Teaching Resources

Online Activity Tools

Resource Overview

An overview of tools for online activities.


Description: Hypothes.is is a browser extension that enables users to place a conversational layer over an entire webpage, allowing for unique interactive engagement with the texts that they have been assigned to read. It enables sentence-level annotation, notetaking, and critique on top of any assigned content available on a website. Students can annotate course readings collaboratively, share comments, and reply to each other’s comments. Instructors can also assign annotation assignments using Hypoethes.is so that students submit their annotation “sets” (e.g. a close reading related annotation assignment) for feedback and grading in Canvas.
What kinds of learning goals could it support: Annotate, Argue, Assess, Discuss, Explain, Highlight, Identify, Interpret, Select, Translate
Cost: Free. Users can use in Canvas or download the browser extension (available in most common browsers) and create a free account. Note that if you are integrating into Canvas fully using the LTI app, it is free through 2021, but will likely have a cost per instructor following 2021.
Canvas Integration Potential: With the LTI app, can be fully integrated in Canvas and Canvas Gradebook. This level of integration would also allow you to grade annotations with SpeedGrader.
Additional Resources: CTL Hypothesis Guide


Description: PollEverywhere is a polling software that can be used as a formative feedback tool in live class sessions or as part of an asynchronous lesson. Instructors can post questions of various question types: multiple choice, open-ended, wordcloud, Q&A (up and down voting), ranking order, survey, or clickable images (where students click on a specific area of an image for their answer). Answers can be displayed in real time. Students do not need an account to respond, they can visit the website on their phone or computer, or text a number to receive a link to the question on their phones.
What kinds of learning goals could it support: Choose, Collaborate, Discuss, Name, Poll, Recall, Select
 WashU has purchased an institutional license, so it is currently free to use for faculty and students at WashU. To gain access to the WashU institutional license you must contact your school-based Poll Everywhere administrator.
Canvas Integration Potential: Instructors can embed PollEverywhere activities into a PPT, Keynote, or Google slide. We are piloting the integration of Poll Everywhere with Canvas for select classes, which tracks student grades and participation on polls.
Additional Resources: CTL Poll Everywhere Guide


Description: Goosechase allows instructors to facilitate scavenger hunts, where individuals or teams of students compete to find items you assign (in the physical world), then submit a photo, video, or text-based response as evidence and post it in the app. Instructors can also choose to ask participants to check in at a particular location when fulfilling that part of the “mission” (something that could be great for in-person teaching). The app keeps track of individual or team points so that you know who has won by the end. Great for team building, exploration, and research-type activities.
What kinds of learning goals could it support: Collaborate, Communicate, Connect, Discover, Explore, Identify, Interpret, Label, Locate, Match, Observe, Recommend, Select, Solve
Cost: Free educators account allows instructors to run one live game at a time, up to 5 teams, with up to 25 participants total. For $49 a year, educators can have up to 10 teams per game, with 40 participants per game. Users must download either the free android or Apple app to a device to participate.
Canvas Integration Potential: A link to a Goosechase game could be inserted as a link into a Canvas Module, Canvas Assignment, or Canvas page. No formal integration with Gradebook.
Additional Resources: Instructional video


Description: A Google Chrome or Firefox browser extension that allows you to transform webpages into interactive lessons. Instructors can highlight parts of the text, insert a sticky note (including a supplementary video or link), add a question for students to answer, or insert a discussion thread with directions for the whole class. Instructors can also ask students to highlight or annotate the text as well.
What kinds of learning goals could it support: Annotate, Argue, Assess, Discuss, Explain, Highlight, Identify, Interpret, Select, Translate
Cost: Extension is free, but you and your students must install the extension in your browser. You must sign in with a Google account to create lessons. Students will need to be enrolled in your “InsertLearning class” and then you can share a link to the content with them.
Canvas Integration Potential: Can share link to page with instructions in Canvas Module or in a Canvas Assignment. You can also use a Canvas course page as the website that InsertLearning works on top of (see resource on this below). No formal integration with Canvas Gradebook.
Additional Resources: Using InsertLearning without Google Classroom
InsertLearning + Canvas instructional video


Description: Perusall is an interactive digital platform that turns reading into a collective task. It allows students to read and collaboratively annotate the assigned text, highlighting passages, asking questions, and answering each other’s questions while reading. Students can continue to participate in the conversation even after they are finished reading, as they are alerted by email if another student comments on their question, and can respond to their classmate via an email reply (rather than going back into the reading to annotate again). Instructors could also use it during synchronous class session as an in-class annotation activity as well.
What kinds of learning goals could it support: Analyze, Annotate, Argue, Discuss, Examine, Explain, Highlight, Identify, Interpret, Select
Cost: Instructors must make an account, it is free for instructors and students if instructors upload their own materials or use open educational resources (OERs). Instructors can ask students to purchase copies of the textbook within Perusall to integrate more course reading with the app. Note that students cannot purchase or obtain textbooks outside of Perusall if instructors intend to use this feature.
Canvas Integration Potential: Can be fully integrated as an LTI app in Canvas, integrates with Canvas Gradebook. This level of integration would allow you to grade annotations with SpeedGrader.
Additional Resources: General instructional video
Perusall + Canvas integration instructional video


Description: An online flashcard creator, allows you to create as many flashcards as you like that can be studied on a desktop, tablet, or phone. A set of flashcards can be used as traditional flashcards, with a spoken component to check pronunciation. Students can star cards that they are having trouble with and then only go back and study that subset. Beyond using them as regular flashcards, there are also options to type out an answer, do a practice test with the flashcards, or play several games as a way to study. Quizlet “live” invites students into a competitive game where they can play together as teams to answer questions and review content.
What kinds of learning goals could it support: Choose, Define, Find, Label, Locate, Match, Memorize, Name, Recall, Recite, Write
Cost: Free, instructors need an account
Canvas Integration Potential: You can embed a Quizlet activity into a Canvas course page, so students can do the activity without leaving Canvas.
Additional Resources: General instructional video
Quizlet + Canvas integration instructional video


Should you wish to set up a consultation to talk about pedagogical uses for these or other EdTech tools, please feel free to reach out to our Educational Development team through our consultation request form.

Using an EdTech tool that we haven’t profiled yet? Let us know through ctl@wustl.edu and we can add a profile about it!

Have suggestions?

If you have suggestions of resources we might add to these pages, please contact us:

ctl@wustl.edu(314) 935-6810Mon - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.