Skip to main content

Teaching/Learning Center

Writing + Photo Sharing Tools


  1. "7 Things You Should Know About Blogs" (Educause)
  2. "7 Things You Should Know About WordPress" (Educause)


  1. Otis College's Tumblr
  2. "Researching in Public on Tumblr" (ProfHacker)


  1. "10 Surprising Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom"
  2. "8 Ways to Integrate Instagram into the Classroom"
  3. "The Beginner's Guide to Instagram"


PB Wiki is an easy to use free wiki web tool.

  1. "7 Things You Should Know About Wikis" (Educause)


Video + Blogging

Combines the concept of student feedback, but rather than writing, students respond with a unique video they create. Students can use the "Video Note" tool to record video responses directly into Discussions in the Nest. 

Screencasting Tools


  • Take a screenshot or capture a video of what you see on your computer screen.


  • Available in the TLC production studio. Quickly create eye-catching videos.


  • Easily record your screen or a specific app, with or without your camera.


  • Start a web conference, just don't invite any participants, use the screen-share option, and record the meeting.

Tips and Tricks

  • For best results for the narration, use a headset with a microphone. Although many computers have built-in microphones, the audio can sound scratchy and distant. If you do not have your own mic, you can borrow one from the Video Lab or stop by the TLC.
  • Since whatever is on your screen will be recorded, hide extraneous icons and browser menu bars.
  • Make text appear larger by: boosting the default font size of your browser; zooming in on a browser (usually in the View menu); or switching to a lower screen resolution.

Either way, practice, practice, practice. It may take a few (or several) takes to get the screencast done.

Graphic Design Tools


  • Free templates for posters, presentations, postcards, etc.


  • Copyright free images.  It is still always nice to give credit where credit is due.


  • Search millions of Creative Commons photos and add them to your blog posts easily.


Infographic Tools

Infographics describe a wide range of graphics used to display complex amounts of data and/or ideas.

  1. Powerpoint
  2. Microsoft Office SmartArt
  3. (Online)
  4. (Online)
  5. Draw io (Online)
  6. "7 Things You Should Know About Infographic Creation Tools" (Educause)

Polling + Quiz Tools

These tools allow you to interject interaction into presentations increasing engagement and participation.


  • Add live audience response activities to presentations.
  • Free + paid accounts.


  • A free game-based learning platform for live questions and answers.


  • Live and interactive Q&A and polling platform.
  • Free + paid accounts.

Digital Course Content Tools

Save some time! Here are great sources for digital content to use in your classes. You don't always need to build everything from scratch.

  1. Ted Ed
  2. Khan Academy
  3. LinkedIn Learning (
  4. Otis College Youtube Channel
  5. Shaw Academy

Video Editing Tools


  • Free basic video editor to trim and crop


Zoom Cloud

  • Free basic video editor to trim and crop


  • full video editing software - good for beginners
  • tutorials available on LinkedIn Learning
  • View video lab tutorial

Adobe Premier + FinalCutPro

  • full video editing software - for advanced users
  • tutorials available on LinkedIn Learning

Generating PDF Tools

Adobe Scan 

  • The free Adobe Scan mobile app works on your mobile device, scans documents into PDFs, and automatically recognizes text.
  • Do not need to have Adobe Creative Cloud to use.

Messaging + Calendar Tools

Microsoft Teams

  • Provided for free by the College as part of Microsoft 365.
  • Microsoft Teams is the hub for team collaboration in Office 365 that integrates the people, content, and tools your team needs to be more engaged and effective.
  • Supports live transcription or transcription after in the Cloud.
  • Getting started guide.


  • Zoom is the free web conference platform used at Otis College of Art and Design.
  • All staff, undergraduate/graduate/CE faculty, and undergraduate/graduate students at Otis have free access to the system.
  • Within Zoom is a "Chat" tool available outside of meetings.


  • Discord is the easiest way to communicate over voice, video, and text. Chat, hang out, and stay close with your friends and communities.


  • Free! Save the emails back and forth. Create a Workspace for your Classroom. Invite your students.
  • You can text message back and forth. Free apps available for computers and mobile devices.

Microsoft Bookings

  • Provided for free by the College as part of Microsoft 365.
  • Simplifies scheduling appointments.
  • Syncs to Teams and your Otis College email calendar.

Calendly or You Can Book Me 

  • Start for free but for more features will need a paid account.
  • Sync your calendar to make it easier for students to schedule appointments with you. You no longer need to email back and forth.

Video Project Tools

Adobe Spark

  • Slideshow video format.
  • Free version + available with Adobe CC.


  • Video discussion platform.


  • Host meeting and connect an external camera that can be positioned like a webcam, document camera, or mobile phone. Use record meeting feature to capture video.

Video provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning. Great way to record process + share what they are working on.

Below are some best practices if asking students to create video:

  • consider the outcome you want - length of video and expectations of quality and content as will determine how much time students need to complete the task
  • assign students to work on projects in small groups to promote student-to-student interaction and build collaboration skills
  • provide training and support resources to help students learn multimedia tools and software they will need, know what resources are available on your campus
  • educate students about the resources and methods for acquiring digital assets, as well as the ethical and legal issues related to using these materials in their projects
  • address a real problem to increase motivation and to provide students with the opportunity to share their projects with an audience outside the course if applicable

Consider for Video:

  • Write out a script first
  • Average 150 words spoken per minute
  • 15 minute video = about 2200 words
  • 10 minute video = about 1500 words

Video Captioning Tools

When creating demo or instructional videos, it is a required practice to meet ADA compliance and include either a script or captions for your video.


Zoom Cloud

  • Record to the Zoom cloud, auto-transcription available for free.
  • Can share view with students via share link.


  • Resource for captioning long videos. Cost is 20¢ per minute.

The Nest: Video Note

  • Use the video note feature in the Nest to directly record video up to 30 minutes, free auto-captioning is available.

G-Drive Slides

  • When in presentation mode, you can turn on live text-to-speech captioning. These captions could be recorded through Zoom when in screenshare mode.

Web-Based Presentation Tools


Google Slides 

  • Free - With Google Slides, you can create, edit, collaborate, and present wherever you are. (Part of Google Drive)


  • A Mac alternative to PowerPoint


  • Pay - Nearpod allows an instructor to create an interactive classroom "powerpoint" presentation that students access on their mobile devices or computers. You control the pace of the presentation in the classroom as students follow along on their devices. Interactive elements can be seamlessly added to the presentation such as: videos, browsing websites, Q&A, and polls.


  • The most commonly used presentation platform


  • Free - Discover, Share, and Present presentations and infographics with the world's largest professional content sharing community..

​How to create effective presentations:

  1. "Presentation Zen: What Is Good PowerPoint Design?"  
  2. "10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations"

Gamification Tools

"Gamification is the application of game elements in non-gaming situations, often to motivate or influence behavior. The rewards or the spirit of competition can spur students’ concentration and interest and lead to more effective learning. The use of gamification is wide-ranging in higher education, from extra-credit awards and in-class team competitions to complex multi-level schemes that can pervade a course." - Educause

  1. "7 Things You Should Know About Gamification" (Educause)
  2. "Teaching as Designing" (Huffington Post)
  3. "7 Things You Should Know About Alternate Reality Games (ARGs)" (Educause)

ARGs weave together real-world artifacts with clues and puzzles hidden virtually any place, such as websites, libraries, museums, stores, signs, recorded telephone messages, movies, television programs, or printed materials.

Seth Priebatsch's TEDxBoston 2010 talks about how game dynamics are reshaping classroom learning. (TED)

Digital Badges

We already have a game layer in education - it's called GRADES.

But grades are so insubstantial. A letter in a database. The only physical representation is a boring piece of paper. Easily forgotten, added to GPA calculations, there is no jazzy sense of ownership when you get a letter grade. Wasn't it much more satisfying to get a GOLD STAR in elementary school? You had physical, visual proof of what you had accomplished.

  • Badges - the web equivalent of gold stars
  • - create your own digital badges

Badges and Gaming Principles:

  • Make each class module a "game level." Whenever a student "levels up" they get some reward.
  • Create a visual representation of the progression of a class.
  • The submissions module can do this - students can quickly see whether they have completed an assignment.
  • More fun - create a progress bar with percentages. People want to reach 100%.

Otis College of Art and Design | 9045 Lincoln Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90045 | Otis Dashboard

Teaching / Learning Center | Faculty Information in Dashboard | Contact Us