Online Teaching and Learning Platforms and Tools

Teaching staff should prepare for online teaching and learning. Undertaking online teaching and learning activities requires preparation. The steps below guide teaching staff to adopt FREE and accessible online tools to enable content delivery, engagement and assessment. Below is a basic guide for preparing a shift from face-to-face teaching to online teaching (we have drawn reference to the resource page developed by Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching of the University of Cape Town).


Engage students in learning activities


Administer assessment

meeting (1).png

Organise and communicate


Understand the shift from face-to-face to online teaching and learning


Create a plan for

online teaching and learning


Present Content

Understand the shift from face-to-face to online teaching and learning

There are four kinds of activities you will need to undertake for the shift from face-to-face to online teaching and learning. The table below outlines the changes you will need to consider to engage in online teaching and learning.
Due to unstable access to Wi-Fi and electricity in many developing countries, asynchronous online teaching and learning may enable better access to the online lessons.


Create a plan for online teaching and learning

  • Review your course curriculum and schedule: 

    • Identify what can be delivered online and what cannot. Decide what activities may need to be dropped.

    • List all teaching and learning activities that can be implemented online.

    • Identify resources that you have access to, or can create to teach online. 


This video provides a comprehensive and step-by-step template for distance learning and a real sample of the lesson template that encompasses the online learning objectives, instructions, resources and supports to the parents.


Present Content

  • Source for or develop text, audio and/or video content.

  • Decide what format you would like to present to cater for students’ different learning styles. Then, choose a suitable tool for developing such content by referring to the table below.

  • Upload content to the Learning Management System/cloud-based storage space.

Learning Management System/Online classroom platform

Choose a platform as a virtual classroom space for sharing resources and communication with students.

  • Google classroom

  • Edmodo

  • Piazza

  • Lark

  • Facebook Group

Cloud-based storage space

Choose a platform or an online cloud-based storage space, and share your files from any devices with your colleagues and students.


Protect data privacy and data security when uploading and sharing data or educational resources.

  • PDF (e.g. Scanned Notes, journal articles, book chapters etc)

  • Microsoft Office suite/365 (e.g. Word, Excel, PPT, Onenote)

  • Google Suite (e.g. Google Docs, Spreadsheets or Slides)


Keep audio short. 

“Cut up” a single lecture into 10-15 minute sessions.


Keep videos short. 

“Cut up” a single lecture into 10-15 minute pieces.

Consider data -  reduce file size where possible.

Consider accessibility, have notes available.

Interactive lesson

Use existing learning resources (e.g. from YouTube, Podcast, etc), instead of creating them from scratch.

  • EdPuzzle: Choose a video, give it your magic touch and track your students' comprehension

  • Nearpod: Create lessons with informative and interactive assessment activities

This video shares some tips on how to make different types of content more accessible for students, especially students that are low vision or blind.

Keep your presentation choices as low tech as possible or always provide low tech options for students with access constraints.


According to Daniel Stanford from the DePaul University's Center for Teaching and Learning, the diagram (on the left) provided a useful mapping of student engagement activities. It shows multiple modes of interactions with respect to different levels of bandwidth  and immediacy.

Yellow Zone (High bandwidth, Low immediacy)

Screencasting allows you to record what’s on your computer screen—from PowerPoint slides to math equations to works of art—and add audio narration as you record.

Red Zone (High bandwidth, High immediacy)

Videoconferencing allows students to see and hear each other in real time. It can also be useful for online office hours, since it’s easier to feel connected and avoid misunderstandings.

Green Zone (Low bandwidth, Low immediacy)

Sharing readings with students in a consistent and organized way provides your online course with a very practical, solid foundation.

Blue Zone (Low bandwidth, High immediacy)

These tools allow students and yourself to edit and comment on the same document, spreadsheet, or presentation slides.

Engage students in learning activities

  • In a face-to-face context, we encourage student engagement through in-class questions, tutorials, classroom polls, and many other activities. Ensuring student engagement in online teaching and learning requires the teaching staff to re-think existing practices and transform their practices to engage students in the learning activities.


Classroom questions

Keep questions short and clear. 

Avoid negatives.


Some practical sessions may need to be rescheduled. There are also online resources, e.g. Merlot, SIMS

  • Consider virtual simulations and demonstrations, and give data to students for further analysis.


Backchannel & Padlet: Using anonymous chat spaces requires preparation.

Group work

An online collaborative tool could allow students to write, edit, and comment group tasks wherever they are.

These videos introduce different online tools to engage students in learning activities.

Video-conferencing: Zoom; Discussion: Padlet, Parlay; Video-based assessment: EdPuzzle

Administer assessment

  • Assessment allows teaching staff and their students to monitor and manage learning. Consider the type of assessment you want to administer before choosing the appropriate tool(s).

  • Summative assessments: Consider alternative strategies to high-stake online assessments, such as take-home and open-book assignments and portfolio development and submission.


These videos cover how to provide constructive feedback with Google Form and Google Classroom.

MCQs & short answer questions

Using Google forms and Google Classroom can minimise your marking burden and admin load.
MCQs can be used to provide quick feedback, but require time to write. Carefully constructed MCQs encourage application of concepts to scenarios.

Demonstration and verbal presentations

Students can submit as an attachment to Google Form.
Students can upload verbal presentations to YouTube (set as unlisted), and submit the YouTube video URL.

Long answers

Students can submit essays, reports and projects.


Students can take a photograph, and submit as attachment to Google Form.

Drawings & graphics

Students can convert to pdf and submit as an attachment to Google Form.


Students can document and reflect on their learning experiences.

Organise and communicate

  • Create an online classroom to structure the teaching and learning resources and student learning activities.


This video shares some tips on how to make different types of content more accessible for students, especially students that are low vision or blind.

Online classroom tools

Communication guidelines

  • Communicate early and regularly

  • Consider a weekly or semi-weekly update email to keep students on track. Even if you are still planning, communicate that updates will follow.

  • Establish how students can contact you, and when to expect a response.

  • Set up a FAQ and refer to it

Communication tools