Using Posterous, Reily said, lets course instructors set up a collaborative blog that students easily can share. Instructors will receive an eMail address for that blog and can share it with all course participants. Then, anyone can share any content simply by eMailing their content to the eMail address. Posterous is easy to navigate on mobile devices, and Reily said students often complain that the wikis and blogs embedded in online courses are not easy to use on mobile devices.

Reily said she has explored using group texting with some of her online students, but many are a bit hesitant to give out their phone numbers for frequent class use.

“I find that interesting, when so many … are daily texters,” she said. But when students are willing to provide their cell phone numbers, Reily uses a handful of tools to send students reminders, study help, and polling questions.

Cel.ly, GroupMe, and Remind101 are all tools that course instructors can use to send group reminders.

StudyBoost offers a quick review in the form of flashcards, or quick quizzes via text message.

Poll Everywhere is a phone-based polling tool, but offers open text capabilities, which students can use for brainstorming or questions. Embedding an open text poll into an online course management system is great for synchronous feedback, but also gives students something akin to a brainstorming whiteboard that they can access and contribute to using their cell phones.

Other mobile-friendly polling tools include SMS Poll, Socrative, and WebSurvey Creator.

“One of the best things about online learning is how flexible it is,” Reily said.