All the Softwares

This is a cross post with my personal blog so I apologize in advance to those of you who follow me in both places. Tonight I got to thinking about all the technology used in remote teaching and got in a listing mood. Here is what I have been using lately and why. Some of you can probably add more types of software or more examples of software in the comments. I think compiling this list makes me realize why I feel a little more scattered now despite not having a commute.

Learning Management System: The Henry Ford College LMS is based on Moodle. This can serve as a bookshelf for course materials and has some convenient quizzing and drop box features. It has some sophisticated testing features if you learn how to use the coding language for each type of problem.

Publisher Homework Software: Publisher software can provide practice at routine problems for students. Currently I am using XYZHomework and WebAssign.

Teleconference Software: I use Zoom for live remote classes and for office hours. While using Zoom I set up to allow for captions for students with hearing difficulties or who cannot use the audio that day because of where they are working.

Screen Capture Software: For asynchronous courses especially you need screen capture software. I like the ease of editing in a product called Screencast-O-Matic for videos. Plus, it was cheap when I bought a license. Snagit will also make videos. I use Snagit for screen capture because I like the interface and the editing tools.

Visualizer Software: I use a document camera for my live remote classes and sometimes when making videos. The software that came with my camera lets me freeze the screen and zoom pretty conveniently.

Video Library: YouTube is my back up place to upload videos. Sometimes in my asynchronous class I will upload videos to YouTube from Screencast-O-Matic if they are just one time use like weekly summaries and don’t need to be behind a paywall for some other reason. Mostly I use Microsoft Stream because I can easily restrict access to my students if I need to do so.

Extra Examples: I have been using Thinglink for this the last week or so in my asynchronous class. I am using the free version though so I cannot organize things into folders and this could get to be a mess. I can link my videos and other videos to a written example and add descriptions links to other examples or expanded steps. I have considered whether to use Prezi Present- a spatially based presentation software for this instead, That is a little harder to use but can look slicker. I hadn’t used Prezi in a while, but it looks like they have done a lot of work recently to integrate with common teleconferencing platforms with a product called Prezi Video. I may check that out over spring break. I have used a Livescribe pen but find that my visualizer together with Screencast-O-Matic gets the job done more quickly with higher quality.

Office Hour Scheduling: I have used Calendly ,which I was pleased with, to allow students to schedule meetings with me for office hours. It is worth $95 for premium. However, Microsoft Booking is part of HFC’s Microsoft 365 license and so free (included) has won out.

Informal Assessment/Participation: I am currently using Socrative for remote online classes because of their math editor and its relative simplicity for students. When we return to campus I might use Wooclap because of the expanded number of question types. I might use Microsoft Forms quick questions in a math corequisite course that is partially remote live and partially asynchronous in the fall. I have used Kahoot!QuizizzPoll Everywhere, and Plickers in the past. All are fine products for assessment- especially informal assessment. For me, Socrative not requiring student accounts and having a math editor make it best. Forms working in the college’s office suite makes it a good choice. And I recall liking Wooclap’s large number of question types.

Calculators: I teach math so I use Desmos and a TI-84 Emulator in my live remote classes and in some videos I make for asynchronous classes. I use Geogebra only occasionally and probably should remember to use it more.

PDF Annotator: I use Drawboard to write on worksheets in live remote classes. I will also sometimes paste a few problems I expect will cause questions into Drawboard using Snagit.

Collaboration: I occasionally use items from G-Suite because it is really easy to let students collaborate. For instance, you can crowd source calculations and have students type the answers in a Google Sheet you set up beforehand and share a link in the chat of whatever software you use for you teleconferencing. I would use Jamboard if I used groups/break out rooms more often.

The Checklist in HFCOnline

I have experimented with the checklist this semester in HFCOnline. With the checklist you can make a list of assignments, link to the assignments or ancillary material, and add recommended due dates. As students complete them they can manually check them off. Some things can be automatically checked off. Checklists create a graded item, but I did not want to award points for them so I just do not have them in a credit category. I also could go hide them in the student gradebook. You can add the due dates you assign to the course calendar if your students are trained to look there. (See the setting below.)

A list of the settings for a checklist including "Add due dates to calendar" with a Yes or No toggle.

Checklists appear at the end of a section with other “Add an activity or resource material.” I always drag them to the top of that list to make them easy to find. I also try to keep the section description brief when using checklists to students can

I recorded a brief video showing what one of my checklists looks like and my reflections on using them at the quarter point of the semester.

Here are the directions D. Smith uses. These directions automate part of the creation process.

Adding Quizzes (Exams or Homework too!) Into HFC Online

Thanks to Linda Brandt for the step-by-step instructions.

How to add a new exam into your course section in Moodle

Before we start:

Note that the word Quiz is used in Moodle, not the word Exam.

Also note that when you open your course section, you see a list of “Sections” I have changed that word Section to the word Unit in all of my courses to not mix up for example BIO 150 section 02 with a particular Section/Unit of the course.

You can write Multiple Choice, True / False, short answer, essay etc.

Create the Quiz:

Open the a section of your course that will have the quiz/exam i.e. BIO 150 – 01

Turn Edit on

Click Course Management

Click Question Category

Add Category will appear

Name the Category with a name that will make sense to you

Ignore Parent Category and ID Number

Click Add Category

That’s it for that part – there is no Save to click

Next write questions:

Go back to the course section and select Course Management again

Select Question Bank

Select the Category that you made in the process above

Click Create a New Question

Choose the type of question

Click Add

Name the question (can be one word or more or a number)

Write the question and the answer(s)

Click Create a New Question until you have all you want

Click one of the Save options

Now move the quiz into a section of your course:

Return to the section of your course. i.e BIO 150 – 01

You will need to click on the Section/Unit where you want the quiz to appear so that the words “Add an activity or resource” appear.

Click Edit and then Edit Section

Give the Section / Unit a name, like Exams (To name the Section/Unit you must click the box next to the word “Custom”)

Click Save Changes

Click Add Activity or Resource

Select the radio button next to Quiz

Click Add

Give the Quiz a name, like Exam #2

Click Save and Return to Course

Click on the Quiz – in our example Exam #2

Select the gear shift thing on the right – kind of looks like *

Select Edit Quiz

On the middle right, click Add

On the right, click From Question Bank (You can select New Question if you want to add one that you haven’t already created)

Pick the Question Category that you formed earlier – in our example Exam #2

Select the questions you want to include

Click Add Selected Questions These will be the ones you want to include in your quiz / exam

Assign the values for each question at the right

Assign the Max Grade. That will be how many points total the student can earn.

Click Shuffle if you want the questions and/or the choices in Multiple Choice shuffled.

Click Save

Make the Exam Available to Students:

Return to the Section / Unit of the course where you put the quiz

Click Edit (It’s to the right of the quiz name) and then Edit Settings

Go to Timing and set the open, close, etc. time.

Choose whatever other specifications you’d like in addition to Timing.

Click Save and return or Save and display

You can now try out the quiz


Good luck!


This is a continuation of what it seems now is sort of a blog on how I am setting up for remote teaching. I hope some find it useful. Here is the first post in the series. Here is the second.

I show how to add a forum to my course. You can add forums within a section instead of at the top of the course like I did here. I also discovered by accident today how easy it is to drag things between sections in HFCOnline. At least I’m learning. Hopefully my student will be, too!


Editing a Section in Moodle

This post is a follow up to Moving to Remote Quickly. In it I show an almost complete task list for what I want students to do in the first week back from spring break and how I created some of it.

If you do not feel comfortable yet with Moodle you can attend training this week, seek out help from others, or in the short term exchange task lists and papers via email with students. I might suggest that if you don’t want to meet face-to-face that you temporarily add the other teacher as an editing member of your course. Then they can make changes too as you talk on the phone or via video conference.

If you are comfortable with Moodle you can see that I just have a list in approximately the order students might do the work. If you create or find videos in Youtube you can add them just by adding the URL. If you want to add face-to-face meetings with Big Blue Button or zoom you can provide directions. But, don’t let not being ready to add the fancy stuff stop you from communicating with your students and giving them the work they need to learn.

Anyway, here is the next step in my process. I still have not picked (or decided not to pick) additional software. Soon I will. (There only is soon left.) I stopped the video before I pressed the save changes button. Make sure to save your changes.

Captioned Version:

IT Lives: Sessions on Moodle Gradebook and the Portal

The CTEI is proud to announce two sessions about instructional technology on our campus. Both sessions will repeat in the hopes of capturing everyone who wishes to attend. While we should have room for drop-ins, please consider signing up for the sessions that interest you to ensure we have adequate seating.

Learn the basics of Moodle gradebook on September 5 at 9 AM or on September 6 at 3 PM.

Sign up for the 9 AM session on Wednesday, September 5 at:

Sign up for the 3 PM session on Thursday, September 6 at:

Learn about changes to the HFC Portal on September 5 at 3 PM or on September 6 at 9AM.

Sign up for the 3 PM session on Wednesday, September 5 at:

Sign up for the 9 AM session on Thursday, September 6 at:

All sessions are in the Instructional Technology Lab (N-011).