The University of Toronto supports a variety of instructional technology tools which are used alongside the Learning Portal (Blackboard). These are known as "The Academic Toolbox" because they have been vetted for usability, pedagogical alignment, enterprise scalability, security, best practices and interoperability (more...). Usually the university has entered into a formal contractual agreement with the providers.
Third party instructional technologies represent new and unproven systems which instructors may want to explore since they involve new forms of teaching and learning.
If you are considering using a third-party teaching tool, please consider the following:
- Is there a tool already in the academic toolbox or elsewhere at U of T which supports your goals, that has been vetted for best practices?
- Does the third-party tool integrate with the Learning Portal? If integration is important, or many instructors are requesting the tool, a review must be conducted.
- Is the student data stored in the cloud? Our learning community needs to ensure students feel comfortable opting-in or opting-out based on informed consent of the risk-benefit. We also need to be vigilant that service-providers honour end user agreements. Review the cloud based instructional tools FAQ (CTSI website) and, "Piazza Statement for Instructors".
- Does this tool cost students money? Review the Provostial Guidelines on the Use of Digital Learning Materials. Most students are on a budget; how much will it cost and does it fall within the limit? In this connection consider if this tool might be bundled with a course pack or if a subscription can serve more than one course in a program.
See also 'Tools Beyond the U of T Portal'
U of T is fully committed to instructional practitioners exploring new methods with students.
Please contact Brian Sutherland or Adon Irani at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information, if you are considering the use of a Third Party instructional tool in your course: we can help!