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Adaptive Learning

Adaptive learning applies to changing one's instruction based on the knowledge of the student. Most often, it is seen in web applications that guide students through learning a concept by giving each student an individualized path. If a student is immediately proficient, his/her path may be shorter than a student who does not immediately grasp the concept. The latter student would then be directed to further questions to build knowledge before progressing forward. Examples of adaptive learning softwares are McGraw-Hill LearnSmart, Pearson MyLab, or Cerego.

Adobe Captivate

Adobe Captivate is an elearning software application used to create interactive educational presentations. Captivate allows instructors to add comprehension questions to a slideshow and guide students through adaptive learning. Captivate does have a steep learning curve compared to most technology tools. An academic license for an UMSL faculty member is $79. 

Adobe Flash

Flash is a browser plugin created by Adobe to add interactivity and video playback to web browsers. At UMSL, it is used for technologies such as VoiceThread and watching web-based videos on Blackboard and YouTube.
Download Flash

Assignment Tool

The Assignment Tool is a feature of Blackboard (MyGateway) that allows students to upload a file from their computer to fulfill a course assignment. The Assignment Tool automatically generates a corresponding column in GradeCenter.

Assignment Tool Resources for Faculty
How to Create an Assignment (video)

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Blackboard is a Learning Management System that hosts the online courses taught at UMSL as well as electronic grade information. MyGateway is sometimes used synonymously with Blackboard as it is the name for UMSL's online academic services and is built using Blackboard.

Blackboard Resources for Faculty

Blackboard Collaborate

Collaborate is a web conference and collaborative tool developed by Blackboard. At UMSL, it is most often used in online courses to create synchronous learning in which all participants are present at the same time, though Collaborate sessions can be recorded for later viewing. More Information

Collaborate Resources for Faculty:
How to Set Up Blackboard Collaborate in MyGateway (video)
Using Blackboard Collaborate as a Moderator (video)

Blackboard IM (or BBIM)

Blackboard IM is an instant message system for faculty and students. The software allows instant text, voice, and video communication as well as the option to open a full Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing environment. The software can be downloaded and installed by logging into MyGateway and then clicking on the Blackboard IM link.

Blackboard Voice Board

Voice Board is a tool in Blackboard that allows students and faculty to leave voice messages for others. The tool organizes similarly to a Discussion Board where other comments can be created as replies to the originally posted voice recording. This tool can be used for asychronous conversations in which one person posts an original recording and then others leave voice replies. The VoiceThread tool also accomplishes this so it may be a better option for some. Voice Board is in the Tools list within courses on Blackboard (MyGateway).


A blog (short for web log), is a chronological digest of writings, much like a digital journal or diary. Blogs are often reflective in nature and promote shared learning as they are read by others. It's easy to add images or videos to a blog as well. For more information about using Blogs in your course, watch the videos below.

Blog Resources for Faculty
How to Create a Blog in MyGateway (video)

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CampusPack Tools - See Blog, Journal, or Wiki entries.

Chat - See Instant Messaging.

Collaborate - See Blackboard Collaborate.

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Diigo is a free web-based bookmarking application that can be used to save, highlight, or annotate web pages. When saved pages are revisited, the highlights remain, making Diigo a great app for collecting educational resources and writing research papers. Diigo also offer special educator accounts.

Discussion Board

A discussion board is an asynchronous, text-based tool for conversing in an online environment. In a discussion board, an original participant makes a post to the discussion board (based on the selected topic) for other participants to read. Other participants can then leave a reply on that original posting, leaving both the original post and the reply visible for future participants. This series of posts and replies is called a discussion thread. For more information about how to use a Discussion Board in your course, use the resouces below

Discussion Board Resources for Faculty:
How to Create a Discussion Board, Part 1: Making a Forum (video)
How to Create a Discussion Board


Downloading a file means moving a file stored on the internet to a place on your local computer. 

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E-mail (short for electronic mail) is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients. Modern email operates across the Internet. It is also possible to send digital files as attachments via email but depending on the restrictions of the e-mail service, these are usually restricted to 10MB in size. E-mail should not be used to receive student assignments as it is an insecure technology and doing so violates FERPA.


Excel is a desktop spreadsheet application designed for keeping data, completing mathematical equations, and setting up tables. Excel is part of the Microsoft Office Suite. It is installed on all UMSL computers and may be purchased for faculty home use for $9.95 through the Microsoft Home Use Program (HUP).

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Flash - See Adobe Flash.

Flipped Classroom (or Flip Teaching)

Flipping the classroom refers to modifying the traditional lecture format of many courses into a format where lectures are recorded and assigned to be viewed before each class period as homework. The class period, then, is used for active learning exercises, application of the material, or assignment feedback and assistance. The success of this model relies heavily on the expectation that students use the materials provided before each class so that class time can be used for effective application. More Information

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Google Chrome

Chrome is a web browser available for Windows, Mac, or Linux. It is supported by Blackboard 9.1 (MyGateway). It also has numerous extensions to add to its functionality.
Download Google Chrome

Google Drive/Docs

Originally named Google Docs, Google Drive is a completely web-based office productivity suite designed to promote sharing of documents and resources. Google Drive offers a word processor, spreadsheet database, presentation creator, and form creator. Any document created on Google Drive will be stored online, but may be downloaded to a personal computer for offline editing. Google Drive comes with 5 Gigabytes of online cloud storage, but you must create a Google Account to use Google Drive. More Information

Grade Center

Grade Center is the electronic gradebook of Blackboard. It is web-based and has a spreadsheet layout with column names corresponding to graded activities, and row corresponding to student names. Grade Center allows file attachments to be downloaded in bulk for electronic homework. It also automatically grades objective-based questions on exams and quizzes. At UMSL, faculty use of Grade Center to maintain student grades for both traditional and online courses is strongly recommended so students can understand their standing in a course. More Information about using Grade Center is available here: http://ondemand.blackboard.com/r91/documents/getting_started_with_the_grade_center_9_1_8.pdf

Grade Center Resources for Faculty
Organizing Columns in Grade Center (video)
Creating a New Column in Grade Center (video)
Creating a Calculated Total Column in Grade Center (video)
Creating a Calculated Average Column in Grade Center (video)
Creating a Calculated Minimum-Maximum Column in Grade Center (video)
Using Grade Center's 'Work Offline' Feature to Keep Grades in Excel (video)
How to Drop the Lowest Grade from a Group of Assignments in Grade Center (video)

Groups Tool

The Groups Tool is a feature of Blackboard that allows instructors to easily divide their students into groups and then provide each group with a personal area in which to communicate and work on group assignments. The Groups Tool is accessible in the Control Panel on the left-side navigation bar of a Blackboard course by clicking Users and Group and then Groups. Below is a video overview of the tool.

Groups Tool for Faculty
How to Use the Groups Tool (video)
How to Create Groups (PDF document)
How to Edit Group Enrollments (PDF document)

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HTML (short for HyperText Markup Language) is a programming language used to create web pages. HTML allows text creation, table formatting, linking to other address, and much more. HTML is the backbone of the internet. This table of commonly used HTML tags may be helpful for basic edits. More Information


Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging (IM) is a near real-time way to send text messages between two people. Sometimes referred to as "chat", this tool is used in educational context for student-to-student communication and student-to-faculty communication. UMSL utilizes Blackboard IM (BBIM) as its recommended IM tool. See Blackboard IM.

Internet Explorer

Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) is a web browser packaged with the Windows operating system. Version 9 through 11 are approved for use with Blackboard (MyGateway) but it is also recommended that you download an alternative browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari. 
Download Internet Explorer 11

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Java is a plugin from Oracle that allows web applications to temporarily run as desktop applications and/or utilize your computer resources. At UMSL, it is used for Blackboard Collaborate and to view and create Kaltura videos. 
Download Java Plugin


A journal is a digital tool used to create personal entries of one's thoughts, feelings, or learning. While similar to blogs, journals are usually not public, allowing for a different type of entry and personal learning. For more information about using Journals in your course, watch the videos below:

Journal Resources for Faculty
How to Add a Journal to Your Course (video)

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The Kaltura tool is a video storage solution for Blackboard (MyGateway). Kaltura has a few different purposes: it can store video files from your computer that you wish to share with students; it can be used to record instructor lecture videos; and it can be used as a tool for students to record videos of themselves. For more information about how to use Kaltura in your course, watch the videos below:

Kaltura Resources for Faculty
How to Record a Video from your Webcam or Screen (interactive step-by-step overview; requires Adobe Flash plugin to use)
How to Add a Webcam Recording Using Kaltura
How to Add a Screen Recording Using Kaltura (video)

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Learning Module Tool

The MyGateway Learning Module tool is an alternative way (to the folder) to organize course content. It arranges the content in series with an internal table of contents. Click to view a video showing how the Learning Module tool operates within MyGateway.

Lecture Recording

There are a few options to record your lectures at UMSL. See VoiceThread (for instructors), Panopto, or PowerPoint.

Lesson Plan Tool

The MyGateway Lesson Plan tool is an alternative way (to the folder) to organize course content. It adds a grey organized section to the top of the folder view that overviews some key information for that module, unit, etc. This core information might be learning objectives, due dates, an agenda of assignments, etc. The rest of the lesson plan operates like a folder, where you can put links to documents, activities, or tools. For more information, watch the video below:

Lesson Plan Resources for Faculty
Overview of Lesson Plan tool (video)

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Microsoft Silverlight

Silverlight is a browser plugin created by Microsoft to assist with viewing web-based videos and using other interactive applications. 
Download Microsoft Silverlight


Module has two definitions. In general educational terms, a module is a grouping of like-minded course content into a content area folder or calendar period. A module is also a tool in Blackboard (MyGateway) that allows faculty to group content into a designated area that adds an individual table of contents for those materials and allows the option to force sequential viewing of the materials.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is a web browser for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It has been approved for use with Blackboard (MyGateway) and has a library of add-ons that can increase its functionality. Firefox also comes with a built-in PDF reader. 
Download Mozilla Firefox


MyGateway is the faculty and student portal used to connect with UMSL. MyGateway can also help you find your grades, student supports, and other resources. MyGateway is hosted on the Blackboard learning management system. 

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NetTutor is a web-based tutoring tool that allows students to get real-time, personal tutoring via video conference. It is available for the following disciplines: Biology and Life Sciences, Business and Economics, Chemistry, Math, Physics, Writing Center, and World Languages - Spanish. NetTutor is accessible through the Tools link in UMSL online courses.

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Online Testing Center

The Online Testing Center is an on-campus location where students of online course can take proctored exams (if required by the instructor). Students must arrange a time to take their exams with the Center. More Information

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Panopto is a lecture- and screen-recording tool licensed by UMSL to assist in the creation of educational videos. It is most often used for asynchronous online courses. Silverlight, a browser plugin, is required to view Panopto recordings. To record a lecture or screencast, users must download and install the Panopto Recorder here: Windows  |  Mac

Panopto Resources for Faculty
Panopto Instructions (PDF Document)
How to Provision Your Course With Panopto (video)
How to Record a Video in Panopto | Windows (video)
How to Record a Video in Panopto | Mac (video)
How to Add Your Panopto Video to Your Course (video)


Short for Portable Document Format, a PDF is a file format used to represent documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems. PDF reader software is required to view PDF documents but comes with some browsers such as Google Chrome. 
Download Adobe Reader


PowerPoint is a desktop application, created by Microsoft, that allows users to create slideshow presentation from text, images, video, graphics, or a combination of these. PowerPoint presentations are often used as a supplement to lectures. PowerPoint is part of the Microsoft Office Suite. It is installed on all UMSL computers and may be purchased for faculty home use for $9.95 as part of the Microsoft Home Use Program (HUP).

PowerPoint Resources for Faculty
Quick Ways to Improve Slides in PowerPoint (video; requires Microsoft Silverlight plugin)


A podcast is a serialized audio recording often used to teach a concept or inform listeners. Podcasts are useful because they are readily accessible on computers, smartphones, and can be downloaded to audio players like iPods. Podcasts can be created in a Blackboard (MyGateway) course using the CampusPack podcast tool. You can find more information about how to set up a podcast using the tutorials below:

Podcast Resources for Faculty
How to Create a Course Podcast (video; requires Microsoft Silverlight plugin)

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QuickTime is an Apple video-playing software that plays MPEG4 and MP4 videos locally and on the web. It can be downloaded here: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

Quizzes - See Exam also.

A Quiz is an assessment tool used in Blackboard (MyGateway) to test student retention of material. It is shorter than an exam and may be composed of a variety of question types including: multiple choice, multiple answer, short answer, fill in the blank, true/false, and others. Below is a video overview of how to make a quiz in Blackboard.

Quiz Resources for Faculty
How to Create a Quiz on Blackboard (video)

Quiz Resources for Faculty
How to Take a Quiz on Blackboard (video)

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Respondus is a desktop software tool used to more easily create exams and surveys in Blackboard. It is a Windows-only program so Mac users will need to run it in a Windows environment or faculty may use the UMSL computer labs where Respondus is also installed. Respondus (Windows) can be downloaded to UMSL faculty computers by visiting the Respondus Download section of the "Using MyGateway and the WWW" Blackboard course that faculty are enrolled on MyGateway.

Respondus Resources for Faculty
How to Format Questions for Respondus (Word document)
Sample Test Document Formatted for Respondus Import (Word document)

Retention Center

Retention Center is a monitoring tool built into Blackboard that allows instructors to check on student progress and assignment completion. The Retention Center will alert the instructor in his/her notification area in the top right of MyGateway. The Retention Center is also available in the Control Panel on the left navigation bar of a Blackboard course. 

Blackboard Retention Center Resources for Faculty
Overview (video)


A rubric is a document, usually in a grid-style, that conveys the expectations of an assignment to a student. The grid is made up of the components of the activity on one axis and the levels of achievement on the other axis. MyGateway has a rubric-building tool that helps make it easier to grade online activities with the Blackboard GradeCenter. Below are some video resources about the rubric tool and how to implement it into your online course.

Rubric Resources for Faculty
How to Make a Rubric in MyGateway  (video; requires Microsoft Silverlight plugin)
How to Attach a Rubric to an Assignment in MyGateway  (video; requires Microsoft Silverlight plugin)
How to Grade an Assignment with a Rubric  (video; requires Microsoft Silverlight plugin)

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Silverlight - see Microsoft Silverlight.


StudyMate is a games-based tool that is part of the Respondus software package. It allows instructors to easily create flashcards, crossword puzzles, and other word games using text documents. 

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Turnitin is a plagiarism verification service that helps educators and students ensure that content in written documents is cited properly. Papers submitted to Turnitin may be compared against billions of internet documents, archived internet data that is no longer available on the live web, a local repository of previously submitted papers, and subscription repository of periodicals, journals, and publications. TurnItIn is available for student use through the UMSL Writing Center.


TritonApps is a remote service technology that enables us to provide some of our applications and software to students and faculty anytime, anywhere. Applications available through the TritonApps remote delivery include: AMOS, GARS, SPSS, Mathcad, MATLAB, STATA, and Microsoft Office 2010. Search Triton Apps

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Moving a file from your local computer to a storage place on the internet is called uploading. 

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VoiceThread is a collaborative slideshow web application where faculty or students can upload media content (images, videos, or documents) and leave a voice comment on them. Others can then leave follow-up comments. The tool uses a Blackboard (MyGateway) building block and has a gradual learning curve. The tool is used at UMSL for lecture recording, group collaboration, and student presentations.

VoiceThread Resources for Faculty
How to Setup VoiceThread in your Blackboard Course (PDF document)
How to Setup VoiceThread in your Blackboard Course
How to Create a VoiceThread (video)
How to Link to a Single VoiceThread Presentation from Your MyGateway Course (video)
How to Use the VoiceThread Assignment Tools (video)

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A Wiki is a web document which allows people to add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser. Wikis often include images or other multimedia and can also include external links to other websites or files. Because a Wiki has multiple authors, there is less chance of incorrect information remaining in the document (multiple proof-readers). Wikis are often used at UMSL for group projects within a course where a group of students is assigned to create a wiki explaining a concept or idea. For more information about using Journals in your course, watch the videos below.

Wiki Resources for Faculty
How to Create a Wiki (video)


Wimba is a set of collaborative tools for Blackboard. It has been purchased by Blackboard and its features are being adopted into other Blackboard tools. Wimba tools are no longer supported.

Windows Media plugin

Windows Media is a plugin used to play web-based Windows Media videos (.wmv). The plugin is included when installing QuickTime for Windows users, but Mac users may need to install the Flip4Mac plugin (free version)


Microsoft Word is a word processing desktop application for creating and saving documents. It is part of the Microsoft Office productivity suite and is installed on all UMSL computers. It may be purchased for faculty home use for $9.95 as part of the Microsoft Home Use Program (HUP).

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YouTube is a video-hosting website, owned by Google, that allows users to upload recorded video for public viewing. YouTube is a resource for educational videos, lectures, and how-to explanations. Users that upload video have the option of sharing it publicly, sharing to only those to whom a link is distributed, or sharing to other specific YouTube accounts.

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Zotero is an internet bookmarking and citation application that gathers referential information from an article, website, ebook, or other document for later review. The tool is very helpful in creating works cited or bibliography pages as it can easily output MLA, APA, Chicago, or other reference styles from saved materials. 

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This site is maintained by Dylan Herx, Instructional Designer in the Center for Teaching and Learning. If you find any mistakes or would like to request additional videos or documents, please contact herxd@umsl.edu or 314-516-4209.