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The Center for Teaching and Learning

Teaching with Technology

This website has been retired. Please visit the website of
The Center for Teaching and Learning

Blackboard | Blogging | Wikis | Podcasting | Electronic Portfolios | Databases and Clearinghouses

How has the Internet altered the teaching and learning landscape? Answering that question requires some experimentation with (and reflection on) Internet-based instructional technologies. To help get you started, the list below provides quick details on some readily available Internet-based tools used in teaching.

Be sure to visit the Ed Tech Lab website, for support and more information on instructional technologies.

And watch this space for upcoming developments on the topic of teaching online. In the meantime, read a working draft of guidelines for teaching online at Queens College, authored by the Academic Senate's Special Committee on Technology and the Library:

    Teaching online at Queens College: definitions and recommendations (January 2009)



CUNY's course management system is Blackboard.

  • Blackboard is a university-wide resource, therefore access is controlled by the CUNY Portal, and your user ID and password will likely be different than what you use to log in to other Queens College online tools.
  • Blackboard can be used to post syllabi, handouts, and readings; keep an electronic grade book; deploy surveys, quizzes, or tests; collect and return assignments electronically; host electronic discussion boards or chat sessions; build password-protected blogs and wikis; and much more.
  • Classes scheduled at all CUNY campuses have a corresponding Blackboard area, visible ("available") only to the instructor by default.  Too change the availability of your course, from the Control Panel, go to the course's Settings and look for the link to the Course Availability area.
    • Enrolment information is updated daily.
    • Student profiles on Blackboard include their Queens College email address; students check their Queens College email at, an address slightly different from that for faculty webmail access.
  • Blackboard organizations are suitable for creating and maintaining a "behind closed doors" online environment for clubs, departmental or program groups, and committees, for example.
  • For more information, see
  • A new version of Blackboard is coming to Queens; for details on the transition to Blackboard 8, to view online tutorials, and sign up for workshops, see


BloggingBlogging at QC

A blog (short for web log) is an electronic diary posted on the Internet, and usually created with software that requires little programming expertise. This technology is making its way into education because it promotes, among other things, good writing, active learning, and information literacy.

Blogging at QC is an initiative of the Writing Across the Curriculum program and the Center for Teaching and Learning. QC blogs are created with the software Movable Type.

  • Movable Type blogs for QC classes are set up with blogrolls linking all student blogs to each other and to the instructor's blog.
  • The software is very flexible, and blogs can be created to serve many of the functions of a course management tool or an e-portfolio tool.
  • For more information on Blogging at QC, see, where you'll find basic information on blogs and a tutorial on how to use the software.
  • See also weblogg-ed, maintained by blogger and educator Will Richardson.

Blackboard users at Queens College have an alternative to the Movable Type blogs. Blackboard has a blog tool (as well as a wiki tool---see below), created by Learning Objects.

  • To access a course's blog on Blackboard, click on Course Tools.
  • Activating and modifying access and other features of Blackboard blogs is done through the Control Panel.
  • A blog can be "added" to any Blackboard page, when in Edit mode.
  • Blackboard's blogging tool is a great way for beginners to experiment with blogging, as well as for blogging projects requiring a password-protected environment.
  • For documentation on Blackboard's blogging tool ("Journal LX"), see Journal LX Online Help.

Other blogging projects around CUNY:



A wiki (from wikiwiki, meaning "quick" in Hawaiian) is a website or a webpage that can be edited by anyone accessing it. A well-known wiki is Wikipedia, an encyclopedia whose entries are written and regularly edited and updated by its readers.

Wikis lend themselves extremely well to collaborative writing projects, not only because they facilitate producing multi-authored pages, but also because wikis keep histories of a page's edits. A wiki is, by design, a collaborative work in progress, progress that can be tracked back to its earliest stages and that can be added to by anyone. For an introduction to wikis in the context of education, see:

Lamb, B. (2004) Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 5 (September/October 2004): 36-48.

Blackboard users at Queens College can experiment with Blackboard wikis, created by Learning Objects.

  • Just like the blogging tool, wikis on Blackboard can be accessed from Course Tools.
  • Activating and modifying access and other features of Blackboard wikis is done through the Control Panel.
  • A wiki can be "added" to any Blackboard page, when in Edit mode.
  • Technically, Blackboard blogs and wikis differ primarily in that the latter display the history of a page's edits, while the former do not.
  • For documentation on Blackboard's wiki tool ("Teams LX"), see Teams LX Online Help.



A podcast is a syndicated series, delivered via the Internet. Typically the content is audio, but it can also be video.

Podcasting is a useful way to disseminate recordings of lectures. For example, the instructor records and uploads files, and the students subscribe to a syndication feed that automatically delivers new files (and deletes old ones) to a computer and/or a portable media player.

Queens College has been peripherally involved in a CUNY-wide project on rich media. The work of the CUNY-wide group is documented in two places:

The QCPodsblog also offers some possibly useful information about podcasting.


Electronic Portfolios

As the name implies, an electronic portfolio (or digital portfolio) is the virtual version of the real thing. An electronic portfolio might contain information about a student's progress through an academic degree alongside samples of the student's work and discussion of future objectives. An electronic portfolio might include writing samples, summaries of projects, and reflections on progress. These are assembled and organized inside a web-based interface that might incorporate a variety of file types including text, images, and sound.

Blackboard users at Queens College have access to a tool, ExpoLX, which can be used to create an electronic portfolio. 

  • Login to Blackboard.
  • At the top-right of the Home tab, click the Modify Content button, and search for Expo LX module.  Select it, and click Submit. This will add a content module called Expo LX to your Blackboard Home tab. (You might have to scroll down to find it.)
  • Click My Expo Site to view and configure your Expo site, using the toolbox (at the bottom of the right panel):
    • add new site: add a blog or a wiki (or both); these will be linked to from the sites area (top right);
    • manage sites: configure sharing options for your sites;
    • manage profile: configure information displayed about you;
    • export: create a compressed archive of your Expo site, for use elsewhere.

The Center for Teaching and Learning is currently exploring options for streamlining the creation of electronic portfolios for Queens College students. Watch this page (and our News blog) for future developments on this front, or track our progress by visiting the QCePortfolios blog.


Databases and Clearinghouses

These groups all share an interest on promoting the use of technology in higher education, in both online and face-to-face instruction

MERLOT, Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, online teaching and learning materials and advice
Internet Scout Project, online materials for educators, librarians, and researchers; The Scout Report is a weekly publication listing brief reviews of Internet-based resources
EDUCAUSE, association promoting the intelligent use of information technology in higher education
Sloan-C, a consortium that focuses on online education