NEW: Check out our 2022 publication below

Schlosser, L., Hood, C. E., Hogan, E., Baca, B., & Gentile-Mathew, A. (2022). Choosing the Right Educational Technology Tool for Your Teaching: A Data-Privacy Review and Pedagogical Perspective into Teaching with Technology. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 51(2), 236–251. 

Our Project

Infusing educational technology into your classroom can be a wonderful way to boost student success that might otherwise take a lot of time and energy. However, choosing the right tool to expedite certain tasks in a targeted way can be tricky.

At the OTL, we want to support instructors by providing tools that can help you to make informed decisions as you discern the best educational technology tools for implementation in your classroom, while also mitigating data privacy risks for you and your students.

We have generated a catalogue of OTL-reviewed technologies aimed to evaluate an array of available teaching tools for their safety, uniqueness of functionality, accessibility, and whether they are highly effective in achieving innovative pedagogical goals. This catalogue includes a list of technologies within each phase of our stoplight rating system. Each rating stems from a robust review of data-privacy concerns and pedagogical understandings. 

Table of Contents

Our Goals

The OTL does not accept legal liability or responsibility for the use of any of these tools as adopted by instructors. Please refer to the Educational Technology Stoplight ranking system below to better understand the risks related to student privacy and relevant local and federal regulations, and consult the official DU Tech Review process through IT for those technologies that are supported by the university.

Due to the constantly changing nature of privacy policies and technology features, this is a living document. We will strive to monitor and maintain records to the best of our abilities, continuing to add, change, and update as needed. At minimum, all DU-enterprise level (Blue) technologies should undergo a full IT Technology Review every 5 years and an OTL privacy and pedagogy review every 3 years. 


Our Educational Technology Stoplight ranking system.

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Which technology makes sense for your teaching practice

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Technologies in our Knowledge Base.

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Stop Light Rating System

red stoplight

Red technologies are not supported by DU. DU does not accept the liability for the use of these tools. DU also does not offer technical support. Instructors using this tool need to be aware of the liability in regards to FERPA standards and other relevant student privacy regulations.

Red Technologies

  • Discord
  • Slack 
yellow stoplight

Yellow technologies are not widely supported by DU. DU may or may not have a 3rd party vendor security agreement for the use of these tools. However, some uses of this tool may be appropriate for teaching if certain conditions are met. DU does not directly offer technical support, but may consult on pedagogy. Please check with your department around processes for meeting relevant student privacy regulations

green stoplight

Green technologies are appropriate for teaching at DU. The tool does not pose a risk to student privacy or FERPA regulations. DU does not directly offer technical support, but may consult on pedagogy. 

blue stoplight

Blue technologies have cleared the rigorous DU technology review process, obtained a FERPA agreement, and DU has accepted the liability for the use of these tools. DU offers technical and pedagogical support, as well as institutional licenses for the use of these tools to staff and faculty. Tools may also offer integrations with other technologies. 

Pedagogical Choices

The following color content blocks highlight various educational technology tools aligned with pedagogical choices, like collaborative learning, formative and summative assessment, and other means of engagement. Click through the cards to identify which tools might support your ideas and practices for teaching and learning. On the backside of each card, you can easily learn if the tool is already integrated into Canvas and head over to the individual knowledge base article that goes into more depth about how to adopt the tool in your practice. For support with choosing the right tool for your teaching, consider scheduling a consultation with an Instructional Designer or Faculty Developer in the OTL. 

Tools for Supporting Collaboration


Perusall is an online social annotation tool for students and instructors to leave comments and engage in discussions around course readings and other instructional materials.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

Explore Perusall as a collaborative tool to engage in course readings for all teaching modalities.
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Packback is a social learning discussion platform designed to flip the traditional, instructor-led discussion, so students ask the questions.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

Explore PackBack for building online community by allowing students to generate, respond, and interact with one another through questions and discussions.
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Canvas is DU’s primary learning management system for all academic courses. Canvas can be used to facilitate online discussions, submit student assignments, host learning materials and syllabi, and support collaborative learning.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

Explore groups in Canvas to facilitate group projects, group assignments, and group discussions for all teaching modalities.
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Tools for Creating and Sharing Content


Kaltura and Zoom both allow DU faculty, staff and students to create videos and screencasts, audio voice overs, and an optional camera view of the presenter.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

Use Kaltura or Zoom to record videos covering course lectures, create screencasts showing students how to use a particular technology, or develop video instructions for assignments and activities.
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UDOIT Accessibility

UDOIT is a course wide accessibility checker in Canvas that scans your course, generates a report of accessibility issues that could impact students' ability to learn, and provides resources and suggestions.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

Use UDOIT to check the accessibility of any Canvas course!
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Microsoft 365 OneDrive

OneDrive can be used to create Cloud assignments where instructors can create editable templates in programs like PowerPoint, Word, or Excel, that can be shared with students using Canvas.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

Use OneDrive Cloud assignments to create a PowerPoint gallery showcase of student work, create collaborative note documents, or develop editable templates for students to interact with.
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Nearpod is an online tool that allows you to add interactive elements to your PowerPoint slides and pre-recorded lecture videos.

❌ Not currently integrated with Canvas

Use Nearpod to add mini games to gamify PowerPoint presentations or create short knowledge checks between topics covered in a lecture.
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Tools for Formative and Summative Assessment

Top Hat

Top Hat is an active learning and engagement platform that provides the ability for instructors to incorporate interactive content, create interactive slides, graded questions, videos, discussions, polls, and more.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

Explore Top Hat as a student response system, to manage real-time formative assessment in face-to-face courses.
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Mentimeter is a presentation tool that uses quizzes, polls, and word clouds to engage students for in-person and virtual classrooms.

❌ Not currently integrated with Canvas

Explore Mentimeter by having students submit responses to real-time conversations and create a word cloud out of their responses.
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Brainscape is a cloud based adaptive flashcards platform. The tool is designed for learners who must ingest a lot of knowledge into their brain over time, specifically naming its success with preparation for midterm and final exams.

❌ Not currently integrated with Canvas

Brainscape is a great option for creating flashcard style study tools and is especially useful for courses that require memorization of lots of terms/concepts.
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Tools for Presenting and Reflecting on Learning


Digication is an ePortfolio platform that provide students with a space to reflect on their curricular and co-curricular experiences, curate evidence of skills, and display their knowledge through media.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

This tool is great for developing a final project, making connections across courses or academic experiences, or presenting a cumulative portfolio of work related to a program or course experience.
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Flip is a video discussion platform to help faculty and students engage in dynamic conversations about course content.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

Explore Flip for interactive video discussions in online courses.
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Harmonize is a media-rich online discussion tool that allows students to communicate, interact, and engage with one another.

❌ Not currently integrated with Canvas

Explore the tool for language courses to allow students to practice oral communication skills, adopt real-world discussion prompts, or create a space for digital community building.
Learn More


Kaltura is a campus-wide video management system for faculty, staff and students.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

Consider using Kaltura to create video assignments for students, provide video feedback on assignments, and more!
Learn More

AI Tools for Learning


Turnitin is a plagiarism detection and prevention tool that compares student work to an online database to help identify potential instances of academic misconduct. It generates Originality Reports, has an AI checker, and provides space for feedback and annotations on student submissions.

✅ Integrated with Canvas

TurnItIn can be useful when checking the originality of student work and to provide feedback on submitted assignments. However, It should be used carefully and responsibly.
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ChatGPT is an advanced AI language model designed to understand and generate human-like text based on the input it receives from users.

Not currently integrated with Canvas

ChatGPT can be used as a study aid, writing support tool, language practicing tool, and support for generating ideas, among others. It can also be used to help generate prompts and rubrics, lesson plans, and outlines for teaching materials for instructors.
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Grammarly is a digital writing assistant that offers grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style suggestions to help users improve the quality and clarity of their written communication.

Not currently integrated with Canvas

Grammarly is a useful tool for helping students with lower-order writing concerns, and can help them refine their writing, catch sentence-level errors, and compose more professional written work.
Learn More

Interactive Tools for Engagement


Kahoot! is a digital game-based student response system that allows teachers and learners to interact through competitive knowledge games using existing infrastructure, like students’ smartphones.

Not currently integrated with Canvas

Use Kahoot to create fun study games, check students' knowledge on assigned readings, or develop exit tickets students respond to before leaving class.
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Peardeck integrates with Microsoft Office to help teachers create engaging PowerPoint content that fosters deeper student engagement for lectures.

Not currently integrated with Canvas

Peardeck allows teachers to create quizzes directly in PowerPoint and displayed in real-time.
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Padlet is a digital bulletin board that is collaborative and interactive where you can create a single or multiple “walls” for various posts.

Not currently integrated with Canvas

Padlet is useful for running virtual icebreakers, creating a space for group collaboration, or setting up a virtual brainstorming or general questions space for your class.
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Flippity is a website that offers a multitude of free games. Each game comes with instructions and a template with sample data already included that can be swapped out with course information.

Not currently integrated with Canvas

Use Flippity to create gamified knowledge checks, develop study tools for midterms or final exams, and help students with memorizing important concepts.
Learn More


  • Our reviews are conducted from the student-privacy perspective, therefore our information may not be accurate in terms of instructor account creation. We encourage you to read additional privacy policy documents or consult with an Instructional Designer before adopting the tool for your teaching if you are concerned about instructor data privacy. 
  • DO NOT have students create non single-sign-on (SSO) logins to access platforms. You are encouraged to use tools that integrate with DU software (i.e. using FlipGrid within Canvas) and tools that do not require student account creation (i.e. Kahoot!).
  • Please consult with an Instructional Designer or Technologist about grading and assessing student work via educational technology platforms. You are encouraged to only assign grades/assessments through enterprise technologies, like Canvas and Kaltura. 

It is the policy of the University of Denver to evaluate the institutional risk and financial impact of all technology-based business or administrative applications prior to their implementation. The OTL’s technology review allows for additional evaluation of educational technology by focusing on student privacy concerns from the pedagogical perspective. Technology that DU considers “enterprise” allows DU to assume responsibility and confirm that FERPA regulations are met. Technology that is not considered “enterprise” does not have a formal agreement between DU and the software company, adding to potential security risks. 

To submit a tool for the IT technology review, return the tech review form to

To submit a tool for the OTL technology review, email

All technologies that meet minimum criteria in our review can be found in our Educational Technology Knowledge Base. To see which technologies fall under each stop light rating, click on the lists next to each rating above. 

To schedule an appointment with an OTL staff member, use our online booking system or email