This summer I decided to give a touch of technology to my class, but without spending money. I knew and have used Moodle , probably the most popular educational platform, so I performed a simple search that tipped me to the site freemoodle.org where you can host a class for free, provided it is open to everybody. I requested and was granted permission to create a course.
So far, the experience has had its ups and downs. On the lighter side, I can tell you Moodle is a great tool. You can upload any kind of material: text, video, audio, photo, pdf, word, excel, ppt, Hot Potatoes, links, YouTube, you name it! Then, the functionalities it offers are improving all the time. Right now, you can create online quizzes where you can determine the timing of the test, the kind of feedback you give, and then the score goes directly to the Grade Book so your students (and you, with the downloadable grade book facility) can have the record of grades at hand. There are other tools available for the curious teacher who wants to spend some time exploring the platform.
On the other hand, the time you spend on creating a course might be a problem. Specially if you are not familiar with the tool: you have to learn the ropes first! Then, you have to really become a pain in the neck with your students to get them to use the tool. Happily I have achieved this, but there still some who are waiting to the last moment to come an say: Sorry, teacher, I didn´t know. You know what I mean!
Another tool I am using (again really) is Markin4. This free programme lets you mark written texts by inserting notes and commentaries into it. Then you save the corrected work in a browser compatible file and send it to your student so s/he can see the feedback. You can ask your students to write a composition, send it to you on the email and when you got it, you copy/ paste it onto the Markin4window and viola! You are marking the text online.
I hope you find these tools as useful and exciting as I have. I assure you will be fascinated!