Making use of online apps and group-editing tools can enhance your scholastic performance or bog you down in hard-to-operate, poorly conceived projects. Here are some sure-fire tools to bring out the best side of your research.
Have you ever lost an important file on your computer? Do you own outdated, sluggish word-processing software or just want to improve your current one? Go to Google Docs and open a free account. It’s a user-friendly, auto-saving, very Word-like processor you can access from any internet connection — which, by the way, gives you about 1,000 GB of free space. Simply log on and get to work. It’s also excellent for sharing all types of information, and maybe one less reason to lug a laptop all day.
Evernote.com is our new favorite note-taking and sharing tool. As with Google Docs, you access it online. Just open a free account and start typing. This is ideal for students who are sharing notes, collaborating on projects, or who just want to have an easy note-taking app to complement their Facebook addiction.
College means getting serious about your time-management skills, and Rainlender can help you evolve into the organized adult you were destined to be. While there is a ton of calendar and scheduling apps available, we recommend Rainlendar (rainlendar.net) and Google Calendar (google.com/calendar). Try more than one and then decide which you like best.
One of the best ways to complement your coursework is through webcasts or podcasts. Fora.tv is an excellent source not only for intelligent, unmediated video lectures and conferences from the worlds’ top universities, but it also provides access to public and private forums including some of the world’s most prominent academics, historians, and experts. Stream it anytime you need to pump up your grey matter.
Another excellent way to access additional lectures in your course of study: webcast.berkley. Completely free-of-charge, the site offers a full range of courses every week in podcast format. You could take a 16-week course on World Civilizations from beginning to end, or courses in higher math, philosophy, etc, in the same 16-week podcast format.
Say you’ve got a research project on Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost. Hint.fm will distill its central themes, main ideas, or even its most commonly used phrases, and lay them out for you in a diagram. Hint.fm is a forum for visual tools, like word clouds and tag trees. Visual info is the future. Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself. •