9 Essential Apps to Help You Survive Your Online Classes

Online learning is both a convenience and a challenge. It gives you a great deal of flexibility…but with that freedom comes great responsibility (to quote Eleanor Roosevelt). When you study online, you need dedication, self-discipline, and likely many cups of coffee. Thankfully, there is a lot that technology can do to facilitate learning, and keep you organized. Behold, all of the apps you will ever need as an online student in one definitive ranking! (Unless you discover others, in which case, please share!)

1. MyHomework
You might think: “I’m taking an online course, so I can do whatever I want whenever I want, right?” Wrong. Online courses are notorious for sneaking in multiple due dates throughout the week. Frustrating, eh? Multiply that by three classes and…well let’s not even go there. With the help of MyHomework, all of your classes and assignments can be organized in one convenient location.

*Note: If you’re a Colorado State University student, the Canvas learning management system has a built-in feature that functions similar to this. Find more info about Canvas features here.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Kindle Fire
Similar apps: Chipper, iStudiez Pro, Studious

2. Evernote
Trust me when I say that you’re going to want to take a lot of notes in your online classes. You’re also going to want to organize said notes. Enter, Evernote. Take ALL the notes and organize them into notebooks and entries. Evernote also syncs b-e-a-utifully with all of your devices—start a note on your computer, finish on your phone—modern technology at its finest.  Full disclosure: this listing was compiled using Evernote.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac
Similar apps:  Simplenote, SquidNotes, Onenote

3. Dropbox
We’ve all been there. By the end of the semester, your computer is completely bogged down with all of the documents you’ve created. Or your computer has crashed causing you to lose EVERYTHING including your final paper. Or your work just gets lost in the ether that is your “My Documents” folder. Well, meet your new best friend, Dropbox. Store files in the cloud and never lose anything again. You can even configure documents to automatically save to Dropbox avoiding the hassle of logging on to upload every new version—set it and forget it.

Cost: Free (up to 2 GB)
Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Kindle Fire
Similar apps: Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, Box

4. EasyBib
Term paper due in the morning and you’re stressing about your reference page? Repeat after me: EasyBib. EasyBib allows you to scan your paper for missing citations and unintentional plagiarism errors. The free citation generator allows you to format your bibliography for MLA, APA, Chicago, and 7000+ styles. Cite from 59 content sources that range from books and journal articles all the way to live performances and newsletters.

Cost: Free (Basic and Mobile Version), $9.95/month (Plus)
Available for: Windows, Mac
Similar apps: JabRef, Bibme

5. SelfControl
No matter how much you want to finish your work, Facebook will always sound better. If you lack self-control, there is literally an app for that. You can add certain sites to a “blacklist” for a designated period, during which time you won’t be able to access them. WARNING: Consider this a last resort. If you finish early, you won’t regain access to your blacklist during the time you indicated, and there’s no way around it. Not even uninstalling the app. Not even restarting your computer.

Cost: Free
Available for: Mac
Similar apps: Freedom, StayFocused, Cold Turkey

6. Any.Do
There’s a good chance you have a busy life in addition to your online courses. To-do lists are probably the only way to keep your peace of mind. Any.do is a great way to take your list obsession to the next level. Organize your lists by category, time, date, and location. If you’re not a list person, Any.do does a good job of turning you into one with the daily Any.do Moment.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Siri, Alexa, Slack, Google Assistant, Chrome (pretty much everything)
Similar apps: Trello, To Do, Awesome Note

7. Mendely
Somewhere along your academic journey, you probably will be doing research. Mendely allows you to organize and share your research and keep your stress level (relatively) low. You may love it so much that you’ll consider getting a Ph.D.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, All Browsers
Similar Apps: Zotero, EndNote

8. Doodle
Online courses do not exempt you from group work. How is that even possible? Doodle, that’s how. Organize an online meeting of your peers instead of worrying if and when your classmates will do their part. Not that that’s anything you’ve ever worried about.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Google, Outlook, Slack, Zoom
Similar apps: PollUnit, Google Meet, calendly

9. Zoom
Now that Doodle has helped to plan your online meeting…you have to meet. With Zoom, you can video chat with anyone and set up meetings with up to 100 people. Most professors are on Zoom, so if you’re one of those students who utilize every minute of office hours, this app is for you.

Cost: Free
Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac
Similar apps: Google Hangout, Oovoo, Skype

Tell us how these apps work for you, and be sure to share this list with others!

This post was updated on 8/27/2020.

1 thought on “9 Essential Apps to Help You Survive Your Online Classes”

  1. Abel Journeyman

    Just wish to say your article is great, and timely too. The clarity in your post
    really shows your expertise on Online Education.

    With your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with
    forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

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