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Collaboration Tools

Students engage more deeply with course content when they build their own collections of materials (text, image, media, etc.) When building, evaluating, and discussing collections as a group, students improve their critical thinking, digital literacy, and professional collaboration skills. We are currently piloting several collaboration tools, with each offering different possibilities.


We are excited to be adding Perusall to our collaborative tool pilots for Fall 2016. With Perusall faculty can assign textbooks, articles, or PDFs. Students then annotate the readings and asynchronously respond to each other’s comments and questions about the readings in context. With novel data analytics, Perusall automatically generates optimal student groupings and social interactions, grades students’ engagement to ensure they are prepared for class, and nudges those who need help to keep everyone on track. One of our favorite features of Perusall is the “confusion report” that indicates to faculty which areas of assigned texts students are having difficulty with.



VoiceThread is a tool for engaging students in asynchronous media-rich conversations via text, audio and video that can be integrated into Moodle at UMass Amherst. 1000 student and instructor “seats” are available annually on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact the Instructional Media Lab (instruct@umass.edu | 413-545-2823) to get the credentials you will need to integrate VoiceThread into your Moodle course. Once you receive those credentials, follow the steps on Add an External Tool to your Moodle Course.

For questions and help with using Voicethread in Blackboard, contact OE eLearning (facline@oe.umass.edu | 413-577-3434, Option 1).

Apps at UMass Amherst

Use Apps at UMass Amherst, a customized version of Google’s online collaboration tools, to share files, edit documents, facilitate team-based projects, maintain class calendars, and create course sites: Apps at UMass Amherst