10 Online Tools for Remote Work
As we have learned in the times of COVID-19, it's very important to be aware of the available tools for conducting meetings, classes, and conferences. Here's a list of tools compiled by AJE just for you, your students, and your research colleagues.
Updated on March 27, 2020
Web meetings with screen sharing are great, safe alternatives to face-to-face meetings, as they allow you to work from home. During situations like pandemics, it's essential to be aware of the available tools for conducting such meetings as well as classes, quizzes, conferences, and even your research.
To make things easier, AJE has compiled a list of some of the tools you can use to overcome the challenges you're facing as part of the academic community. You probably already have access to some of these resources through your institution.
- (1) Blackboard: Blackboard is a real-time online education platform that lets you add files, share applications, and use a virtual whiteboard to interact. It also allows you to create virtual classrooms, conduct live webinars, share class material, and communicate in real time with participants via audio, video and chat.
- (2) BlueJeans: BlueJeans Meetings allows web conferencing from any device and includes screen sharing and recording features. It can be integrated with Canvas and other modern collaboration tools. Universities can explore their options here.
- (3) Canvas Studio: Canvas Studio is a media tool that allows you to create, share, and comment on video files. Participants can submit videos, and others can watch them and make comments on the video timelines in real time. You can also create quizzes directly on video timelines.
- (4) Cisco Webex: Cisco Webex is a videoconferencing technology that allows you to teach from home, share your screen and whiteboard content, and record meetings for later reference or for those who were not able to attend. If you are part of a higher education faculty, you can sign up for free at Webex's site. If your institution is already using Webex, all you need to do is to log in with your institution email and password. In addition to providing a student guide, Webex's website gives tips on how to teach virtually.
- (5) Google Meet and Google Classroom: These tools are part of G Suite and are designed to work in the Google Chrome browser. With Google Meet, you can set up a group meeting in your calendar and share a link without worrying about whether the other participants have the right accounts or plug-ins. You can join the meeting from your computer, cell phone, or conference room by clicking on the link in your calendar. You can also upload an agenda or a file from your Google drive to your calendar to prepare participants for the meeting. Participants can chat during the meeting and share their screens. Google Classroom allows you to create classes, share files, give and grade assignments, and send feedback to your students. IT administrators can easily set it up for you.
- (6) GoToMeeting: GoToMeeting is a web-hosted service that offers conference calls while allowing screen sharing. GoToMeeting is simple to use and allows video recording and screen sharing; in addition, participants can attend meetings using their cell phones. GoToMeeting also has services for educational institutions.
- (7) Moodle: Moodle is a highly flexible open-source platform that allows delivery of online courses and class resources and administration and grading of custom exams.
- (8) Sakai: Sakai is an open-source educational software platform designed to support teaching, research, and collaboration. With Sakai, you can create courses, assignments, quizzes, tests, and videos. You can also upload, store, and share files and grade and provide feedback on students' work. Furthermore, Sakai offers messaging, discussion, and collaborative work tools and hosts community member-developed tools that you can use .
- (9) Slack: Slack allows you to organize conversations into channels (chat rooms) according to topic or project, to create private groups, and to engage in direct messaging. In Slack, you can follow conversations, search for important information, and even choose which conversations are most important to you. If you would like to work together with others in your research group in addition to conducting meetings and teaching, having a research group channel in Slack could be very beneficial.
- (10) Zoom: Zoom offers HD video and audio, and students can join classes from any device. You can make 1-1 calls and group calls, conduct training sessions and webinars with screen sharing, and host global video meetings with up to 1,000 participants. Meeting invitations can be synced with your calendar. Sessions can be recorded so that participants are able to access them later. Zoom allows private and group chatting and even has a virtual whiteboard feature. Depending on your plan, you can have unlimited numbers of participants and meetings. Universities can take advantage of a discounted price.
Each of the options above has benefits and limitations. Your best choice will depend on your needs. Before choosing a tool, remember to check with your institution about which tool(s) they recommend and to determine if you already have access to any tools through your institutional credentials.
Published on 03/27/2020