hybrid and blended scenarios

Are you interested in experiences with online or hybrid educational practices, or want to explore guidelines to help you redesign (parts of) your course in the light of blended and hybrid scenarios? Than we like to refer you to the Online Education website.

To help you find your way in the jungle of tools, the University Library developed the Tool Wheel for teaching staff. It starts with activities you want your students to perform and distinguishes between tools that are licensed by UM and those that are not licensed but recommended, and offers in-depth information on each tool.

Left image: screenshot of the Tool wheel when hoovering over the ‘collaboration pie’
Right image: clicking the ‘collaboration pie’ shows tools and activities to have students collaborate

In a video (in Dutch) we explain this tool about tools.

Digital accessibility of your course

Did you know that ten percent of our students have a disability, which creates an obstacle to studying and following education? Last spring we shared how we adapted the Canvas course template with easy-to-apply recommendations regarding digital accessibility.

Interested in what you can do making online education better accessible?

How for example enhance your powerpoint-presentations or pdfs by choosing font types, colours and contrast. Or consider adding subtitles to your videos. And did you know that you can switch on live captioning in zoom-sessions?

The (Dutch) website of the ministry offers requirements to be aware of. Maastricht University appointed a taskforce that will work on a UM-wide standard on both physical and digital accessibility. In the Canvas theme webinar series we will also take the floor.

  • Author: Blended PBL Support Team


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.

[et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_3″]

Library update

Last updated: 11/02/21