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Instructional Technologies

The CTL helps members of the Columbia teaching community effectively integrate instructional technologies in their teaching practice. Faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and staff can get advice, training, and support to experiment with a rich portfolio of online platforms and digital and media tools to turn classrooms into active spaces for learning.

On this page:

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Get Support

Send inquiries to ColumbiaCTL@columbia.edu or contact the learning designer assigned to your department.



Columbia’s learning management system, CourseWorks, is at the center of many instructional technology activities. CourseWorks is supplemented and enhanced by other tools that support a range of instructional objectives, such as tools for online collaboration, presentations, lecture capture, audience response, media annotation, and electronic portfolios.


EdBlogs make it easy to share course content and create an online community using a blogging format. EdBlogs provides a blog for any course offered at Columbia University upon the course instructor’s request.

Ed Discussion

Ed Discussion is a Columbia-supported communication, discussion, and Q&A platform that is integrated with CourseWorks (Canvas). Ed Discussion combines Question, Post, and instructor Announcement threads into a single interface, and offers tools to help instructors and students keep class discussions and communication organized and easy to access, even for large courses!


Gradescope is a tool designed to streamline and standardize the grading of paper-based, digital, and coding assignments. Gradescope allows for handwritten assignments to be graded digitally, and for multiple graders to collaboratively develop and implement their grading rubrics. It supports problem sets and projects as well as worksheets, quizzes, exams, and papers.


LionMail includes LionMail (Google) Drive which provides unlimited file storage, as well as access to Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms. All these document types offer multiple collaboration and sharing options

Locus Tempus

Locus Tempus is an open-source mapping platform developed by the CTL. It facilitates map-based learning activities across disciplines by engaging students to act as repository builders, researchers, and curators. Locus Tempus features tools for annotating maps, inviting collaborators, and analyzing data spatially and temporally. The platform integrates with CourseWorks, allowing Columbia instructors to easily set up assignments for their courses.


Mediathread is an innovative platform built by the CTL that supports close analysis of video, audio files, and images that are gathered from a range of online sources or individual collections. Course-specific Mediathread sites allow instructors to create and track a range of assignments that ask students to link claims to specific evidence in media objects. Mediathread allows students to make selections of these objects, incorporate these selections into essays and discussions, and share insights with the instructor or the rest of the class. 

Panopto Media Service

Panopto is Columbia’s media platform featuring full storage and streaming functionality for audio and video content. Panopto supports recording and live streaming of classes and other events and can be integrated with CourseWorks/Canvas and other services through LTI integration. Panopto is particularly useful for flipped classroom, lecture capture/review, and online programs.

Poll Everywhere

Audience Response Systems (ARS), including Poll Everywhere, are used in classrooms of all sizes to engage participants by facilitating interactions among the students and the instructor. Instructors use audience response technologies to communicate with learners and collect feedback on questions. Learners respond to these questions using their own web-enabled devices, such as a phone, tablet, or laptop computer.


QuizCon is a tool that was developed by the Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning to extend the utility of online multiple choice quizzing. Using Confidence Weighted Multiple Choice questions, which is discussed in more detail here, QuizCon aims to improve the multiple choice quizzing experience for both students and teachers.

Zoom Video Conferencing

Zoom features full video conferencing functionality, breakout rooms, Canvas integration, and support for Android and iOS mobile.

Do-It-Yourself Media

Creating Effective Educational Videos

Video has become an important component of many flipped, blended, and online classes, but ensuring that videos are helping students involves taking a deeper look at video design and production. The key to designing effective educational videos is to begin with clear instructional intentions and follow research-based design principles. Instructors should consider general principles explained in this resource.

Video Production Best Practices

This page takes instructors through the process of setting up, recording, editing and publishing video recordings, and provides other technical considerations for creating active and engaging classroom experiences using video. While these best practices are meant for recorded presentations, they are also helpful for conducting Zoom video sessions.

Tools for Do-It-Yourself Video

With the right content preparation, camera and audio setup, and a little bit of editing, instructors can create their own educational videos. This resource recommends tools that are easy to use and generally free or low cost, some of which are available for instructors to try in the CTL’s Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Video Station.

Do-It-Yourself Recording Studios

The CTL’s Do-It-Yourself (DIY) studios at Butler 204 and CUIMC are available for instructors who wish to create recordings for their courses using equipment that is a step up from typical laptop options. The studios are quiet and private spaces outfitted with cameras, lighting, microphones, backdrops, and necessary software.

Support Resources

See also Resources and Guides.

Case Consortium @ Columbia

The Case Consortium @ Columbia includes a collection of over eighty multimedia case studies covering a range of topics in fields such as journalism, public health, and sustainable development.

CTL Knowledge Base

A collection of CTL information available for problem solving.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) is an online training resource that offers videos on business skills, IT skills and desktop skills.

Teaching in All Modalities

CTL has created resources to help instructors transition to in-person teaching, as well as teach in hybrid/HyFlex, and online formats.

The CTL researches and experiments.

The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning provides an array of resources and tools for instructional activities.