Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Online Engagement Tools (Education Technology)

Need assistance with your Online Course(s)?

View the UH Hilo Distance Learning Team website or email the UH Hilo Distance Learning Team at

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Distance learningWord Cloud

Are you teaching online? It's all about engagement. Simply loading your Laulima site with a ton of information won't provide an effective way for your students to interact with you. Interaction is the key. Students will engage if they feel that a real live person is responding to them, whether you or another student. Below are a few tools designed to improve student engagement and retention.

Recommended Applications (UH Hilo Campus Licensed)

  • Mac OSX - Preserves web links in converted documents
  • Conversion to PDF
  • Editing capability
  • Form creation
  • Most current version
  • Up to date accessibility tool
  • Online collaboration
  • Access anytime on any device

Screencast-O-Matic (SOM)

Screencast-O-Matic (SOM) Premier is screen capturing software.

SOM Training

  • Best for creating short videos and modules
    • Real time screen capturing
    • Video editing
    • Auto closed captioning


YouTube Screen capturing software

YouTube Training

  • Best for hosting videos
    • Easy to use
    • Accessible on most devices
    • Auto captioning
    • Auto resolution scaling to the end user's device (Desktop, tablet, and mobile devices)
    • Does not require specialized video codecs or software

VoiceThread (VT)

VoiceThread (VT): 2-way multimedia engagement software

VT Training

  • Best for lectures and student presentations
    • Creates interactive (2-way), asynchronous (recorded), PowerPoint like presentations
    • No screen capturing; requires complete videos, PowerPoints, Word, Photos, etc.
    • Videos created in Screencast-O-Matic (screen captures) can be uploaded
    • Auto closed captioning

Zoom Conferencing

Zoom is a widely used video conferencing platform.

Zoom Training

  • Best for synchronous (live) lessons
    • Works on Mac, PC, iOS, and Android

Augusta ADA Solutions

Augusta ADA Solutions offers automatic closed captioning software.

Augusta Training

  • Best for generating downloadable text captions
    • Recommended for creating transcripts for audio files
    • Not recommended for captioning videos

Other Applications


Video discussion platform

FlipGrid is a video discussion platform that allows students to record themselves on video, watch, and respond to classmates. Each class has its own account, which may be open or locked.

  • Great for discussions and groups
    • Responses can consist of text, images, video, Giphys, emojis, or attachments
    • Easy to use


Discussion platform

Padlet is an online virtual "bulletin board" where faculty and students can collaborate, reflect, share links, and pictures in a secure location.

  • Great for collaboration
    • Virtual "post-it" format
    • Student presentation alternative
    • Fun alternative to a discussion activity


Assessment and Quiz Tool

Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform that makes it easy to create, share, and play learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes.

  • Great for formal assessments
    • Excellent for increasing student participation
    • Exciting and Fun!


Diagramming tool

Lucidcharts is a visual workspace that combines diagramming, data visualization, collaboration, and mind mapping to accelerate understanding and drive innovation.

  • Great for explaining complex concepts
    • Process mapping
    • Brainstorming with mind maps
    • Real-time collaboration
    • Whiteboarding
    • Data visualization

Microsoft Whiteboard

Virtual Smartboard

Microsoft Whiteboard is an application designed to allow people to collaborate by drawing and refining ideas on a digital canvas (board).

  • Great for explaining formulas, equations, and diagrams
    • Virtual smartboard
    • Handwritten annotations and notes
    • Real-time collaboration
    • Recommendation: Capture lessons with Screencast-O-Matic Premier