Blended and Online Teaching
Examples of Synchronous and Asynchronous Tools
There are many communication tools that are available to enhance the learning of participants by improving social, cognitive and teaching presence. Each different LMS has its own tools, but here we will focus on some Moodle specific tools, as well as additional web based tools that are publicly available.
Chat: The chat tool that is available in Moodle is an excellent tool for increasing social presence in an online classroom by allowing participants to discuss in real time while keeping the focus on the content of the words.
BigBlueButton: This is an open source virtual classroom conferencing tool that allows for interaction between teachers and students, as well as students and students. Users are able to share their webcam and microphone so they can interact and see each other. As well, there is an interactive whiteboard that can be used to share documents with the ability to annotate.
Skype: A free web based Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) program that allows you to make free calls over the internet to talk to anyone in the world with an internet connection.
Forums: Discussion Forums are one of the most common forms of asynchronous communication in an online or blended classroom. This type of communication allows for a greater cognitive presence in that thoughts can be internalized after instruction and then shared with the group.
Email: Email is useful for direct one-to-one communication and can be particularly useful for a teacher to increase their presence with direct feedback.
Blogs and other forms of social media: Social media is one of the primary forms of asynchronous communication in use right now. These tools are useful for creating all types of presence in the online classroom.