Tools and technologies

Optimize student engagement in Canvas courses

Browse the categories below to find tools that might help students reach the learning goals you've set.  

Need help with technology? Call the Help Center, 24/7/365, at 855-278-5080.

ASU-wide tools

Note that the following tools are licensed by, contracted through, and supported by the ASU University Technology Office.

Here is a more comprehensive spreadsheet of what is currently available in Canvas, including pilots: Canvas Learning Tool Integrations spreadsheet


In Summer/Fall 2020, ASU switched from TurningPoint to iClicker. It is an enterprise tool (no cost to students). Find iClicker info here:


ASU is currently piloting Badgr, which integrates with Canvas for digital credentialing course competencies. Get started with a pilot here:

Document sharing

Google Drive

All ASU faculty, staff, and students have access to Google Drive through their Gmail addresses (accessed via MyASU). 

Google Drive is a cloud-based service for creating and storing Docs (similar to Word), Sheets (similar to Excel), Slides (similar to PowerPoint), Forms (a survey creation tool), and Sites (a website creator that can be used for portfolios).

Drive syncs documents and files across all user devices, enabling real-time edits that are automatically saved to the cloud. No more saving files to your device and emailing attachments -- simply share a link!  

Because multiple users may access Google files simultaneously, it's an excellent collaboration toolbox for instructors, students, and groups.

Video lecture and screen recording


Screencast-o-matic (SOM) is a screen recording tool available for ASU faculty, staff, and students. Quickly create and edit videos from your computer with the option of recording yourself, your screen, or both. See the installation instructions HERE.


Upload prerecorded videos to this hosting tool that integrates with Canvas. MediaAmp provides computer-generated captions that require instructor editing.

Student engagement and collaboration


Yellowdig is a social learning platform designed for higher education that integrates with Canvas. Many instructors use it instead of Canvas Discussion because of its capacity to build community among students. We have a 2-year enterprise contract for Yellowdig beginning Fall 2020; after that, academic units will likely need to purchase a license to continue its use (The College Dean's Office does not fund tool licenses).

Yellowdig guide - The College


Slack is a chat tool that integrates with Canvas; enables student collaboration, supports organized group channels and audio and video calls with screen sharing capabilities.

Watch: What is Slack?

Slack at ASU

Virtual office hours


Useful for small group meetings and online office hours.

Zoom Video Conferencing Overview

Zoom Resources

Launch ASU Zoom

Free online tools 

Note that though the following tools are recommended by ASU Instructional Designers, they are not typically licensed by or supported by UTO, EdPlus, The College, or academic units.

Data collection and visualization 


Links out of Canvas or embeds in Canvas. Instructors can create charts and diagrams to use as learning materials. Students can collaborate on drawing, revising and sharing charts and diagrams for assignments. 


Instructors and students can survey and collect, manage, and analyze experience data from stakeholders: customer, product, employee, and brand.

Tableau Public App 

Instructors and students can create data visualizations and publish them to the web/ Canvas. It also has how-to videos covering the following: how to use data sources, clean and analyze data, create interactive charts, and publish data visualizations.


Links out of Canvas or embeds in Canvas. Students can pin their location on a map as an introductions activity, or create, publish, and share interactive maps, construct dynamic visualizations of geographic information, and produce maps from Excel or Cloud Drive.  



Instructors and students can create digital flashcards and other gamified study tools. 

Graphic design


Canva is an easy-to-use graphic-design document creator using drag-and-drop functionality with access to countless templates, photos, graphics, and fonts. Instructors can create infographic learning materials; students can create posters, resumes, flyers, etc. It is used by non-designers as well as design professionals. Attach Canva files to Canvas or embed them. 



The free version links out of Canvas. Students and instructors can record short, authentic videos and can reply to each other’s videos. Instructors are 100% in control with video moderation, access controls, and much more.


Sign up for a free 4-day trial to create short animated videos using drag-and-drop functionality. The free trial gives you access to pro-level templates, animated characters, music, graphics, and fonts. You can purchase the tool after the trial for about $70. Creating a Powtoon can be time-consuming, but the payoff is big.

Tools supported by EdPlus

Note that these tools are licensed and supported by ASU Online for use in online degree program courses (oCourses) and iCourses cross-listed with oCourses. Some of these may also be licensed by other colleges within ASU, but are not licensed by The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 


Embeds in Canvas and allows instructors to insert comprehension quizzes within videos. 


Embeds in Canvas and allows students to add video comments on one another's slides. 


Video hosting service (an alternative to MediaAmp). For captioning see


Discussion tool that integrates with Canvas. Discussion on a social media-modeled platform designed for higher ed. Auto-graded; reduces instructor workload and requires very little instructor oversight

Interested in piloting a new tool in Canvas?

You have the academic freedom to use any tools you have access to, as long as they support ASU's mission and goals of inclusivity, and as long as they do not access ASU student data, research data, or business data.

However, before piloting a new tool, please consider the following:

Security Review Tools that access student data must undergo a security review and a procurement process, which includes a detailed contract, prior to deployment to students. Student data includes names, emails, ASUrite IDs, grades, and any other personally identifiable information per FERPA, HIPAA, etc. 

Accessibility and inclusion All tools should also be universally accessible and inclusive to culturally-diverse learners of all ages and abilities.

Cost If a tool or resource isn't adopted at the enterprise level for ASU-wide use, academic units or departments hold the responsibility of funding and contracting course-related resources, which would need to be worked into their annual budgets. (Note that The College Dean’s Office typically does not fund instructional tools and technologies.)

Disclaimer for adopting new technology

While innovative technologies have great potential for increasing student engagement, they require a fair amount of instructor troubleshooting to set up and manage.

If you brave the risks and adopt a new tool, and find it to be an asset, keep it in mind that technologies are always changing, so be prepared to adapt to a different plan on the fly.