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Class is in session––anytime, anywhere––these days. Many online institutions offer myriad forms of communication, tools, and platforms to keep online learners in the know as they complete their degree or dig deeper into continuing education. Here’s a closer look at some of the coolest features that help both students and teachers succeed semester in and out.
While social media remains a popular way to connect with peers, online forums create a way for students to mingle and discuss courses, assignments, and other pertinent information. It also provides an extra outlet for students to get answers to questions from fellow students or their professors.
Eliademy allows teachers to build forums and other features like quizzes into their course offerings. The free, advertisement free platform is optimized for all mobile devices so students and teachers can get connected no matter where they are.
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InYourClass allows students at Stanford University and The City University of New York to find out what’s going on at their school as well as create clubs or events.
Online quizzes and tests can help students pinpoint areas of improvement, based on subject or skill. Making time to use assessment tools can help learners gain extra practice outside of their normal class work or ongoing projects.
Khan Academy gives users free access to over 5,500 video assessments on a wide range of subjects including English, Math, Science, Economics and Finance, Fine Arts, and Computer Science. The free website features easy sign in via Facebook profile, and also lets students prep for undergraduate and graduate-level standardized tests.
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Read Theory features over 1,000 free reading assessments, allowing users to read and think more critically than before. Appropriate for students of all ages and reading levels, the beta also allows readers and writers to hone their skills for standardized tests including SAT and GRE.
In a traditional school situation, students would gather at the campus library or coffee shop to review class notes or collaborate with students. Online education leans heavily on individual learning. When students need to connect with others, based on differing schedules or backgrounds, it can be problematic for non-traditional or busy students.
Knodium is a UK-based personal learning network that allows students to connect with peers and teachers based on subject. Users can create and find individualized hubs for projects or course modules 24 hours a day.
Over the years, e-mail has yielded to social media platforms in terms of digital connection and communication. Now, sending important messages––and ensuring users receive those messages––has become difficult for both traditional and online learning institutions. Social engagement tools can help disperse announcements and get feedback from users instantly.
ConnectYard sends alerts and reminders out to users across e-mail and various social media platforms. Users can manage alerts and subscriptions on their end and take advantage of easy scheduling through vCard or iCalendar attachments. The tool can also track user engagement and offer rewards to students based on their level of participation.
Learning independently can leave many students feeling disconnected as they move through their coursework. One-on-one interaction with teachers or tutors inspires confidence and helps students better understand their current assignments.
GotIt is an on-demand tutoring app that allows users to instantly connect with tutors offering their expertise on a variety of subjects, including English, Chemistry, Calculus, Spanish, and ESL to specialized learning, such as coaching for students with ADHD, or specific skills, like resume building. Users can search for tutors by subject or check out hourly rates on their android or iOS devices.
Being a student is a full-time job, and having the tools to get started off on the right foot can lead to a satisfying experience, whether the student is still deciding which college is right for him or what his goals are once his degree is complete.
CollegeMapper is a website that helps potential students find the best college for them based on their current skill set. Students can search and apply for over 2,000 scholarships and compare colleges before sending out applications.
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Glints allows students to apply for internships and entry-level jobs based on their current experience and degrees. This free website allows users to apply for over 500 jobs in Singapore and California. Once a profile is created, users can follow each application for their preferred internship, job, or part-time gig.
Continuing education can give employees an edge in a competitive business world. Corporations can use online platforms to enhance and build on the skills their teams already have, while focusing on new training initiatives.
OpenSesame features 21,000 courses in 200 corporate subjects. Businesses can pay for courses by the seat or buy a year-long license for long-term use. Subjects covered include general business skills, safety, compliance, and technology. Users can also earn software or technology certifications.
Learning dashboards can offer both primary and college-age students and teachers a way to better visualize progress through a semester through a mix of reports and assessments. Depending on the age of the learner, students or their parents can review the data gathered via the dashboard.
Canvas is currently used in over 900 universities, and offers online discussion boards and a designated place for extra content such as pictures and videos for students to access during or after class. Educators can customize Canvas to their course needs and include other apps in the process.
Unlike the pen and paper gradebooks of the past, super gradebooks can offer students a deeper level of feedback from teachers than before. Educators can analyze one or multiple students’ performance. Utilizing a super gradebook platform also means teachers can intervene earlier, helping students address issues head on.
BrightBytes offers solutions ranging from individual educators to full school system or government coverage. UCertify allows teachers to create personalized tests or quizzes to help students address learning roadblocks. Students experiencing problems are highlighted in red for easy visualization.
Transcripts and teacher-parent conference notes don’t provide a complete picture of a student’s strengths. By starting a data backpack or e-Portfolio, students and their parents can track their progress from elementary school up through high school graduation. The digital backpack also allows teachers to learn more about students on the front end of a new semester, from their learning styles to areas of growth and improvement. Since 2005, the Data Quality Campaign has worked towards making student data available to teachers to increase grades.
Many public school districts such as Manassas City Public Schools have launched digital backpack programs on their websites to prepare students for online learning in college and beyond. Granby Public Schools uses digital backpacks to wrap in other important content, so no handout or announcement goes missing.