Back to Top
Top Nav content Site Footer
University Home

McNichols campus library

IDS Supported Tools for Online Education

The Instructional Design Studio endeavors to provide Detroit Mercy faculty and students support and training in the use of a broad range of tools used in the development and pursuit of excellent online education experiences. It is impossible, however, for IDS to fully support all the software tools that could potentially be used to build and teach online courses. In an effort to provide the Detroit Mercy community with a deeper level of support, the Instructional Design Studio maintains a list of officially supported software tools. Focusing on a core set of tools not only allows designers to build a deeper comprehension of the features of each supported tool, it reduces students’ need to learn to navigate and manage multiple tools that serve the same purpose.


Faculty developing and teaching courses that incorporate online components are strongly encouraged to use tools listed below. These tools are fully supported by the Instructional Designers who are available to train and support both faculty and students in their use. More importantly, using a predfined scope of software tools provides a better experience for students. Adhering to a specific range of tools means students need not learn to navigate multiple tools with similar functions for different courses, allowing them to focus more fully on engaging with course content and activities.

Software tools on this list may not be available on all platforms. Though designers endeavor to select software that may be used by students with a broad range of technologies, some tools are only available to users on specific platforms. For example, while the list indicates iPads are supported, parts of Blackboard (e.g., online discussion) may not be accessible on an iPad.

The list is not fixed. Designers are constantly seeking out new software tools and evaluating whether they should be included on this list. As time goes on, some tools on the list may be replaced by ones that have better features or are more user-friendly. IDS will continue to support discontinued tools for as long as possible, but faculty using discontinued tools are encouraged to move to newer tools as soon as is reasonable.

Faculty interested in using off-list software tools must contact the Associate Dean for Instructional Technology before implementing these tools in an online course environment. The Associate Dean for Instructional Technology (ADIT) will determine whether the tool in question should be included on the list of supported tools or suggest currently supported tool that may meet the need of the course or program. After consultation with the Associate Dean for Instructional Technology, faculty may still use an off-list tool if the faculty member feels the supported tools do not fill the course’s specific needs. In so doing, faculty take on responsibility for providing students with any necessary training and support in the use of the tool.

The purpose of this discussion is three-fold:

  • First, it helps the Instructional Design Studio be more conscious of the specific instructional technology needs of the faculty and whether faculty needs are or are not being met by the current suite of available tools.
  • Second, it makes the Instructional Design Studio aware of what non-listed tools are being used and whether by multiple faculty members. Multiple usage could effect a decision to officially support a tool.
  • Third, it helps faculty become more aware of the tools already supported and the tools capabilities.

Specialized software is not included on this list. Many colleges, departments, and programs use software and tools specific to their subject area. This software is not excluded from use in online courses and need not be approved by the Associate Dean for Instructional Technology. Support for this software must be managed by the academic unit or ITS.

The Instructional Design Studio will do its best to support faculty developing course content regardless of the tool being used. Instructional designers will continue to assist faculty with all manner of software and hardware tools used to develop online course content. Faculty should be aware that the level of support for tools not included on the official list will vary.

Supported tools

Online Course Management + Delivery

Blackboard Learn

Pre-recorded Lecture Development

Microsoft Office 365 PowerPoint Record Slide Show

Microsoft Office 365 Stream Record Screen

Camtasia Studio (Windows / Mac)

Swivl Lecture Capture System

Pre-recorded Lecture Delivery

Microsoft Office 365 Stream (automated captioning)

Blackboard (link to video in Stream)

Audio Capture


Online Testing

Blackboard (test development and delivery)

Respondus (Word-to-Blackboard test conversion)

Respondus LockDown Browser (secure online testing environment)

Respondus Monitor (secure online testing environment with video capture)

Classroom Response System ("clicker")

Top Hat Classroom

Synchronous (Live) Classroom / Remote Office Hours / Online Meetings

Blackboard Collaborate

Microsoft Teams

Asynchronous Online Discussion

Blackboard discussion tool

Blackboard Messages

Microsoft Teams

FlipGrid (

Plagiarism Teaching / Detection

Blackboard SafeAssign

Online Assignment Collection

Blackboard assignment tool

Student / Course Blogs

Blackboard blogs tool

Online Journaling

Blackboard journals tool


Blackboard surveys (course-limited)

Microsoft Office 365 Forms (outside of courses)

Limesurvey (outside of courses, for highly customized surveys)

Student Group Work

Blackboard groups tool

Blackboard wikis tool

Microsoft Office 365 OneNote

Microsoft Teams

Student File Sharing

Microsoft Office 365 OneDrive

Microsoft Teams

Blackboard group file share

Student & Faculty Portfolios

Blackboard Portfolios

Wiki / Collaborative Authoring

Blackboard wikis tool

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Office 365 Word

Microsoft Office 365 OneNote

Web Browser

Mozilla Firefox

Google Chrome

Mobile OS 



Mobile Apps

Blackboard Student App

Blackboard Collaborate Mobile

Desktop / Laptop OS

Windows (7 and later)

Mac OSX (10.6 and later)

Document + Presentation Creation and Viewing

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Powerpoint

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Publisher

Adobe Acrobat

Off-hours Phone Contact

Google Voice

Mind-mapping / Brainstorming

WiseMapping (

Image Creation & Editing

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Fireworks

Pixlr (free web based image editor)

Permalink Last updated 08/02/2020 by R. Davidson

How can we help you?

Back to Top