Find out how to use collaborative tools in your teaching, so that students can work together online.

How to set up collaborative activities

You may want to set up collaborative activities for your students to complete with their peers.

These types of activities can be used in all teaching settings and provides students with a useful resource to refer back to once they have completed the task.

You could choose to provide students with a blank document for them to contribute to. Or you might want to create a more structured environment by providing prompts, questions or categories within the document to guide students through the activity.

To do this, there are a range of different interactive collaborative tools you can use, including Padlet, Microsoft 365 and Google Docs.


A Padlet wall is a shared collaborative space where you and students can post a range of content, including:

  • text
  • video
  • audio
  • file uploads
  • photos and videos from a webcam
  • voice recordings from a microphone
  • screen recordings
  • drawn doodles
  • GPS locations.

You can choose from a variety of layout options for different activities.

A link to Padlet can be added to Canvas pages, discussions or announcements. You can also embed Padlet into Canvas pages. Padlet is not currently supported by IT Services.

Self-study Padlet course

For more guidance, see our self-study course called Padlet for Staff.


Important: Padlet is working on making its platform fully accessible, but it does not yet meet international WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standard. If you use Padlet in your teaching you should have another option for collaboration for any students who are unable to use the platform. Care should also be taken that the wallpaper and colour schemes chosen in Padlet do not disadvantage students who are partially-sighted or have a colour vision deficiency.

See Padlet’s statement on accessibility and find out more about designing your teaching resources for accessibility.

Creating an account

We have an institutional licence for Padlet. If you need an account email

This license allows teaching staff to:

  • create unlimited Padlets
  • upload files up to 250MB (10 times more than with a free Padlet account)
  • avoid Ads.

For more help, sign up for our Padlet self-enrol course.

Microsoft 365

The online versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel allow you to collaborate online in real-time. All staff and students at Sussex have access to Microsoft 365 through their Sussex login.

As well as being able to download Microsoft 365 for personally-owned computers and mobile devices at no cost, staff and students also have access to OneNote.

How to use Microsoft 365

Use the training guides below:

Google Docs

Similar to Microsoft Word online, Google Docs allows you and your students to collaborate in a shared document in real-time. Staff and students can use their Sussex account details to login to Google in order to use Google Docs. Google Docs is not currently supported by IT Services.

How to use Google Docs

See the Google Docs training and help - G Suite Learning Center for help on how to use Google Docs.

Teaching considerations

All of these tools can be used to facilitate collaborative teaching activities, including:

  • discussing questions
  • uploading artefacts they have created in response to a question/brief
  • the creation of a shared resource bank.

See more from Teaching tools