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DH Tools for Remote Teaching in the Context of COVID-19

DH Tools for Remote Teaching in the Context of COVID-19

A network visualization of high frequency terms in the blogpost “Thoughts & Resources for Those About to Start Teaching Online Due to COVID-19” made with Voyant.


Digital scholarship tools can increase engagement in online classes and help move group work and discussion beyond the message board. We have assembled some of our favorite tools for use in online classes.

Disclaimer: Moving a class online rapidly calls for agility and simplicity. Use these tools if you, as the instructor, feel comfortable with them and confident that they will add to your class–avoid them if they will increase confusion or stress for your students. Please also keep accessibility in mind as much as possible. More information on accessibility in online teaching is available from Mapping Access.

Additionally, be mindful of student’s privacy when choosing online tools and platforms. Tools listed below are all non-proprietary and trusted within the digital scholarship community. More information about privacy and online teaching available from the Library Freedom Institute here.


Group annotation:

This is a great way to encourage discussion and group work beyond the message board. is a free annotation tool that can be used to collaboratively annotate any text, anywhere, on the web. It also has a web-app so that it can be used directly in Canvas or other LMS systems. 

Here is the getting started guide for educators.

And a guide for getting started using Canvas. 


Collaborative Timelines:

TimelineJS is a simple tool that uses google sheets to generate media rich and dynamic timelines, that you can then embed on a course site, such as canvas. 

Copy the TimelineJS template, and share the sheet with your class, or with small groups, and have students build a story collectively. 


Text Analysis:

Voyant (used to make the visualization above) and Lexos are both free web-based tools that can be used to look at text in new and novel ways. Have student’s load a text, either a file or URL, and then explore output visualizations. Both allow you to upload multiple texts to compare, and both allow visualizations to be exported allowing students to post their work and reflections in Canvas or elsewhere. 

Text analysis visualizations can be confusing for beginners, so allow exercises to be open and experimental.


Additional Resources:

The HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) community has great resources regarding online instruction in the context of COVID-19, including this blog post (used to make the visualization above) by Jaqueline Wernimon, and this one, on how to create a free collaborative group for your class. 

More resources for online teaching in the context of COVID-19 can be found on this google spreadsheet, maintained by Sarah Laiola at Coastal Carolina University.

FIU’s COVID-19 Libguide is available here and COVID-19 Academic Continuity Planning information available here.

Have questions about any of these resources? Schedule a remote session with the Digital Humanities Librarian.