Useful Applications for Online Learning

Since I teach quite a few online courses, I am always looking for applications and websites that can be used as resources for my students as well as myself.  I thought I would write about a few of my favorites that I often recommend or use personally.

My absolute favorite application is a free one called Overdrive.  It is an application that works with Iphones, IPads and android devices.  It is basically an interface program that works with most public library systems across the country.  With the application you can log into your local library and borrow e-books, audio books, music and movies.  Just like a regular library you must return the material at the end of the lending period, so you don’t get to add the book to your personal library.  The application is free and borrowing from the library is free.  The Broward County Library system is quite robust and although I may occasionally have to wait to get a best seller – they almost always have every book that I want.  I download them to the application on my cell phone and listen while I drive to and from work each day.  I have also borrowed ebooks on my IPad and read them.  I love having multiple books with me when I travel all contained on my mini IPad.  Since I read all the time, this is my favorite application and one that I use every day.

My children often use Quizlet to make flash cards to study and they recommended the application and website to me.  Like Overdrive, it is a free application and I have developed a couple of “classes” for our IO program.  The “classes” are really just folders for multiple people to build and share flashcards.  A number of IO students have created flash cards to study for the comprehensive exam.  Quizlet allows you to study from the cards themselves or play a variety of games.  You can share your flash cards with others or keep them private if you like.  You can access them on your computer or on a smart phone or tablet which makes it easy to study something like vocabulary anywhere when you have a bit of time.  Quizlet has recently added a feature called diagrams and you can upload or create your own pictures or diagram to use with the learning games that are already built into the program.

Mindly is a mind mapping application that is also free, although you may need to upgrade to the paid version if you really want to use it to study for multiple classes.  Mind mapping is a way to form visual associations with related constructs – something that can really aid in learning and retention of complex information.  The program allows students to create quick summaries, organize concepts and constructs and study.

Lastly, I often recommend Grammarly.  The free program doesn’t work well, so you would have to pay to use this service and it is over $100 for a year subscription.  However, I have used the program and think that it is one of the better grammer checkers out there.  Since so many graduate students struggle with writing, I think it can be a useful tool.  I especially like the feature that describes the error, provides the rule and then a correction.  This program doesn’t catch all grammatical and usage errors and it doesn’t have the ability to check for APA formatting, but I think it is useful for some students.


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