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e-Learning kit: Activities

Strategies and technologies for transitioning from face-to-face teaching to online environments (#eLkit).


Active learning is the preferred teaching strategy in traditional classrooms to improve student performance (Freeman et al., 2014) but translating activities online can be intimidating. Try out some of the tools below and invite a friend or two practice them in action. Included here are tools to support creating, curating and sharing resources, collaborative authoring, blogging, mapping, polls and quizzes, surveys, journaling, e-portfolios, and app development.

Creating, curating and sharing resources

Students can be introduced to tools for curating and sharing resources of varying types:

​Collaborative authoring



These are tools to allow students to graphically represent knowledge, including concept mapping that defines relationships between concepts and less structured mind mapping. To learn more, read the Mind and Concept Mapping Tips and Trends from ACRL and ALA Instructional Technologies Committee (PDF).

Data visualization

  • Datawrapper: Create choropleth, symbol, and locator maps

3D modeling

Location mapping

  • ArcGIS StoryMaps
  • StoryMap JS: Tell stories through maps.
  • My Maps on Google Maps: Create custom maps together with images, links, and embedded videos. You can also turn on location history to get a timeline of the places you've been.

Concept mapping

Mind mapping


  • Datawrapper charts
  • Google Charts: Create different types of charts, from simple scatter plots to hierarchical treemaps. Here is a word tree about librarians that I created as an example (scroll over and select individual terms):


  • Google Drawings: Create drawings in Google Drive by selecting NEW.


Polls and quizzes


Polling / Web-based Student Response Systems

  • Polling @ McGill
  • Socrative: Easy to set up a poll and for students to join in with the code provided.
  • Poll Everywhere: The free higher education plan allows for 25 responses per poll.
  • Mentimeter: Easy set up and use on a mobile device with 2 free questions per presentation.
  • Miro: Polldaddy rebranded as Crowdsignal and then Miro



  • Penzu: Students can write journals reflecting on their learning.
  • Twine: Open source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories. Also used to build games.


Students can present artifacts as evidence of skills, knowledge and achievements in electronic portfolios. The portfolios can remain private, be shared with a teacher for assessment purposes, shared with peers, or made openly available. Blogs or other tools, like Evernote, can be used to create portfolios but there are dedicated e-portfolio applications. Learn more from the ePortfolios for learning blog.

  • Mahara: Widely used open source option (single sign-on capability with Moodle).
  • PebblePad ($): Can be implemented by an institution, allowing students to maintain free accounts after graduation.


Students can be supported to make apps.

Bottom of the page bonus: Periodic Table of Visualization Methods


See the full bibliography for works consulted.

Almeida, Nora. (2016). "Podcasting as pedagogy" In: Pagowsky, N., & McElroy, K. Critical library pedagogy handbook: Lesson plans. Chicago: ACRL.

Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415. (PDF)

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