June 28, 2018  |  Purdue University Global
17 Tech Tools for Online College Students: Boost Productivity and Better Manage Your Time

Not too long ago, it was next to impossible for students to go to college while working a full-time job and meeting family obligations. But online education has changed this; technology allows millions of people to achieve educational goals which they had once considered impossible.

While online learning provides flexibility and convenience, it does require discipline—perhaps even more discipline than on-campus programs. Why? Because it’s so easy to let other issues get in the way of logging in and doing the work.

Fortunately, technology is continuously providing tools that students can use to better manage their time and limit distractions. Let’s review 17 tech tools that can help online students be more productive.

Embrace Project Management Tools

Instead of trying to manage everything in your head or on a calendar, put on your project manager hat. Meeting your milestones—due dates—will be critical to your success. Take advantage of some of the following tools to help you manage your time wisely (some are specific to coursework; others you can use to organize personal life and college studies together):

  • myHomework–This app is an option for students who want a tool solely devoted to school. No more student planners—now you can use your favorite devices to stay organized. Free and paid versions are available for iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, Kindle Fire, and Google Chrome browser.
  • Todoist–Todoist gives users a platform where they can manage multiple tasks—school, work, personal—and assign a task to its corresponding project. Students with busy family lives or hectic work schedules can put everything in Todoist to get a clear overview of all their tasks and deadlines. Todoist can be used in a desktop browser or on a smartphone or tablet. Students are also eligible for a discount off the Todoist Business plan.
  • Trello–If you enjoy a "drag and drop" environment, Trello may be the tool for you. Trello is flexible—simply organize your coursework and other projects in the way that works best for you. Use Trello board to manage schoolwork and have a list of cards for each class. When an assignment is complete, drag that card into the completed list. Trello can be used in a desktop browser or a smartphone app. A free version is available, but users can upgrade to a paid plan for more features.

Get Rid of Digital Distractions

The next thing to conquer is digital distraction. Don't let temptations waste your time and derail your studies or homework.

Set up a room in your house or find a place where you can focus. Turn off or silence your phone. If you need a little help with focus, these tech-blocking tools may help:

Clear Your Head

Sometimes technology isn't the distraction—maybe you need help clearing your mind. Try these tools designed to help enhance focus.

  • Unstuck–This is a digital coach to help you when you're feeling stuck.
  • Chegg Study–Chegg provides study tools for college students, including a community of subject experts.
  • myNoise or Noisli–These white noise apps block aural distractions and help focus thoughts.

Upgrade Your Note-Taking

There are two areas to consider when it comes to making note-taking more efficient: taking the notes and the time needed to organize them.

These note-taking apps make your efforts more efficient:

  • Dragon Dictation–This software can dictate your notes to your computer.
  • DragonAnywhere mobile app–This version is a good fit for people who aren't speedy typists.
  • Rocketbook–This smart notebook lets users write notes by hand but access them online. There’s no need to type your handwritten notes; just upload them to the Rocketbook app and share with your favorite note management app.

These apps can help keep your notes organized:

  • Evernote–This app enables you to take notes on one device and access them on another. Evernote is available to use via mobile app and desktop.
  • OneNote–This Microsoft app works similarly to Evernote and is available across a variety of devices.

Stay on Top of Important Updates

Services such as IFTTT.com and Zapier can help ensure you see essential notifications from your Gmail account (among other useful ways to leverage these services).

  • IFTTT–Receive a text when a Gmail email arrives from a certain person, such as a professor or project group.
  • Zapier–This Gmail integration allows you to select the option to send an email for specific Twitter keywords.

Additional Resources From Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global is dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. We offer several resources for students, including personalized student support, a large student and alumni network, and a comprehensive digital library. Purdue Global is on your side every step of the way.


About the Author

Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized, world-class education online that's tailored for adults. We offer 180 programs, including associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees as well as certificates, in areas such as business, IT, education, health sciences, nursing, criminal justice, and more.


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