There are many technology tools and resources available — and more coming each day — that can fit into your workflow or teaching style. While it might be fun to try them all out, it’s likely not realistic with the time constraints you face when designing a course or creating course activities. What does make sense is looking at the ways that technology tools and the activities that make use of them can be delivered.

In Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, authors Michael G. Moore and Greg Kearsley emphasize that the challenge educators have before them when faced with the plethora of tools and delivery modes is to select which channel or combination of delivery methods is most appropriate for their course or program. They point out that each vehicle has its pros and cons when it comes to delivering content, and break down a few. Included in the channels they look at are the following:

  • Audio/Video Recordings: If you want to create something with good production value and have someone edit your work, then you might be looking at some expense when it comes to creating video or audio recordings for use in your course or program; however, videos and podcasts or MP3 files can be valuable tools for students. They allow them to access important content on-demand and watch or listen as many times as they wish, and they can provide a more engaging experience for students.
  • Computer Conferencing: When you can’t sit and interact with someone face-to-face in the same room, this experience may be the next best thing. It’s a convenient way to interact on a similar level – just beware of potentially unreliable tools. Set up and test the software you want to use with the hardware you have.
  • Social Media: There are so many existing and emerging ways to share and exchange information via social channels. One of those options could provide an easy way to share a lot of information quickly, but be sure to keep in mind that it could also have the potential to overwhelm and that the format is only so structured. If your course or program is more formal, this may prove to be a more challenging choice for you.
  • Mobile Technology: The adoption rates of smartphones and other mobile devices also present opportunities for interaction and additional modes of content delivery. When you’re considering these as vehicles to deliver your course or program content, keep in mind limitations of format and size. You might also think about what makes sense to deliver for on-the-go consumption, like audio and video recordings. (pp.87-89)


Reference: Content adapted from Moore, Michael G. and Kearsley, Greg. 2012. Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, 3rd Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.


Add your suggestions for selecting media and technology delivery channels in the comments.