Skip to main content

Teaching/Learning Center

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.


Screencasting Tools

Computer Cartoon

Screencasts, or screen capture, is a wonderful way to take students through a complicated process. You can record whatever is happening on your computer screen with an added narration.​

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


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.


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.


"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)

Kahoot Mobile App


Calling all students, teachers, office heroes, trivia fans and lifelong learners! Whether you feel creative, want to learn something new or are up for some fun and competition – get Kahoot!’ing anywhere, anytime!

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%.

Writing + Photo Sharing Tools

inkwell and quill


Blogging can be a fun and useful tool in a blended course. Some may prefer it to the threaded discussions as it is simple to upload images and videos and everything is on one central page.

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


Tumblr is what is commonly referred to as a photo blog. It's easy to quickly post and share text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme's HTML.

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


Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. Similar to Facebook or Twitter, everyone who creates an Instagram account has a profile and a news feed. When you post a photo or video on Instagram, it will be displayed on your profile.

  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"


Wikis are the most useful to facilitate collaborative writing or organize projects. Wikipedia is the prime example of a gigantic collaborative wiki that millions of people write on.

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.This video can then be embedded within a blog or in their Learning ePortfolios or in a class Youtube Channel.

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)

Online Course Materials

desk with computer

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

Educational Applications (tech tools)

Considering exploring the world of educational applications for mobile devices. Turn the phone or tablet into a learning tool as opposed to a possible classroom distraction.

  1. "iPad Classroom: Apps for Educators" (
  2. iTunes App Store
  3. "Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2018" (American Association of School Librarians)
  4. "The 70 Best Apps For Teachers And Students" (Edudemic)
  5. "Turning Education Upside Down" (NY Times, 2013)
  6.  "Creativity on the Run: 18 Apps that Support the Creative Process" (Edutopia, 2013)

Video Captioning


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

Here is a quick step sheet for creating captions in Youtube.


Temi is a paid resource for captioning long videos.  Cost is 10¢ per minute.

Messaging and Calendar Tools


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Start for free. Sync your calendar to make it easier for students to schedule appointments with you. You no longer need to email back and forth.

Other Fun Tools

pens and paper


Media aggregator that allows people to post media artifacts which might be a document, a slide presentation, a video, or a collection of photos for community feedback.

"7 Things You Should Know About VoiceThread" (Educause)


“It’s an innovative way to introduce the album cover to the public and have it be dynamic, not just a static image. To have video & audio accompany the image really helps connect the marketing and the social tie in is a big plus.” - Thanh Nguyen,
Digital Marketing, Atlantic Records
Students could use this as a tool to tag an image with their analysis, for faculty to highlight key aspects of an image, or explain a chart.


The platform for rational debate. Empowering reason through friendly and open discussions.

Video Projects

video camera

Provide students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning of course content through the creation of short video.

  1. "6 Tips for Successful Mobile Video Assignments in the Classroom" (Chronicle)

Below are some best practices if introducing such an assignment in your course:

  • 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

Adobe Spark

Slideshow video format


Video discussion platform.

List of Webtools

Think carefully before you require any tool that is unfamiliar to students. Sometimes they resent having to learn a new technology if they don't really see the value. They also get confused when needing to use too many different tools in one class. It's best to avoid using a technology unless it is the perfect tool for the job.

Free Media Software Tools

An organized guide for tools.

Popular Web-Based Presentation Tools


  1. "7 Things You Should Know About Next-Generation Presentation Tools" (Edcuase)
  2. "7 Things You Should Know About Podcasting" (Educause)
  3. "7 Things You Should Know About Ustream" (Educause)
  4. "Presentation Zen: What Is Good PowerPoint Design?"  
  5. "10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations"
  • Train Before Trying
  • Presentation First, PowerPoint Second
  • Know Your Audience
  • Tell a Story
  • Show It, Don't Write It
  • Embrace Color -- Carefully
  • Follow the Rule of 10
  • Keep It Short
  • Keep It Legible
  • Skip It Altogether


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..

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

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