12 Digital Publishing Tools for Assignments

Decorative: A smart phone out of which is bursting a plethora of icons for music, film, study, searching, publishing, assessing, etc.

 

A. "Types of Tools: Digital Publishing" (web page) links to the following options that "allo[w] students to produce authentic works in a variety of ways while reinforcing and expanding their digital literacy."

  • The brief introductions in this post include answers to "What Is It?" and "What Can It Be Used for?"  for each tool.

1. For each tool listed, the links provide the following:

  • An overview
  • Instructions for getting started
  • Suggestions for applications to courses
  • Additional resources
  • An accessibility statement.

2. The tools presented:

B. The Tools: Brief Introductions (fuller descriptions at each link)

1. Adobe Spark (home site)

a. What Is It?

  • "[A] free creative app that can be used to create dynamic materials to tell a story through the use of impactful social graphics ..., web stories ..., and animated videos"
  • "Spark provides access to a variety of free professionally designed fonts, photos, music, and themes, and allows voice recording and photo upload within Spark Videos."
  • "Projects automatically sync between computers and mobile devices and can be embedded within [D2L/mycourselink] or shared with via email, social media, or web URL."

b. What Can It Be Used for?

  • Moving beyond "static presentations"
  • "[C]reat[ing] lectures, tell[ing] stories, provid[ing] instructions, present[ing] slideshows, and generally present[ing] audio and visual information in an illustrated video format"
  • "[C]reat[ing] quality graphics, magazine-style web stories, and animated videos"
  • "[C]halleng[ing] students to creatively express themselves through their work" 

2. Animation 

a. What Is It?

  • "[T]he use of a series of images or graphics to create the sense of movement ... [for] the conveyance of information to tell or story or teach a lesson ... result[ing] [in] ... an enhanced understanding of the subject matter"
  • "Such animations can be as simple as the addition of transitions within a PPT, to the creation of complex graphic 3-D representations."
  • "[T]he key idea is to enhance cognitive learning by associating key ideas with graphic movement."

b. What Can It Be Used for?

  • "[R]eplace[ing] recorded lectures with PPT"
  • "[A]dd[ing] segments within your recorded lecture"
  • As "external lesson tools to assign to students, asking them to explain a process, concept, or even a historical event"

3. Blogs

a. What Are They?

  • "[A] website where content is written in a journal entry style ... [often] function[ing] as online personal diaries and typically provid[ing] commentary on topics ranging from politics to games to daily activities"
  • May "includ[e] text, images, and links to blogs, websites, videos, and audio files"
  • Often "allow[s] the user to add additional widgets (an add-in feature) such as calendars, count-downs, photo galleries, RSS feeds, and many others to further personalize a blog"

b. What Can They Be Used for?

"Some ways in which a blog could be utilized in regular, large enrollment or online & hybrid courses include":

  • "[I]nstructor[s] post[ing] readings, links, multimedia, announcements, course calendars, and more on their personal blog page to keep students informed"
  • Students "regularly post[ing] about current course topics rather than submitting a paper-based written essay" 
  • "Post[ing] and then be[ing] required to comment on other student posts in order to create a dialogue or give per-review feedback" 
  • "Post[ing] and critiqu[ing] information ... [and/or] article[s] for content and sources" etc.
  • "[A] student portfolio for the class including papers, presentations, literature reviews, links to resources, and so on"

4. Camtasia Studio (D2L/mycourselnk link)

a. What Is It?

  • "[A] computer screen and audio recording application ... [that] allows you to record, edit, process, and upload your on-screen activity and audio to a streaming media server so that your recorded media can be shared and then viewed on nearly any device"
  • It "can also incorporate video clips and ... add call-outs, animations, captioning, and even ... incorporate a PowerPoint presentation into a project."

b. What Can It Be Used for?

  • "Record on-screen content and audio"
    • "Create tutorial videos to show students how to use a new course tool."
    • "Create a Web tour of a research or library website."
    • "Demonstrate the basics of using a software application (Word, Excel, etc.)."
    • "Record audio over an existing PowerPoint presentation."
  • "Record video."
    • "Record short lectures and require students to watch videos online prior to face-to-face or online meetings (e.g., discussions, web conferences, or chats)."
    • "Record guest speakers for use in future semesters."
    • "Create on-location or in-office informal videos on your own."
  • "Provide accommodations: Closed captioning may be added to Camtasia Studio projects."
  • "Engage your students."
    • "Create interactive content using quiz feature."
    • "Add animations or call-outs to call attention to important content."
    • "Add content that appears on mouse-over or mouse-click."

5. Digital Humanities

a. What Is It?

  • "[T]he intersection of computing with social, scientific and humanities studies that enables [people] ... to expand traditional disciplines ... through the use of digital tools, often through digital reproductions and tagging of original works"
  • May include the "use 3-D mapping and printing of artifacts, digitization of texts, reconstructed virtual realities, and other interdisciplinary experiments and research of primary source materials for use in the online classroom"
  • "Most of the projects are open-source and seek global collaboration for project development."

b. What Can It Be Used for?

  • "[E]ngag[ing] students through active learning as they interact and manipulate [digital artifacts] while providing instructors with a more authentic assessment of learning"
  • "[E]nhancing the online experience [for students] by [having them] desig[n] course content that utilizes resources for mapping scientific or demographic data on Google Earth, us[e] text visualization tools such as word clouds, travel through reconstructed virtual realities, or examine details of digitized artifacts"

6. ePortfolios (D2l/mycourselink link)

a. What Are They?

  • "[A]n electronic collection of evidence that shows the learners' journey over time using [a] digital platform"
  • "A portfolio can be used by an instructor for assessment purposes and can also be used for earning accreditation and certifications, job searches, and professional development."

b. What Can They Be Used for?

  • Students:
    • "Display[ing] their best work"
    • "Gather[ing] an overview of their educational experience"
    • "Shar[ing] their work with friends, future employers, parents, and other instructors"
    • "Foster[ing] a sense of coherence across multiple courses, illustrating how the coursework fits together as a whole"
  • Assessment: 
    • "[F]ormative and summative assessment for instructors to assess student growth over a period of time
    • "[S]ummative assessment for instructors and academic advisors to assess the overall quality of a student’s work"
    • "[R]aw material from which to demonstrate with real-world artifacts how the academic experiences maps onto professional competencies"

7. Online Journaling

a. What Is It?

  • Largely "reflective writing assignments [that] can be used in traditional, blended, or online courses to help create a sense of community, or to provide reflective writing practice"
  • Also a tool for "peer review, self-assessment, or collaborative editing"

b. What Can It Be Used for?

  • "[A]ssess[ing] students’ writing ability and ... provid[ing] practice and feedback"
  • "[P]roviding feedback ... [and] model[ing] appropriate communication between peers in an academic setting"
  • Student "activ[e] engag[ment] [by] reflect[ing] critically on content"
  • "[R]espond[ing] to online journal postings quickly and easily ... [with] the grading and feedback ... provided directly within [D2L/mycourselink]"
  • Conveying to students that "their instructor cares about their personal academic achievement"

8. Photo Sharing Websites

a. What Are They?

  • Sites that "allow users to upload, store, edit, organize, and share photos ..., connect individuals with others through comments, tags, keywords, or descriptions, ... [and] create photo blogs or slideshows of images ... [with] the option to title the photo, edit the photo, or add a caption"
  • Users "embed the image in a website, link to the image, email the image, or instant message the image."

b. What Can They Be Used for?

  • "[S]lide shows" that can be "downloaded, printed out and e-mailed"
  • "[S]tor[ing], search[ing], sort[ing], and shar[ing] photos ... activities, resources, and research"
  • "[E]mbed[ding] hotspot areas with pop-up messages and links into an image"
  • Using "[p]hoto tags ... for greater organization and [to] streamlines searches"
  • Providing "[c]omments ... [for] insightful and personal feedback"

9. Podcasts/Videocasts

a. What Are They?

  • "[A] music, talk, or video program that is recorded and then offered for download over the Internet"
  • "[S]ubscrib[ing] via RSS ... allows [listeners'] computer or portable device to automatically download the program each time a new one becomes available."
  • "Small file size (if using audio) is ideal for students who may be in a remote location that has limited connection speed."

b. What Can They Be Used for?

  • "[S]upplement[ing] face-to-face, hybrid, or online courses and are appropriate for any size class"
  • "[S]upplement[ing] or replac[ing] traditional slide presentations or notes"
  • Requiring "[s]tudents ... to subscribe to an existing podcast or videocast as part of their listening/viewing requirements for the course"

10. Twitter (home site)

a. What Is It?

  • "[A] free social software and microblogging service that allows users to post, or 'tweet,' [280] characters of text (plus a photo, and searchable tags, if desired) in the style of a blog or RSS feed from their computer or mobile device"
  • "Users may follow, favorite, share, or reply to tweets of friends or public figures, and may also communicate via direct messaging (a private tweet between two users)."

b. What Can It Be Used for?

  • "[A] discussion forum during live events, allowing students to comment or ask questions"
  • "[I]nstant feedback to student questions from your mobile device without logging in to [D2L/mycourselink]"
  • "Requir[ing] students to follow certain public figures or new outlets as part of their coursework"
  • "Shar[ing] links to articles and websites with followers on the fly"
  • "Tweet[ing] topics for students to think about before next class discussion or assignment"
  • "[L]earning teams and small groups for discussions and project based activities"
  • Mak[ing] it "unnecessary to answer questions multiple times"

11. Wikis

a. What Are They?

  • "[A] type of website that permits users to edit available content. ... making it easy to correct mistakes and, through collaboration, difficult to make mistakes."
  • "The theory is that a large audience will overall provide more accurate information than a single expert or source." 

b. What Can They Be Used for?

"Some ways in which a wiki could be utilized in regular, large enrollment, or online & hybrid courses include":

  • "[A] repository of information such as definitions, descriptions of theories, encyclopedia entries, research data and more" - "including links, images, music, and videos" as well as documents
  • "[A] platform for group projects thus allowing for revision history, tracking who is contributing to a project, and the provision of a collaborative interface" - also collaboration, peer-edting, peer-evaluation of documents, social annotation and collective close reading
  • "[A] repository of information across courses or semesters."
  • "[A] training manual with instructions such as how to perform tasks. Allow students to edit the manual to improve it for future students"
  • A substitute for "presentation software such as PowerPoint"

12. YouTube (home site)

a. What Is It?

  • "[A] video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video content such as videoblogs, home videos, original videos, TV clips, music videos, and move clips."
  • "Users can also comment on videos and can subscribe to the RSS feed of a particular user."

b. What Can It Be Used for?

  • "[C]ollections of relevant content"
  • "[A] public host for media"
  • "[E]valuat[ion] [of] student work in alternative mediums"
  • "Add[ition] [of] creativity, imagination, and insight into an assignment"
  • "Reach[ing] a variety of learning styles"
  • "[P]ost[ing] media"
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