Sunday, September 12, 2010

8 outstanding tools for grad students and profs

Here are eight of my favorite web tools -- each of these is helpful to me in my teaching and I believe all would be equally useful for students! Each of these tools has free access or a free version (some charge for upgraded versions).


Eyejot is a video messaging tool. I use this to send weekly messages to my interns -- we all like it -- a nice change from yet another email, and more personal. This is web-based, you don't need to download any software, just set up a free account, and as long as you have a camera on your computer, you're ready to go. Eyejot is perfect for quick communications between group members, study partners, and teachers and students. As it's just plain fun!

Doodle is an online scheduling tool. If you are working in a project or study group, chances are not everyone uses the same calendar program. Doodle allows you to set up a graphic of potential meeting times and then survey group members to find times that work for everyone. Doodle is easy to use, and will save you time.

Cacoo is an online drawing and diagramming tool. I have used it to create mindmaps for lit reviews and articles that I'm writing. I also created an APA decision flow chart. For visual thinkers, this tool is terrific for helping us to organize our thinking. This would also come in handy for making charts and diagrams for slide presentations.

I just started using Evernote, a note-taking and info-capturing tool. The thing I love about it is that my notes are stored in the cloud, so whether I've taken the notes on my laptop, ipad, or phone, the notes are all stored in the same place and then accessible from any device. In addition, Evernote indexes notes, which I'm sure will help me be more organized in the long run. Save a tree, use Evernote.

This is my favorite stock photo site. Search for anything from tea cup to teamwork and you will find free images that you can use for presentation slides, blogs, etc. We've all seen the standard images that are included with Powerpoint... time to quit using those and be more creative... your audience will appreciate the effort. As long as you aren't profiting from your use of the work, the images are free.

Writing and APA

Need a quick refresher on who vs. whom, or that vs. which? Grammar Girl provides quick and easy-to-understand grammar help.

Does the APA manual confuse you? Sometimes it confuses me. For more straightforward help, visit Owl, Purdue's online writing center.

While the APA manual can be difficult to navigate, the APA style blog is worth watching. Set up an RSS feed or add it to your google reader. APA experts post a few times a month and cover a range of APA issues that you might otherwise have trouble figuring out, such as how to cite an ebook or twitter, and "Five Steps to a Great Title." This blog is worth watching.

OK friends, these are my favorite school-related tools. Please let me know if you have any others that you recommend. Oh, and by the way, The Encouragement Lounge is ad-free and sponsor-free so nobody prompted me to promote any of these sites -- my recommendations are based purely on my own experience.

Cheering you on in your work!


  1. Thank you for putting this list together and for posting a link to your blog on FB! I'm excited to try all of them. You're a rock star.


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