Online Collaboration

The Best Digital Collaboration Tools for Online Students

You may never actually meet your online classmates, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll never need to work with them in order to complete coursework, tackle a project, or even just to study for a test. Finding an easy way to collaborate can be as simple as finding an app or website that offers the features and the flexibility that you need to complete your work, but with so many options to choose from, where can you start?

First, consider what you need to do (synch, integrate with other programs, store document, etc.) and what your project requires (communications, organization, online work). This will differ from course to course and project to project, so one solution may not fit the bill for every course or every assignment.

Also consider price—some collaboration tools may cost money and not everyone in your group will be willing to shell out. You’ll also want to make sure that your choice is something that is available on multiple platforms, as you and your classmates may be using a wide variety of mobile devices and computers.

Finally, consider using tools you likely already have as COD student, like Microsoft 365 and the features found in your LMS like Collaborate. They can also be a no-hassle, no-cost way to work with your fellow classmates and you probably already have them installed on your devices.

Of course, there is no shortage of outside tools to help you collaborate, too. Here are a few of the best reviewed, most popular, and easiest to use collaboration tools students in just about any online class can find ways to use to make working as a team a little easier and more streamlined.

  • Google Apps: Love Google? The company’s free productivity suite is the perfect way to collaborate. Simply sign up for a Gmail account and you can work together on documents, spreadsheets, presentations and even video chat in real time.
  • Flow: Flow is free task management software for teams that makes it easy to delegate tasks, prioritize what you need to finish and ensure that everyone working on a project is on the same page.
  • Whiteboard Lite: If you and your classmates are all iOS users, you can download this free application that lets you draw on a collaborative whiteboard—great for brainstorming, sharing pictures, or just letting off some steam before a big test.
  • Skitch: If you like Evernote, you’ll enjoy trying out this application that not only integrates with Evernote but also makes it possible to work together on projects in a highly visual manner, with drawing, markup, annotations, and a wide range of illustration tools.
  • Deekit: Visual learners will love this application that lets you work in real-time using a simple, uncluttered whiteboard. Unlike other whiteboard apps, Deekit also offers additional project management features like scheduling and activity tracking.
  • Moxtra: Moxtra provides a great way to message your classmates, organize your research, and maintain a collaborative workspace from a computer or on-the-go. It’s also easy to integrate with other services you might already be using, like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Evernote, so you don’t have to use it exclusively if you’re already set up somewhere else.
  • Dweeber: A lot tools on this list are great for working on big projects, but aren’t ideal if you’re just studying for a big exam. Luckily, Dweeber is designed with just that purpose in mind. The site is free to use and once you’ve signed up you can do homework, connect with friends, and create unique study sessions that can help make finals week a lot more fun (and hopefully less painful).
  • ThinkBinder: If Dweeber isn’t your thing, try out ThinkBinder for your online study sessions. Create an online study group site and invite your classmates to join, letting you chat, share, collaborate and discuss everything you might need to review for class.

Have a favorite app you want to share? Let us know!