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Five Online Resources to Improve Distance Learning 

If you are anything like me, online classes have made you less productive. Due dates are difficult to remember and motivation is hard to find. Below I have listed a few online tools that have helped me over the past few years in hopes they will help you too. 

Grammarly is already quite popular due to its aggressive marketing campaign. Still, this website is a must if you intend on writing at all this semester. Even using it for emails can beneficial. Everyone messes up on occasion, and unlike us journalists, most students do not have a copy editor on-call. Grammarly’s free version will catch a grand majority of those basic mistakes. It is not perfect so do not take its advice as gospel. But it will save your ass every now and then. There is a premium version that detects more advanced issues, but it’s not worth the expensive monthly subscription. Just stick to the free version, it will get the job done. 

If your computer’s webcam is a bit dated, or if you want to look a bit more spiffy during class, DroidCam is here to help. This app allows you to use your phone camera as a webcam while on calls. There is a free version available but I recommend springing for the five-dollar premium version. It unlocks high definition streaming and a couple of other helpful tools. DroidCam is only available on android, but iVCam Webcam is a solid alternative for apple users. 

Hemingway App is another great free tool for student writers. Unlike Grammarly, Hemingway App focuses on making your writing as readable as possible. It will highlight unnecessary phrases, pesky adverbs and weak verbs. It will make your writing more understandable and assertive. All my essays and articles get repeatedly checked through this site so I based this recommendation on ample experience. Use this site injunction with Grammarly and your writing will improve. 

Like most things in college, calculators are not cheap. TI-84s, the bare minimum for any college math course, will cost at least $100. Wabbitemu is a free workaround for that with the app emulating every version of the Texas Interment line of calculators perfectly. I’ve been using this since high school and have never had any issues with it. My friends have even often mistaken my phone as the actual calculator while using it. Your teacher probably would not have allowed this in class before, but with distance learning, that may no longer be an issue. 

You most likely already have a preferred note-taking app—I use Google Docs or Evernote. However, that is not my recommendation. Padlet is an online cork board and is a straightforward program for making quick little notes to your future self. The notes can be texts, but you can also post documents and files. It can also be shared with a friend which can be helpful if you have a project together.

This listicle is not going to solve all the problems that came with our online switch. It will make some things easier, but things may still be rough regardless of the efficiency of your online workstation. There are plenty of other online resources to increase optimism between classes. I encourage finding your own. I enjoy playing Scribbl.io and Catan Universe with my friends between assignments. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself in addition to your grades. 


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