Around the globe, colleges, universities and schools are already preparing for the fall semester, particularly for educating students during the possible second coronavirus’ wave. Educators are working on different approaches for reopening, but all agree online teaching software and remote learning are vital to secure a stable educational process.
In fact, if the lockdown is prolonged, academic institutions, teachers and students can’t return to traditional on-campus studying – they’ll have to hold courses online. For this reason, schools that weren’t ready for the lockdown in spring have rapidly kicked off the process of so-called ‘digitalization.’
Getting acquainted with the most suitable and emerging technologies applied in education is every teacher’s obligation. Here’s what academic institutions and educators must know about online learning tools to ensure effective remote student work and learning processes.
It’s worth saying, tools for remote learning differ in their purpose. This means you can maximize their benefits by easily combining some of the apps. Let’s introduce you to the most popular and useful online learning tools for teachers and students.
No doubt, many educators are already familiar with Google Classroom. It’s one of the most popular learning management systems (LMS) out there. Google Classroom reached 100 million active users in March 2020. The LMS helps teachers structure and organize their work with students. This online teaching tool assists in creating assignments, presenting lectures, sharing guidelines and hosting presentations. On top of that, it allows for assessing completed work and providing feedback.
But there’s more. You can integrate Google Classroom with other third-party technologies to enrich the online learning experience or simplify classroom management. The LMS supports integration with educational apps, such as Classcraft, PearDeck, Kami, etc.
Zoom needs no introduction. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tool has become very popular. And the truth is, you don’t have to be a teacher to use it. But Zoom has proven to be especially useful for conducting online classes. 90,000 schools across 20 countries used Zoom to continue educating students remotely. The virtual tool allows students and teachers to communicate with each other in real-time. Not only can you hold group video calls with the tool’s help, but also chat, share slides and documents.
Remarkably, Zoom became more popular than any other virtual teaching software. And chances are, it will remain the teacher’s online learning software choice for the fall semester.
Microsoft Teams is a part of Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365. The app can be used as a virtual teaching software for class communication and collaboration. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the app’s usage has increased by 70% and reached 70 million daily active users.
Basically, with the assistance of Microsoft Teams, you can create a virtual classroom. The tool supports group chats, calls and video conferences. It allows educators to create assignments, track grades, provide feedback and access course materials from any device. Even more, Microsoft Teams supports editing Word docs, PowerPoint and Excel files in real-time. To expand the effectiveness, you can pair the app with other popular third-party apps for online learning, such as Flipgrid and MakeCode.
Harmonize is an online discussion platform that brings instructors and students together. It helps establish class collaboration during remote learning. The platform’s discussion boards allow teachers to create posts and share various types of content.
Because Harmonize’s design is similar to popular social media apps, such as Instagram, it’s incredibly appealing for students. Also, the platform is easy to use. No wonder Harmonize can increase student participation by up to 64%. In addition, it can be integrated with leading LMSs – Canvas, Blackboard and Moodle, for example.
You must have heard about Unicheck by now. It’s one of the most popular similarity detection software. Unicheck helps teachers identify academic dishonesty and assess students’ writing. Remarkably, this e-learning software assists in exposing all types of plagiarism. Also, thanks to its citation and reference detection algorithm, Unicheck can spot cheating with references and citations. In fact, this online plagiarism checker can identify a formatting style, find in-text references, find blocks of references, detect indirect citations and much more.
On top of that, its authorship verification engine is perfect for detecting contract cheating. Unicheck can also detect suspicious formatting and various text modifications in student submissions – replacement of text with images, character replacement or insertion and visual mismatch (hidden symbols, images, etc.). Along with insertion, it can catch deletions, replacement of spaces, words, sentences and abstracts as well.
Being a reliable online plagiarism checker, Unicheck is a great help for educators during remote learning, as it allows to check the authenticity of students’ digital submissions in full.
Unicheck easily integrates with any well-known LMS (Canvas, Moodle, Schoology, Blackboard, etc.) and is considered to be the first Google Classroom plagiarism checker.
Gradescope is an online learning software that assists instructors in grading assignments. More than 50,000 instructors are already using it. Gradescope supports variable-length assignments, such as projects and problem sets, as well as fixed-template assignments (worksheets, quizzes, or exams).
Gradescope scans the student’s work and provides detailed feedback on the submission, even suggesting a grade. The good news is, it allows educators to apply rubric changes to the graded work. The online teaching tool can send grades back to students or export them to the grade book. Also, it provides question and rubric-level statistics, which displays the students’ progress to the instructor. Last, Gradescope grades not only digital or paper-based exams and homework, but also code assignments.
All in all, these are only a few examples of online learning software that academic institutions plan to use to educate students remotely. The online teaching market has much more to offer. Still, the above-mentioned tools will likely secure a spot on every educator’s list of top 10 favorite online teaching software. Chances are, Google Classroom, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Unicheck, Harmonize and Gradescope will maintain their popularity among educators in the upcoming semester.