Coffee CourseDigital Content

Apps, platforms, and open web tools

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There are a multitude of apps and platforms for teaching and learning out there that seem too good to be true – free, easy, friendly, and fun! Many promise to engage students and improve their learning at (almost) no cost, and offer more flexibility than the tools commonly found in the institutional learning management system. These apps can be very beneficial to student learning, but can have strings attached or lead to serious problems if not careful.

This course will help you navigate these murky waters, so you can effectively integrate apps, platforms, and third-party tools into your teaching practice. It will explore the benefits and challenges of these tools, and help you critically evaluate platforms so you can choose the right one for your students. This course will investigate the privacy, assessment, policy, sustainability, and cost implications of using third-party apps, and look at some popular apps and how to apply them in your teaching practice.

There are 4 blog posts, one per day, that will take about 15-20 minutes to work through.

All are welcome

We welcome all staff, including tutors, demonstrators, professional staff, and academics at the Australian National University and beyond to join us for this course.

How to participate

The entire course will be conducted online, at your own pace through this blog. We encourage you to make a cup of coffee or tea and work through the material. Each post includes an activity or discussion question for you to respond to in the comment section of the blog.

Be sure to subscribe¬†to the blog (scroll down to the bottom, enter your email address and¬†click on the red¬†Subscribe¬†button).¬†If you use an RSS reader you can¬†subscribe to the blog feed¬†as well. You’ll receive an email each time a new post is made, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


  • Day 1 – Choosing the right tool. The choices can be overwhelming! This post will explore the pros and cons of using your institutional LMS or third-party apps and open tools, and when and why to use each.
  • Day 2 – Policy, privacy, and assessment. This post will unpack some critical concerns for using apps: Are you allowed to use it? Who owns the data? And how do you assess it?
  • Day 3 – Sustainability, openness, and cost . Going outside the LMS can have a significant impact on workload. This post will consider how to use apps in a sustainable and cost-effective way.
  • Day 4 – Cool tools – and what’s the catch? What’s your favourite education app? Let’s explore some of the “cool tools” out there, and take a look at how they measure up.


Photograph of Facilitator Rebecca NgRebecca Ng¬†is a Learning Technologist with the ANU Online team. She describes herself as a ‚Äúpartial cyborg‚ÄĚ as she believes that technology has changed the way she thinks and approaches her daily life. More importantly, it has changed the way we perceive and learn. Hence, she is interested in researching new pedagogical approaches that can effectively integrate different technologies to support higher education.


Photograph of Katie FreundDr. Katie Freund is a Senior Learning Designer in ANU Online. Katie advises academics on eLearning design and initiatives, researches innovative solutions in education technology, creates digital media resources, and trains staff on Wattle (Moodle) learning management system and other digital tools for teaching and learning. She is also a researcher in education technology and digital communication.




Please feel free to contact with any questions.