Teaching with Technology

Information Technology


Faculty at Reed use technology to foster student collaboration both in the classroom and outside of class time. Technology for collaboration is most effective if it is used consistently throughout the term, as it takes time to create a collaborative atmosphere. Faculty can help create such an atmosphere by engaging with student work either in class or outside of it and setting expectations about how collaborative work will be incorporated into the course.

During class

In class settings, students have reported that they enjoy being able to participate in writing as well as by speaking. Faculty often use technology for collaboration during group work, which tends to be more successful if students have a collaborative product to present or turn in after working together. Posting links to shared documents, slides, or jamboards on Moodle makes it easy for your students to find their files during class and refer back to them later.

Google Docs

All Reed faculty and students have access to a variety of Google products, which allow real-time collaboration. Reed faculty use Google Docs in a variety of ways.

  • At the beginning of class, share a link to a Google Doc with a question to use as a sign-in sheet. Be sure students either use the “suggesting” mode or sign their name to their response.
  • Have groups record their work collaboratively using Google Docs. If you are working synchronously, create a single document with a page assigned to each group using page breaks (Insert>Break>Page break).
  • Create a template for students to complete either individually or in groups. Share a copy link with students so that they can copy the template, fill it in, and then share it back with you, group members, or the entire class.

Google Docs documentation | Google Docs questions? Contact ITS.

Google Slides

Faculty can create a slide deck with a slide for each group. Groups answer questions, take notes, or add media to slides, which can then be projected for the entire class.

Google Slides documentation | Google Slides questions? Contact ITS.

Google Jamboard

Use the Google Jamboard app to create collaborative whiteboards. Like Google Slides, you can create a new frame for each group.

Google Jamboard documentation | Google Jamboard questions? Contact ITS.

Outside of class time

Collaborative work done outside of class can both prepare students to participate more effectively and confidently in class as well as allow students to reflect on and process material covered during a previous class session. When requiring collaborative work outside of class time, it is important to provide a centralized location for students to access course materials. We suggest using Moodle to facilitate asynchronous discussion and post and organize resources and links to collaborative work.

Moodle forums

You can use forums within a Moodle page to host asynchronous, threaded discussions. Students can pose questions, reply to each other, and share files. Online forums have been essential to online teaching since it began. However, forums require community building and can easily become ineffective.

  • Set clear and attainable expectations. For instance, if you would like each student to both post and reply, have an earlier due date for the post so that students can choose which of their peers’ posts to reply to.
  • Forums function best as a medium for low-stakes student work. Laying out too many parameters for the forum can quickly stifle discussion. Keep the tone informal in your own interactions on the forum.
  • Avoid making forums seem like busy work by integrating comments and questions from the forum into classroom discussion. Keep up with student posts; subscribe to each forum to get email alerts when a new post is made.
  • Consider using forums as an easy way for students to share links to articles, images, and other media. You can ask your students to use the Atto text editor so they can easily create short audio and video recordings within forum posts.

Moodle Forum documentation | Moodle questions? Contact ITS.


Hypothesis is a tool that allows students and faculty to collaboratively annotate documents. Hypothesis can be an effective alternative to a forum focused on texts, and it facilitates discussion of specific passages and close reading. You may also want to pre-annotate class readings to provide students with context or pose questions on specific passages to guide reading.

More information about Hypothesis | Moodle questions? Contact ITS.