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From CUNY Academic Commons

This list provides a breakdown of useful digital tools applicable to researchers in any field. When choosing tools to store, organize, and annotate research materials, one should consider cost, compatibility, exportability, and security. For example, is the tool proprietary or open source, can it be used on a variety of platforms, is its content easy to share with others, and can it communicate with other tools?

Contents

Cloud Storage

When looking at cloud storage options, think not only about pricing, but about unique features of each service.  For example, GoogleDrive allows collaborative writing, Dropbox, however is better for multimedia storage. To make the most out of free space, consider using one service for file sharing, another for collaboration, and another for back up. Apps like FindIt and Octonius allow one to search for files across one’s different cloud storage accounts, and many, many more apps exist for adding functionality to cloud storage. Most cloud services have a desktop app in addition to a web platform for easy access, as well as accessibility across devices. For a recent comparison of cloud services, check out Lifehacker’s poll

  • Dropbox : Starts with 2 GB of free space, can earn up to 18 GB of free space by sharing with friends, etc.  Plans of 100 GB of space start around $9 a month.  Dropbox users can share files and folders with other dropbox users, or turn any file into a public link.  A free service, SendToDropbox, allows users to set up a public folder where non-Dropbox users can send files. Dropbox users can also access previous file versions for 30 days, in case of accidental deletion. For the more advanced, LifeHacker has a list of tricks for Dropbox users, such as remotely accessing one’s computer or automatically converting files.  Also check out the Dropbox wiki
  • Google Drive: Start with 15 GB free space (shared with Gmail and Google+ account).  Plans of 100 GB/month start around $5. Allows real time collaboration for documents, excel sheets, slideshows, images, and forms. As of January 2014, users can also view an activity stream of all documents in their drive.   (For more on forms, check out the poll section below.)  For a detailed review, go here.

Sample Google Document: [1]

  • Microsoft SkyDrive: 7 GB free space, plans start at 27 GB for $10/month.  For a detailed review, go here.
  • iCloud: Standard cloud service for Mac users. Start with 5 GB free space (not counting purchased content such as music,etc), 10 additional GB starts at $20/year.
  • Sugar Sync: Start with 5 GB of free space, plans start around $8/month for 60 GB, include a 30 day free trial.  Unique to the other services, SugarSync allows one to merely click on folders /files on one’s computer that they want synced across devices. Search does not allow one to search contents of files.  For a detailed review, go here.  
  • Bitcasa: Start with 10 GB free, infinite storage (including infinite file versions) at $99 a year or $10 a month. For a detailed review, go here.
  • Box: Start with 10 GB free, plans start at a 100 GB for around $5/month.  Box.com has recently released a collaborative document and note taking feature to compete with Evernote and GoogleDrive. See Box.com/notes. For a detailed review, go here.
  • OwnCloud:  Open source cloud service for advanced cloud users.  Allows users to build their own cloud storage service.   
  • Copy.com: Start with 15 GB free, 250 GB starts around $10/month. Fun fact: shared content is split among users, so your folders won’t fill up as soon.  This link allows one to start with 20 GB free. For a detailed review, go here.
  • Mega: Start with *50 GB* free, but users have noted many cons.  For a detailed review, go here.
  • Wuala: Start with 5 GB free, plans start at 20 GB for around $4/month.  For a detailed review, go here

Password Management

What it is for: A password manager securely stores information like website logins (usernames and passwords) in a password protected “vault.” You use a single password to open the vault and then you can view individual “accounts” or passwords. It’s like the password notepad you store in your desk drawer, version 2.0.

Why you might use it: They allow you to use different passwords for every website without having to remember all of them. This increases security because if one of your accounts gets compromised, the intruder won’t be able to use the same login information to get into your other accounts. Example: “Someone got into my email. I use the same password and email address to log in to my bank account; now they can get into my bank accounts! If I was using different passwords for my email and bank account, they wouldn’t be able to use the same compromised info to get into my bank :*(”

Difficulty: Very Easy

Setup Time: Varies. Very quick to install, might take some time to reset and store all of your passwords.

Bonus: Most applications allow you to synchronize your password vault across multiple computers or mobile devices. They also generally include a secure password generator to create new passwords that nobody (including you) will be able to remember easily. Finally, you can install browser extensions so that whenever you enter login information on a website, it will prompt you to save the login information automatically, and when you need to log in, you just click on the button to automatically fill in the saved information (after entering your password, of course).

Built-In Browser Tools

  • Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera Password Management: The easiest and most basic solution. When you visit a website, most modern browsers will offer to store your password and then will offer to enter it when you visit the site again. Chrome, Firefox, and Opera allow you to synchronize your passwords with other devices by logging in to their respective sync servers. Safari on OS 10.9 allows you to sync your keychain using iCloud between multiple Macs and iOS 7 devices.

Commercial Stand-Alone Programs

  • Last Pass: Very easy to use and free for your computer (Mac, Linux, and Windows), but requires a subscription ($1/month) to synchronize your passwords with a mobile device (iOS, Android, WinPhone Blackberry, Symbian, WebOS). Automatically backs up your data to the cloud and includes automatic form filling (e.g., name, address, credit card info, etc.).
  • 1Password: This and LastPass are by far the easiest to use, but 1Password has a larger upfront cost. Available for Mac ($40), Windows ($56), iOS ($18), and Android (Free, but hasn’t been updated since early 2012). Can be easily integrated with Dropbox or iCloud. Also stores things like credit cards, bank accounts, IDs/travel documents, etc.
  • Dashlane: Similar to LastPass and 1Password but slightly newer and less widely adopted. It works on a similar pricing model as LastPass where it’s free to use on any device (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android), but requires a subscription (Free for 30 days, then $30/year) to use features like synchronizing across devices and cloud backup.

Open Source Alternatives

  • KeePass: Free and open source alternatives. KeePass is very highly regarded and widely used by open source gurus. It is similar to the other stand-alone programs above, but has been implemented with different user interfaces for different devices and operating systems and your mileage may vary. It is a little bit more difficult to setup and use, but is very robust secure for those willing to spend a few extra minutes setting it up. It is available for most operating systems.
  • Universal Password Manager: The no-frills, save my stuff securely option. It’s very simple to setup, sync, and use, but doesn’t have all of the features of some of the commercial options.
  • Clipperz: A web-based password manager that is secure, anonymous, and open source. No stand-alone programs or syncing issues. Just log in from anywhere to manage your vault.

Note storage

Notetaking and note storage services are useful not only for taking and organizing text notes, but can also provide ways for sharing or collaborating on public documents, or organizing multimedia content such as video, audio and images. Many notetakers will also allow you to record audio which is useful for taking lecture notes. The most important thing to consider is whether you simply want to take notes on one device, or whether you want a cloud service to allow you access to notes from any device. While many apps will allow you to upload your notes for storage on cloud services such as Dropbox, only a few allow you to edit on multiple devices. Evernote, for example, a fremium service — and probably the most popular — works seamlessly across multiple devices, allowing you to add notes at any moment from a public computer or your smart phone. Other things to keep in mind are cost, device compatibility, and whether you want to use a stylus or not.

Many have also written about using Evernote specifically as a research or classroom tool. See three recent round ups of best note taking services: laptopmag.com, New York Times and Heavy.com.

  • Evernote: Fremium service, meaning both paid and free services. Evernote is a notetaking device that allows unpaying users to upload 60 mb of notes and attachments per month. Premium users pay $5/month or $45/year and have 1 GB upload capacity/month, collaborative note taking functionalities, and the ability to search within attached files. Evernote is also able to store handwritten notes, and works in conjunction with Penultimate, a handwriting app for the iPad. There is a wealth of apps developed to increase the functionality of Evernote that you can browse here. Tons of people have developed tricks with Evernote (which you can discover through Google searches) — last year someone showed how they use Siri to input dictated notes. Christopher Mayo, a Ph.D. candidate in the East Asian Studies Department at Princeton, has taken the academic use of Evernote to a high art. If you want to learn more about Evernote, take a look at the handout we created for last year’s workshops.
  • Penultimate: Free handwriting app for the iPad.
  • Notability: Handwriting app and PDF annotator for iPad and iPhone ($2.99). Also allows for collaborative notes.
  • Google Keep: Like Evernote, Google Keep is not just an app, but a service that allows you to post and access notes from multiple devices. Save notes, checklists, voice recordings and photos to Google Drive. For a detailed review, go here.
  • Noteshelf: Notetaking app for iPad, with Dropbox capabilities ($5.99). For a detailed review, go here.

Scrap Storage/Anything Buckets (PDFs, pictures, websites)

The 21st Century TrapperKeeper, also known as the “Anything Bucket”, these programs help you organize all of the digital “junk” you come across as you use your computer. Found a hilarious kitty picture that you want to save to send to your grandma next time she asks you for computer help? Throw it in. Come across a killer recipe for pozole? Clip the webpage to your bucket. Trying to draft a wiki entry for the Academic Commons? Keep all your drafts, references, etc. in your bucket and be sure to find them as you’re looking up more resources to add…

How to Use Them: Come across something cool, “clip” it, give it a title and some tags to help you find it later, maybe put it into a folder, then next time you want to find it, voila! there it is.

Why You Want to Use Them: Because your downloads folder is overflowing and you can’t find stuff when you need it. Instead, you want to start tagging as you go so that everything has a home. It’s OK to be a digital hoarder, so long as you keep yourself organized.

The options below are software packages that allow you to store stuff, sync it across devices, tag it, organize it, and search it. They each have their pros and cons, but most are relatively similar. There are also methods that people use to tag documents directly in the Finder/Explorer/File Manager so that your folder structure becomes your primary organizational tool and the search function is how you find stuff, but this doesn’t work as well for some things like websites.

Calendar/Contacts

While widely used, calendar and contact tools are much less frequently used to their full potential to synchronize and share information between multiple devices and with others (when appropriate…). The key here is keeping your data synchronized between devices. Both the Google and Apple calendar and contacts systems will integrate pretty seamlessly with one another, meaning that your computer’s contacts will sync with your phone’s contacts and all of that is available via the web. Unfortunately, despite it’s overall robustness as an application, Outlook’s sharing and syncing functions are slightly less friendly with other applications depending on the email system backing it up (which is beyond the scope of this wiki). Plus it is only practical if you already have a paid copy of Microsoft Office, which isn’t cheap.

In addition to keeping your contacts in sync, you should be able to sync your calendars across devices and also share events/calendars and invite other users.

Setting all of this up isn’t difficult (directions are just a Google search away), but knowing that it exists and that it’s something worth spending 5 minutes to set up is beyond many people.

  • Google Gmail/Calendar tools: (Free; browser based, iOS, Android, integrates with many third-party apps) Improved dramatically a couple of years ago over previous versions, the calendar is now pretty robust as a web app, and it is built in to every Android phone. The calendar and contacts are integrated into Gmail, so if you are using it for email, you might as well use their calendar and contacts too. Contacts are added when you send emails in Gmail, but you probably want to do some sorting, tagging, etc. to clean up your contacts every so often. The best tool for integrated sharing/inviting others to your events or calendars, although Outlook is a close second.
  • Apple iOS/OS X tools: (Free with OS X or iOS; integrates with many third-party apps) Robust, clean user interface, free to sync your contacts and calendars using iCloud and/or your own email service and/or Google’s Gmail/Calendar servers.
  • Microsoft Office Outlook: (Windows and OS X; requires a copy of Microsoft Office) depends on a mail server for syncing. The mail, calendar, and contacts functionality are very robust. It’s not cheap, but if you teach at a CUNY school you can get a copy of Office for free from the CUNY Portal e-Mall.

Tasks/To-Do Lists

There are literally dozens if not hundreds of to-do programs. Many of them are simply checklists. Most integrate some sort of reminder system. A handful will also integrate with your email (to set reminders based on email contents and/or to respond/follow-up with an email thread). There are also quite a few that employ the Getting Things Done (GTD) (definitely see also) philosophy and framework. Ultimately it boils down to personal preference, but there is no reason not to use a to-do/task system that will synchronize across your devices and is smart enough to provide reminders about upcoming deadlines. And of course, there are few things quite as satisfying as clicking a checkbox next to a task to mark it as complete…

  • Any.do: (Free; iOS, Android, Chrome Web App) One of the cleanest user interfaces around, with cute and oh-so-satisfying sounds when you complete a task or “plan your day” (which it can remind you to do every morning at a specified time!). On a smartphone, it will also pop-up a reminder to call someone back (or add a to-do item for it) when you miss a call. It syncs seamlessly across your devices and can integrate with your calendar (see above). If you install the Chrome extension and use Gmail, it even integrates itself directly into the Gmail interface to add tasks or reminders to email threads.
  • Wunderlist: (Free for individual use; $5/mo for Pro, which includes “team” sharing/assigning features; iOS, Android, Web, Windows, OS X) Slick interface, syncing, sharing, and a bunch of other features to help you manage your tasks. Some of the most robust add-ons for individual tasks beyond the simple title and due date, like websites, emails, subtasks, notes, etc.
  • Remember the Milk (Getting Things Done): (Free; Pro is $25/yr for extra features; Web service with apps for EVERY device) If you are a fan of the GTD method, Remember the Milk and its truckload of compatible apps is probably one of the best options. It allows you to sync across devices, provides reminders, integrates with Evernote, and can even get Siri to add new tasks for you.
  • ToodleDo: (Free; Web service with apps for EVERY device, some are paid) Like Remember the Milk, ToodleDo is a web-based service that integrates with numerous third-party apps. Unlike Remember the Milk, ToodleDo is designed to be even more flexible and customizable. It can also be used as a note taking and organizing system.
  • todoist (Free; Premium $30/yr for additional features; iOS, Android, Windows, OS X, and Browser extensions) Very clean interface, syncing, and well-designed integration into other email/calendar programs. Some of the more useful features like notes, reminders, and calendar syncing are premium only.
  • Google/Apple: The Google alternative is the built-in tasks within Gmail. Apple’s is the Tasks app that comes with iOS and OS X. Both have minimal functionality beyond syncing, but they’re already integrated if you’re already using either set of tools.

Citation/Reference Management

What it does: Lets you keep an ongoing and organized set of bibliographic information.

What it is for: Storing and organizing bibliographic references. They generally allow you to easily search and insert citations and bibliographies into your documents.

Why you might use it: Because writing your dissertation is an accretive process and you want to be able to use the same bibliographic references in multiple papers. Also because it makes building your bibliographies a snap. Also because you want to be able to search through the notes that you take in your PDFs.

Difficulty: Mediumish

Setup Time: Medium, but requires ongoing

Typical Workflow:

  1. Find a reference (e.g., on Google Scholar or WorldCat
  2. Depending on the program:
    1. Download a PDF and add it to your reference management software
    2. Add the reference to your management software
  3. Automatically or manually (depending on the program) add metadata such as Title, Author, Date, Journal, etc.
  4. Read, annotate, take notes, etc.
  5. Write your paper and use the software to insert citations
  6. Use the software to search your notes or PDFs for additional information to include in your paper
  7. Use the software to add a bibliography
  8. Reuse your existing bibliography when you write your next paper

Check out the tabular comparison of reference management software on Wikipedia.

  • Zotero: (Firefox plugin or OS X, Linux, and Windows stand-alone programs) One of the most popular tools because it is free and released under the AGPL. Allows you to create different collections of references that you can share with other users, or not. Integrates with MS Word and OpenOffice. You can store up to 300MB of files for free on their servers with additional storage available for a few bucks per month. You can also have it link to files stored on your computer and then sync those documents using cloud storage, but this process and organizing your files is not automatic and might be buggy.
  • Mendeley: (Free OS X, Linux, Windows, iOS, third-party Android support; Plugins for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari) Recently purchased by publishing giant Elsevier. Mendeley excels at helping you to manage the PDFs or websites associated with your references, for example journal articles and e-books. When you add a PDF to Mendeley, it will automatically try to retrieve metadata for you to save you from needing to enter the information manually. If it can’t automatically find the metadata based on the PDF, you can add the title and have the program try to retrieve the rest of the metadata using Google Scholar. Once your documents are imported, you can view them with the built-in PDF viewing and annotation tools. In addition to managing your documents, it does all of the typical things like integrating citations and bibliographies in MS Word and OpenOffice/NeoOffice, importing references from web sources, and providing online storage (2GB Free) and group collaboration. Storing your files and reference database using cloud storage is simple and syncs across multiple computers. One of the cool features is that it will also synchronize its database with Zotero, Bibdesk, and EndNote so you can use it to manage your PDFs and then use one of the other tools for whatever else you might need to do.
  • EndNote: (Windows, OS X, $114 edu price; iOS $10) Owned by Thomson Reuters and quite pricey, but also one of the longest standing and widely used options, and for a long time was the gold standard before the free tools started to catch up. Feature wise it’s very similar to both Zotero and Mendeley. It has 1GB of cloud storage, can sync libraries across computers, and allows you to search annotations. Integrates with MS Word, OpenOffice, Apple’s Pages, and has a nifty way to insert citations in any Rich Text document by scanning for citation codes.
  • BibTeX/KBibTeX/Referencer/JabRef/Bibdesk: A bunch of free open source tools that use the BibTeX database format. Most of these are only for managing references and not documents, but they are available for just about every platform plus the web. Bibdesk, which is only on OS X, also integrates a document manager like Mendeley, EndNote, or Zotero. If you are using LaTeX to do typesetting, these are the tools for you. Integration is also available in many of the tools for MS Word, OpenOffice, and other word processing suites.
  • Papers: (OS X, Windows $80 for combo license, iOS $10) Robust document and reference management package and citation tool that syncs automatically with Dropbox. The thing that makes Papers unique is the ability to search for new documents directly from within the application simultaneously from multiple reference databases (e.g., Google Scholar, Pubmed, Scopus, etc.).
  • Bookends: (OS X $50) Very similar to Papers; see notes above.
  • Sente: (OS X, iOS Free; Premium account $30 for edu) Again, similar to Papers and Bookends, but free to use. The free account gives you unlimited libraries with up to 100 documents each, and syncing for up to 250MB. Premium accounts give you 1GB storage and unlimited documents/references. If you mostly want your software for managing references and less for your documents (and are using a Mac), definitely worth taking a look.

Document Annotation (PDF editors)

The search for a perfect PDF editor/cloud syncing workflow is the topic of endless debate on the web. It seems that with today’s online editors and cloud service capabilities, that the ability to annotate ones PDF library from any device shouldn’t be too tall of an order. Maddeningly, however, there is yet to be a perfect solution. It all depends on what set of devices and software you work on, how automatic you want the “syncing” to be, and whether you’re content to only annotate on one device. Connecting the library to your citation manager, of course, further complicates the matter.<p>

Here are some recent working solutions:

Here are some PDF annotators

  • Apple Preview: Mac OS X’s standard image and PDF viewer and editor. Not as sophisticated as Adobe Acrobat, but allows for highlighting and editing of PDFS. For a detailed review, go here. iCloud users have the option of syncing their files for access across multiple devices.
  • Adobe Acrobat: Not cheap, but robust and standard to school computers. For a detailed review, go here.
  • Mendeley: Primarily a citation manager, Mendeley offers PDF annotation and cloud storage options. At this moment, however, tablet annotations are not yet available. Annotation also requires a download, so it might not be useful if you work on public computers, such as at the library. Mendeley offers 2 GB of free cloud storage space, but you can also sync your Mendeley library to other cloud services such as Dropbox.
  • Goodreader: (iPad/iPhone/$4.99). Popular tablet annotator with syncing and wi-fi capabilties. For a detailed review, go here.
  • iAnnotate: (iPad/ $9.99; free, intro version for Android.) Notetaker designed specifically for tablets, with cloud syncing available. For a detailed review (with screenshots), go here.
  • PDF expert: (For iPhone & iPad /&9.99). Dropbox syncing.
  • PDF Reader Pro (iPad/$9.99; Android/$4.25).
  • Notational Velocity: Free, open source note taking device for Mac OS X. For a great review on integrating it into one’s work flow, go here.
  • PDF Pen: (ipad/14.99; $59.95 / mac). This notetaking device does allow you, if you purchase both the tablet, iPhone and and mac software, to access and annotate notes across platforms, so long as you are not trying to edit from a public computer.
  • There are of course dozens more!

Backup

What it does: Saves you from contemplating a new career when the computer containing the only copy of your dissertation dies or gets stolen.

What it is for: Keeping backups of your documents or a completely bootable computer image.

Why you might use it: Because it’s worth spending a few bucks and few minutes of setup to save yourself from the agony of losing all of the stuff that’s not saved in the cloud.

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Setup Time: Cloud backup is very quick. Home setup varies from a couple of minutes to an hour or more. Your first backup might take several hours.

Must Do: The Backup Rule of Three

  • Three copies of anything you care about — Two isn’t enough if it’s important.
  • Two different formats — Example: Dropbox and DVDs, or hard drive and memory stick, or CD + CrashPlan, or more.
  • One off-site backup — If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?

Overview: You need to keep backups. The cloud is great, but won’t save you if your computer or hard drive die or get a nasty virus and you need to get back up and running quickly. Backup technologies are such that if your computer dies, you should be able to mirror your backup to a new computer and be up and working within a couple of hours with all of your programs, settings, and those random bits you didn’t have a chance to copy over to your cloud storage before the computer died. You should really consider using at least three copies of everything. One is the working copy on your computer. Keep a copy in the cloud–it’s free and why not. Keep a full computer backup in an external storage device because setting up a new computer from scratch will take hours or days if you don’t have a backup.

External Drive Backup

External USB hard drives are relatively inexpensive for more than enough storage to backup your entire computer. Tools are freely available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux to automatically maintain backups without any intervention, and which only copy things that have changed since your last backup to keep the backup time to a minimum.

  • TimeMachine is built in to OS X since 10.5. When you plug in an external USB drive for the first time, the OS will ask you to use it as a backup device. Say yes. As long as your hard drive is plugged in, it will create a backup every hour. You can change the frequency with a handful of tools (search for it on Google). Want to restore a file you deleted or changed, just open TimeMachine, go to the folder where the file was, and click restore. When your hard drive fails, get a new hard drive to replace the broken one, plug in your external drive, and restore from your backup.
  • TimeCapsule: in the market for a new wireless router? Consider the TimeCapsule, which integrates a hard drive into the router to store your TimeMachine backups.
  • Windows Backup: Windows comes with its own built-in backup software that functions similarly to Apple’s TimeMachine, but without the restoring interface.
  • CarbonCopyCloner, SuperDuper!: these OS X programs have a slightly different philosophy from TimeMachine. They create bootable “clones” of your hard drive so that you can plug in your backup and boot your computer directly from the backup. No need to replace your internal hard drive to get back to work (although obviously you want to replace it sooner than later). Rsync
  • Rsync: The gold standard for open source backup software. It does everything and works with almost every conceivable type of computer/network setup, but will probably scare away most users who aren’t comfortable using the command line. For a good example of one way to set it up, check out this guide to OS X Bootable Backups with Rsync.
  • Whatever software comes with your external drive: Most external hard drives ship with software for Windows and OS X computers. Most of these programs are fairly decent alternatives to Windows Backup and TimeMachine.

Offsite/Cloud Backup

By far the simplest way to ensure you have a full data backup that you don’t have to worry about getting stolen or being destroyed in a fire or flood. They all use various degrees of encryption to protect your data. Be warned that if you don’t have a decently fast internet connection, or if you are on a metered internet plan (i.e., Canadians and Aussies) this solution will suck. If you have a laptop, this is guaranteed to be the easiest way to ensure your data is safe when you’re working away from home.

Bonus: In addition to providing online backup, many of the services below also provide additional functionality such as cloud storage, multiple-computer syncing, file streaming, etc.

For a recent comparison of these services, you might check out this LifeHacker user poll.

  • Crashplan: (10GB $2/mo, Unlimited $4/mo, Family plan $9/mo for up to 10 computers) here is a recent review and comparison of Crashplan from LifeHacker.
  • Carbonite: (Unlimited $5/mo, Unlimited computers $19/mo)
  • Mozy :(50GB $6/mo, 125GB $10/mo, 20GB extra $2/mo, additional computers $2/mo)
  • Backblaze: (Unlimited ~$4/mo)
  • Bitcasa: (10GB Free, Unlimited $100/yr)
  • Livedrive: (Unlimited $6/mo, various other plans available)

Conferencing & Recording (Video & Other)

  • Skype: Free video and phone call software. Also allows screen sharing.
  • Google Hangouts: Similar service to Skype but allows for multiple users to chat simultaneously for free (Skype offers this service for a fee). For a detailed comparison chart of Google Hangouts and Skype, see here. For a review of Google Hangouts, go here. Some add-on applications that work within Hangouts here (e.g., whiteboard, funny hats and masks, etc.)
  • Twiddla is an online collaborative whiteboard space that allows for real time online drawing collaboration as well as marking up webpages, documents and images.
  • Write URL is an online text editor that allows for real time collaboration and offline work. Simple interface but no registration or password necessary.

Screencasts

Allows users to record screencasts. Useful for making computer tutorials.

Polls

  • DoodlePoll: Quick, easy way to schedule events among multiple attendees.
  • Google Forms:In their own words: “Google Forms is a useful tool to help you plan events, send a survey, give students a quiz, or collect other information in an easy, streamlined way. A Google form can be connected to a Google spreadsheet. If a spreadsheet is linked to the form, responses will automatically be sent to the spreadsheet. Otherwise, users can view them on the “Summary of Responses” page accessible from the Responses menu.

Further Reading

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the column ProfHacker which provides useful tips and reviews on tools relevant to academics. Often some of the best tips are in the comments section.

Feedback Survey

http://goo.gl/jzTSRp