Instructional Technology Planning/Support

Most higher education institutions support a mix of traditional (face-to-face), online, and hybrid course offerings and consequently must support a range of enabling instructional technologies. focusEDU  instructional technology planning consultants can help design systems to support this complex mix.

Online or distance education should be viewed generically as a method of serving students who cannot be in the same room at the same time as the instructor.  Online education is enabled by whatever technologies can allow the course developers, instructors, and students to achieve the instructional goals and objectives of the course.  The most powerful solutions combine both synchronous and asynchronous technologies.

Some of the primary enabling technologies for online education include:

  • Enterprise-level Learning Management Systems (LMS), such as Canvas, Blackboard, or Desire2Learn, enable the creation and distribution of course content, secure quiz and gradebook functions, asynchronous and collaborative work tools, etc.
  • Web conferencing systems, such as WebEx, Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, Microsoft Teams, or Adobe Connect, enable effective synchronous audio and video interactions.
  • Streaming media systems, such as Panopto, Kaltura or Microsoft Stream, enable secure, effective, and efficient multimedia content sharing. The ability to download, store, and remotely replay multimedia content (for example, podcasts) is critical if the student population has limited or no home access to reasonable Internet bandwidth.
  • Courseware authoring systems, such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Presenter, and TechSmith Camtasia, enable the creation of multimedia and interactive learning objects. The ability to download, store, and remotely replay interactive content is critical if the student population has limited or no home access to reasonable Internet bandwidth.

Important considerations to successful, sustainable instructional technology solutions include gaining constituent buy-in and providing formal, ad hoc, and just-in-time training and reference resources to instructors and students on the full range of the institution’s systemic instructional technologies, as well as 24×7 technical support to instructors and students.

Distance/distributed education can be defined in terms of the relationship between the teacher and learner relative to space and/or time.  This relationship defines a two-by-two matrix that classifies the range of instructional technologies appropriate for each specific modality of instruction.

For each of the four quadrants defined by that matrix, the range of instructional technologies relevant to teaching and learning in that niche should be carefully examined in terms of which are currently being deployed by the institution and which hold future promise.  The four quadrants address technologies that support:

  • Local/Synchronous
    • Presentation
    • Engagement
    • Collaboration
    • Lecture Capture
  • Local/Asynchronous
    • Computer Classroom Management
    • Supervised Testing System
  • Distant/Synchronous
    • Video Conferencing
    • Web Conferencing
    • Other Collaboration Systems
  • Distant/Asynchronous
    • Presentation
    • Collaboration
    • Interaction
    • Support

Note that some technologies can span multiple quadrants in support of remote instruction and the HyFlex model.  focusEDU’s instructional technology planning consultants can help your institution analyze and articulate its instructional technology goals and ambitions, and develop successful, sustainable, systemic solutions.

Woman using headphones for web conference
man annotating graphics on instructional technology
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instructional technology matrix by time and location


focusEDU consulting firm was able to offer us both their expert insight and excellent proposition based on a review. The report was comprehensive and detailed and was helpful for our strategy.”
University of Colorado - Denver
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Rush University
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