Teaching and Learning Tools on the Open Web


Twitter is a great way to network with colleagues and professionals in your field as well as communicate with students. Consider using Twitter to connect students to leaders in their discipline and to continue conversation outside of the classroom. Students can also use Twitter as a “backchannel” to engage with each other during class. View the tutorial. Learn more

Google Hangouts and Hangouts on Air

Video chats can be used for a variety of instructional purposes, including to host and record classroom discussions, provide feedback on assignments, answer frequently asked questions to hold virtual office hours. Faculty can record mini lectures to provide content to be reviewed outside of class time, to fill in when they will be out of town for conferences, or to bring in special guests.  Learn more


Celly is a mobile social media tool that allows for communication between students and educators without needing to share phone numbers. Students can send or receive messages from their phones or through the web. Groups are separated by “cells” that allow for private or smaller conversations. Educations can also also send out polls to their students, which can be public or private. Faculty have used Celly to let students know about last minute class relocations or to send announcements or updates. Learn more

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a copyright licensing and content repository that can help you copyright your creative work, as well as find, use, and properly attribute copyrighted works. There are six types of Creative Commons licenses which range from not at all restrictive (people can freely use the work to create derivative and/or commercial work) to very restrictive (others can only download and use your work as is). Creative Commons is a good place to start your search for Open Educational Resources (OERs). The site can help you find open music, textbooks, images, videos and other works to support your course. Depending on the license, you may be able to modify these works so that they are a better fit for your courses. If you’ve created media, an article, a resource, video, photo or other creative work, consider using a Commons License so that others in the academic and teaching community can benefit from your knowledge. Learn more at the Creative Commons website

OER Resources

While the term “open” means different things to different people, in general, Open Educational Resources, or (OERs) offer learners access to a variety of quality educational materials at a much lower cost than traditional, expensive textbooks. The open nature of these texts also promotes collaboration, knowledge creation, and exposes students to a wider diversity of perspectives on a subject. OER can help faculty include content outside of textbooks in their classrooms, creating space for more interactive, multi-modal class lessons. You can find open resources on the Canvas Commons, and you can also get started finding resources at the Community College Consortium of OER, OpenStax College, OER Commons, Bookboon.com and Boundless.

Other Lists of Tools

The EdSurge List is a good way to stay abreast of what is new in the field. If you have a new problem to solve, it just might be that one of these new tools could go part of the way to solve it.

The ETM Tools List is updated periodically by ETM staff and contains primarily free options.

The ETM Teaching Resources List does not contain technology tools per se, but does contain a list of educational repositories and resources that you may find useful in your classroom.