Introducing: The Commons
Find practical online/blended course planning strategies. More content will be added throughout the summer!
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Tech to Create Course Materials

You don’t need expensive software to produce engaging course content for use inside and outside your classroom. There are many approaches as well as tools available on the market. We encourage you to explore and to keep exploring if one of those options does not meet your needs. For a more detailed explanation, check out our FIC handout, “Strategies for Creating Effective Presentations.”

When creating any online content for your course, remember that it is vitally important to make it accessible to a wide range of users. Consult UT Libraries for information about their captioning and transcription services.

Screencasting and Screen Capturing


This tool allows you to record your narration with a microphone; the video is whatever is happening on your computer’s desktop. It includes simple editing tools [free] and more advanced tools [Pro]. [PC and Mac]


Camtasia 2020 makes it simple to record and create professional-looking videos. [PC and Mac]


This free tool allows you to capture both images, video, or record your own screencast. Check out our Quick FICS tutorial on how to get started with Snagit. [PC and Mac]

QuickTime Player

A tool that comes installed on Apple Macs and allows you to record your screen, audio, or web-camera. [Mac, Free]

Video Creation and Editing Tools


Check with your department or the campus computer store to see if you can obtain a copy of iMovie. Some older Macs even come with it preinstalled. If not, you should be able to procure a copy for a small fee. iMovie is a full-featured video editing software that is fairly intuitive to use. Import and trim your course content and add subtitles and special effects. [Mac, Free]

Windows Movie Maker

With features similar to iMovie, Windows Movie Maker is a quick and easy option for the PC user. Most Windows systems come with it preinstalled. You can also check with the campus computer store or your department to see if they can install it for you if you don't have it. [PC, free]

Adobe Premiere Pro

Part of the Adobe Creative suite (CS6), Adobe Premiere Pro is a full-featured video editor for intermediate-advanced tech users that also integrates with other Adobe products. There's a bit more of a learning curve with Adobe Premiere so while we recommend it, we suggest that if you're a first time user you give yourself enough time to become familiar with all of its extensive features. [Mac and PC, Paid Version]

Video Sharing


YouTube is the most widely used video hosting and sharing platform available today. You can upload your videos to YouTube and share them across any platform, from websites to Canvas and mobile devices, with students or colleagues. Check out our series of Quick FICS tutorials on how to setup an account, upload a video and embed a video. [Free]


Another option for video hosting and sharing platform, Vimeo has similar functionality to YouTube. [Free and Paid Versions]

Photo Editing


Photoshop is a robust photo-editing software with new workflow capabilities and very advanced tools. Photoshop's capabilities are almost endless - even experienced techies may find they only use a fraction of Photoshop's capabilities. CS6 is available at the Campus Computer Store, or you can go the Adobe Cloud Education membership route and download Photoshop for your Mac or PC. [Paid Version]


A robust graphic and graphic design suite that doesn’t require you download an app or have extensive prior knowledge of graphic design principles or graphic design software. Check out our Quick FICS tutorial on how to get started with LucidPress. [Free]


An online image editor, LunaPic is a combination of old and new: Atop a deceptively conservative looking blue canvas with a too-small icon toolbar, sits an editor with a solid slate of unique photo edits and effects. In spite of the limited interface, there’s a huge amount of interesting material, including entire menus of drawing tools, effects, adjustments and animations. [Free]

Lecture slides/Presentation Tools


PowerPoint is he most well-known and used presentation software in use today. You can create slides and organize them into a presentation for in-class or online uses. Learn more about how to add video to your PowerPoint through our Quick FICS tutorial. [Free for UT instructors, staff and students]


A web-based interactive presentation tool that allows you to create presentations similar to Powerpoint but without restricting you to linear visual paths. It has a free version with templates you can use to get started. To access more features and templates, you can pay a monthly fee depending on your upgrade needs. [Free and Paid Versions]


A Mac-based presentation tool with functionality similar to PowerPoint. Keynote has the advantage of more fluid design tools and an intuitive way of adding multimedia elements (i.e., video) to your presentations. [Mac, Free]


An iPad application (with a desktop version) that allows you to create hand-drawn lessons, presentations, and graphics and either share them as still images (PDFs, or audio/video screencasts) or mirror anything you’ve created to Apple TV via AirPlay. With built-in remote desktop control, you can access and annotate on top of files resident on your Windows PC or Mac and present them to your classroom or audience when a projector is connected. [Paid version]

Infographic Design Tools


An online infographic tool with a range of built-in templates to allow you or your students to create infographics that merge images, data and processes. [Free and Paid Versions]


A tool that provides a range of its own built-in templates to allow you or your students to create infographics that merge together images, data and processes. [Free and Paid Versions]

Curated Content Tools


An online tool for creating and sharing mindmaps. You can use the tool to help outline a complex topic, or students can detail an approach to researching a topic. Maps can be private, shared among a small group, or made public. [Free]


An online tool for creating and sharing mindmaps. You can use these tools to help outline a complex topic, or students can detail an approach to researching a topic. Maps can be private, shared among a small group, or made public. [Free]


An online application to create an online bulletin board that you or your students can use to display information for any topic. You can embed images, links, videos, and more. Settings allow you to make your wall completely open for public contributions, completely private, or moderated. [Free]


An online electronic portfolio tool that you and your students can use to build and manage collections of electronic evidence. [Free and Paid Versions]


ClioVis enables students to combine the best features of digital timelines and mind mapping tools to better understand the materials they study, organize their research, and present their findings.

Social Media Tools

Faculty Focus: Is Your Use of Social Media FERPA Compliant?

Be aware that students will need to be introduced to the “public” aspect of using social media: sharing ideas online or conducting class assignments that include the use of Facebook or Twitter means that you need to be aware of privacy issues as related to student work.


A widely used social networking platform that can be used to complement or augment many assignments. Consider a few uses of Facebook in the classroom. [Free]


A pervasive form of social networking for sharing short ideas and links to resources. Check out the following resource, “Guide to Using Twitter in Your Teaching Practice” to explore uses. This short video explores the use of Twitter in a History classroom at the University of North Texas. [Free]


An online social bookmarking tool that allows students to collect, group and collaborate on collections of webpages. Tools like Diigo can be used when asking students, in groups or individually, to research topics online. [Free]


A social network designed for finding and sharing images. The following teaching resource page from the College of Education at the University of Southern California outlines a few strategies for using Pinterest in the classroom. [Free]