Skip Sub Menu

Academic Technology Resources

ITS Supported Technology

Below are links to resources to help you work more effectively with some of the commonly used ITS-supported technology for teaching and learning.

Blackboard Learn (Learning Management System - LMS)

Blackboard Learn is an academic and community-based content management, collaboration, facilitation, and distribution platform. It’s primarily used as a communication tool and as an access point for resources for student learning.

It can be used for:

  • posting documents
  • creating learning modules including content and assessment
  • collecting student-created content

It is directly connected to many other academic tools available on campus including:

  • Panopto (video content management)
  • audience response systems
  • textbook ancillaries
  • online classrooms
  • Portfolios
  • secure browser for assessment
  • plagiarism detection software

To get started, please see Blackboard for Instructors: Where Do I Start? (The instructions refer to several different views. Currently at Drake we use the Ultra Course View). If you have experience using our LMS, you might consult Preparing your Blackboard Course for the Semester (How-to). If you need additional assistance, submit a Blackboard Learn Ultra Request via our IT service portal.

Blackboard Collaborate (Web Conferencing)

Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing is an application for moderating classes, meetings, office hours, or other group collaborations where participants can share whiteboards and screens, chat by voice or text, and/or engage in other ways like taking polls and answering questions.

To get started, please see the information at Getting Started with Blackboard Collaborate Web Conferencing. If you need additional assistance, get help by submitting a Blackboard Ultra Learn Request via our service portal.

Blackboard Portfolio

Portfolios are an invaluable tool in academic and professional development. They provide a powerful medium for users to efficiently collect and organize artifacts representative of work completed over time.

Portfolios offer a means to demonstrate formative and/or summative progress and achievement. Portfolio authors are empowered with tools to effectively present their information in a cohesive, personalized format. Begin developing personal portfolios, take a look at Creating and Working with Blackboard Portfolios for Users (How-to)

To learn how to set up pre-prescribed templates for portfolios, instructors and leaders should look at Setting Up Blackboard Portfolios for Instructors/Leaders (How-to). Once a portfolio is complete, the goal is to share it with others If you need additional assistance, request assistance by submitting a Blackboard Learn Ultra Request via our service portal.

ITS Support

ITS Knowledge Base and Service Portal

The ITS Knowledge Base is an online library that provides instructions and directions for using a variety of on-campus services. Available 24/7, the Knowledge Base allows self-service support for faculty, staff, and students.

Technology and classroom-related issues can also be submitted via the ITS Service Portal. Using the Service Portal instead of email or other methods of communication ensures that ITS staff have the relevant information to resolve your issue promptly and that your request is directed to the best resources in ITS.

Access to both the Knowledge Base and Service Portal are available at and via MyDrake.



Mathematica is a symbolic mathematical computation program, sometimes called a computer algebra program, used in many scientific, engineering, mathematical, and computing fields. Features include instant dynamic interactivity, high-impact adaptive visualization, symbolic interface construction, load-on-demand curated data, image and audio processing, neural networkings, 3D printing, and tools for connecting to DLL, SQL, .NET, Java, C++, CUDA, HTTP, and Open CL based systems.

To get started, please see Downloading and Installing Mathematica (How-to).

Online Test Creation

Instructors can create online tests to assess student mastery over course content and objectives. In online tests, instructors create questions, identify answers, and assign point values to questions. Students submit their attempts online for grading. Once the results are recorded, students can also view their grades online. Instructors are responsible for learning how to create, grade, and troubleshoot online tests.

To get started, please see Best Practices for Online Testing for Instructors (FAQ). Then share Best Practices for Online Testing for Students (FAQ) with your students.

For additional assistance with creating online tests, submit a Blackboard Learn Ultra Request. If you need help troubleshooting an issue, please submit a Blackboard Learn Ultra Issue.

Panopto (Video Content Management)

Panopto is a video recording and distribution platform. It is primarily used for:

  • recording lectures
  • flipping classroom content
  • collecting student-created content

It is directly connected to our Learning Management System (LMS) Blackboard Learn. This connection makes the distribution of content easily available across multiple courses. To get started, please see Configuring Panopto for a Course (How-to) or request additional help by submitting a Media Services Consultation via our IT service portal.

PollEverywhere (Audience Response System)

Poll Everywhere supports the transformation of one-sided presentations into two-way conversations with the audience.

This web-based audience response system lets you embed interactive activities, including competitions such as trivia questions, directly into your presentation or class meeting. The audience responds on the web or via SMS texting on their phones. Before your meeting or class, you create the questions, customize the look, and determine how your audience can respond. During the meeting or class, you ask your question and invite the audience to respond by visiting a webpage or texting. Afterwards, you can download the reports, analyze the results, and share them.

Learn more about how to get started with PollEverywhere Audience Response System (Clickers) for Instructors (FAQ).

Remote Teaching and Learning

Choosing Tools for Delivering Distance Learning (Best Practices)

Preparing for Distance Teaching and Advising (Best Practices)

Learning Online or Distance Learning (Best Practices)

Qualtrics (Survey & Research)

Qualtrics is a simple to use, yet robust, survey tool to conduct survey research, evaluations, or, to collect data, and is free to use by Drake faculty, staff, and students. It is easy to set up a survey within minutes even if you have never used Qualtrics previously. Qualtrics is also mobile compliant, making it a smart choice for in-class surveys. Results can be exported directly to a wide variety of file types or displayed online in real time for an external audience.

To get started, please see Getting Started with Qualtrics (How-to) or to get additional help, please submit a Qualtrics Consultation request via our service portal.

Respondus LockDown Brower (Computer-based Proctored Testing)

Respondus LockDown Browser™ is a customized browser that increases the security of test delivery in Blackboard Learn. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser™ to access an exam, they are restricted from the ability to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications without permission. Once an assessment has begun, students are locked into it until it has been submitted for grading. For a complete list of features, visit the Respondus web site at

Before you can use LockDown Browser, you will need to create online tests on Blackboard Learn. See the Online Test Creation section for more information.

Respondus LockDown Browser™ is not intended to replace the browser used by faculty or students for accessing Blackboard Learn. Respondus LockDown Browser™ is only intended for use by students while taking assessments that have been prepared for use with Respondus LockDown Browser™.

To get started, please see Using LockDown Browser™ (Digitally-proctored online tests) for Instructors (FAQ). Then share Using LockDown Browser™ (Digitally-proctored online tests) for Students (FAQ) with your students.

SafeAssign (Originality Detection Software)

SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works. SafeAssign is effective as both an educational tool and a plagiarism deterrent. Instructors use SafeAssign to create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase, and to review assignment submissions for originality. It is directly connected to our Learning Management System (LMS) Blackboard Learn.

To get started, please see Use SafeAssign in Assignments or to request additional help, please submit a Blackboard Learn Ultra Request via our IT service portal.

Software Downloads (for Drake-Owned Computers)

Drake provides self-service access to software which is licensed by the university. There are applications for both Windows and Macintosh computers which serve as our university app store. Instructions for how to access these resources are listed below. 

Software Center (Windows computers only) 

Using Software Center (How-to)

Self-Service (Apple computers only) 

Using the Self Service App (How-to) 

Wireless Projection

Drake has a wireless projection system being rolled out campus-wide as rooms are updated. It allows faculty and students to connect wirelessly to classroom projection without having to rely on imbedded technology.

To get started, see: 

WordPress (Faculty Publishing)

WordPress is the platform that is used for our faculty publishing environment. The faculty publishing environment provides faculty members with a website that can be used to publish and share research interests, or information on special projects.

To get started with a new site, please submit a request for a Faculty WordPress New Site Consultation via our IT service portal. If you would like to request help with an existing site, please submit a request for Faculty WordPress Site Assistance. Additionally, there is a curated list of WordPress resources available at WordPress Training Resources.

Zoom (Video conferencing)

Zoom is an application for moderating classes, meetings, office hours, or other group collaborations where participants can share whiteboards and screens, chat by voice or text, and/or engage in other ways like taking polls and answering questions. 
To get started please see the information provided via our Zoom knowledge base articles.

Other Technology Options

Below are links to resources on teaching and learning technology that aren't ITS-supported, but are recommended by ITS staff.

Remind (Texting Tool)

This tool allows you to send quick, simple messages to any device—for free – without revealing personal mobile numbers for your class, group, or just a single person. It also offers the ability to schedule reminders ahead of time and have them sent automatically. Additionally, you can attach files and photos, and receive read receipts. As a part of the service, you can also include information that lets students know the best times to reach you.

To learn more about Remind and why you might want to use it in your classroom, visit For a further discussion of texting your students, see this article from

Speech to Text Options

If you have a personal computer with a recent operating system, you likely have access to dictation options. Dictation technology built into operating systems has existed for some time. The built-in voice to text will work for many use cases, but your experience may vary. Each dictation tool takes some time to learn your speech patterns. In addition, it will take some time before the speaker is comfortable with the chosen system's verbal cues for punctuation and other formatting. Below are a few options to try.

  1. Built-in dictation services by Computer Operating system:
  2. If you need to purchase a more robust solution, the best option is DragonDictate. Drake University does not have a license for this so you would need to purchase an individual or departmental license. Please visit the DragonDictate website to learn more about the application and about their educational pricing.
  3. Finally, you can use Google’s free tool built into Google Docs by starting a new doc and the choose Tools > Voice Typing. This works best in Google's Chrome browser.
Faculty/Staff Development Opportunities