Back to School, but Virtual

Learn more about some valuable tools that students can utilize to make their online learning experience more bearable!

With universities across the globe making the great shift to virtual learning, it is now more important than ever for college students to be aware of the valuable tools out there for them to utilize in their virtual learning experience. There are an abundance of apps, programs, and resources that provide students the ability to organize themselves, create presentations, assist their studying routines, and overall, make college life a little easier. 


For example, the free mobile app “University Visitors Network” is designated for parents, prospective and current students, as well as visitors. The app provides information regarding important phone numbers, GPS directions to campus, GPS campus tour, listing for nearby restaurants and other businesses, admissions information, university top points of pride, student information and additional facts about the university.


A helpful tool for creating beautiful presentations is Prezi, a free online, interactive alternative for PowerPoint. This tool allows for the user to include images, videos, text, audio, and play with an array of visual and graphic creative options. Prezi creates a pathway like presentation that guides the audience through the information as it playfully zooms in and out in an interactive fashion.

Another helpful tool that allows for students to create professional-looking visual representations in minutes, without having to learn new software, is Canva. Canva allows for users to select their preferred template among more than 20 types of graphs, incorporate their data, add illustrations, and adjust fonts and colors. App users can download, share, or publish a high-resolution display of their data that is easy to understand.


When it comes to visualizing thoughts, GoConqr is a mind-mapping tool that makes mapping out tasks and notes easier than ever. It is perfect for visual learners as it displays the relationship between different parts of a problem to understand it.

An extremely helpful study tool, Quizlet is a flashcard making app and website that also creates quizzes, practice tests, and matching games based upon the information that the student inputs. Quizlet also allows for students to connect and collaborate virtually as they have access to other Quizlets that other students have created in the past.

Collaborative Virtual Learning

Meetings have gone virtual, and it is important for students to become familiar with the tools that their courses are using to connect online with. Zoom is a popular communications software that allows for up to 100 participants to meet for free and chat. Google Hangouts is another virtual meeting program that first came out in 2013. In 2017, Google launched an enterprise-friendly version that focused on business solutions and video conferencing under the name Hangouts Meet. There are a multitude of virtual meeting tools available, and whichever the students’ professor decides to use, it is beneficial for the student to learn how to successfully utilize this platform. 

The Importance of Stepping Away from Technology

As virtual learning, and online collaboration becomes the norm, it is also important for students to be aware of the benefits of writing, learning, and studying outside of technology. Studies have shown that the act of writing itself can reduce stress, which assists in improving focus and attention. In addition, when students write by hand, it increases memory and retention. The physical act of putting pen to paper activates areas of the brain that help students increase their comprehension, as it involves more senses and motor neurons than when typing on a keyboard. Balance is key when it comes to being successful in virtual learning. Knowing when to take a break from the computer, and when to use it to one’s advantage is vital. Learning in this environment is more of a hybrid between virtual and physical learning, picking and choosing from both aspects to create the healthiest, most beneficial learning experience. 

Going to college in the digital age, and facing the switch to going virtual, students can benefit from the host of online resources that are right at their fingertips. These top productivity tools can help students stay focused and make the most of their time, rather than serve as a distraction. Online resources have revolutionized education as they make the process of teaching and learning more interesting and memorable.

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