Any group or collaborative activity that you could offer in the physical classroom can be modified for the online classroom. Some of our favorite tips and tricks for improving online student engagement are linked below. Contact us to discuss effective ways to use the tools below or for help with modifying your own face to face classroom strategies.


Zoom can be used for a lot more than just a remote meeting tool. Check out these resources for ideas on how to use Zoom’s full capabilities and engage your students using the tool.

10 Ways to Encourage Participation Using Zoom (Paul Moss)
25 Strategies to Engage Students on Zoom (Hooked On Innovation)
Active Learning with Zoom (University of Washington)
Engaging Students Through Zoom (Yale)
Zoom Pedagogy (Carnegie Mellon)


Blackboard Learn has built-in tools that encourage students to engage with the course beyond the lectures. For example, you can set up discussion boards for students to discuss course material or participate in other activities. You can also create groups in Blackboard to set up an area for smaller groups to interact or work on collaborative projects.

Create a Discussion Board
Create Groups


Blackboard Collaborate Ultra provides web conferencing, whiteboard, chat, web tour, and mobile collaboration. Interactive features such as immediate quizzing, polling, and whiteboard sharing engage students while breakout rooms foster peer-to-peer interaction and learning.

Improving Breakout Room Discussions (Faculty Focus)
Best Practices for Using Polling (Washington University in St. Louis)



Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace that brings conversations, content and apps together in one place. Use this tool as a replacement for synchronous or near-synchronous conversations while collaborating on a project or as a replacement for the basic discussion board. MS Teams is not integrated with Blackboard, so it is best used for non-graded interactions and discussions.

Using Microsoft Teams to Foster Group Collaboration (Tanya Wakelin)
Using the Online Whiteboard to Foster Collaboration (D2L)


Flip provides an accessible video discussion experience that can be used to pose questions and spark thoughtful responses. Use Flipgrid for student introductions, to find out what students would like to know, or to encourage students to make connections to personal experiences.

Building a Higher Education Flip Community
Add Flip to a Course


For Faculty Development and Training Contact:

 Email Cheryl Bosarge

Phone:  (205) 348-4860