Moving to online classes has been a challenging transition for both students and faculty at the University of Maine. With in-person classes suspended for the rest of the spring semester, UMaine has shifted to holding university classes online, leading to an increased need for access to online platforms and resources.
Many professors and faculty are turning to online programs such as Zoom and Blackboard to communicate with students and assign materials. Zoom, a downloadable video chat program available to UMaine students, is a free way to interact with students and peers in a virtual classroom setting. Blackboard, a commonly used online academic resource, is also being used by a majority of teachers and students in order to continue classwork from home. Both can be accessed by logging into Mainestreet or email and provide a foundation for moving all classes online. Students are also completing schoolwork via Google Classroom, Box and other sites.
During this time of change, there are many ways to tackle online assignments and to find help from home. Zoom and Blackboard are efficient for use in communication and submitting assignments, but there are plenty of other online tools out there to help with studying and organizing online materials. There are hundreds of online study websites and blogs available to students free of charge that could end up being a saving grace while trying to manage online classwork.
Quizlet is a free website (Quizlet.com) that can be used for studying and creating online resources. The website provides access to thousands of pre-made study sets that can be narrowed down via search terms like class name, number and subject. Quizlet also gives you the opportunity to interact with those study materials or create and use your own in an easy-to-use platform. Flashcards, tests, quizzes and study games are all available for free and are automatically generated and created by the website once you enter in the information you want to study.
GoConqr is another academic site that includes many of the same study tools as Quizlet where both students and teachers can create and share materials. What is unique about GoConqr is the ability to create mind maps on the site, which allow you to organize your studying material in creative ways that match your pattern of thinking.
Another widely-used resource for students, Grammarly is a free online writing assistant that aids in finding small grammatical errors in papers and other pieces of writing. The site is free but can be upgraded to premium. Grammarly also has a new feature called a “tone detector” where students can get feedback on the tone and friendliness of an email or writing sample. You can add Grammarly to Safari or Google Chrome to be able to have access to it while writing on platforms like Twitter, Gmail, Facebook or Google docs. It can help find synonyms, check spelling, fix grammatical mistakes and also help check for plagiarism in the paid version.
Although in-person instruction has come to an end for the spring semester, resources like Grammarly, Quizlet and GoConqr are free and available to college students online. For more resources and study tips, visit online.umaine.edu/tips-for-online-students/ or usm.maine.edu/agile/covid-19-academic-support-resources.