As we continue with our summer online courses, it's a good time to think about tools and techniques that online learners can use to help organize and remember some of the key concepts introduced in the courses. I will share my thoughts on two tools that I've been using. I would love to hear what you all are using.
My two favorite tools for keeping track of what I learn online are Diigo and Evernote. I use Diigo mainly for highlighting text on web pages and I use Evernote for saving and tagging entire web pages and keeping a running notebook on the key ideas that I want to remember. Let's start by looking at Diigo.
In most online courses there is a lot online reading. If you were reading a book in a course, you would likely be highlighting important text and writing notes in the margins. Diigo lets you do this online. It also lets you tag content and share it with others online. For highlighting text, you can download a web browser extension called Diigolet. This is the easiest way to get up and running. After you download the extension you simply click the Diigo icon on your browser toolbar whenever you want to highlight text or create a sticky note.
All of this information is saved in the Cloud so when you access the same web page from a different device such as an iPad, your highlights will appear as long as you have Diigo installed on that device. And all of your highlights can be viewed in one place in your personal, cloud-based Diigo library which you can share with friends. You can also save an entire page or take a screenshot of a portion of a page.
Watch this video for information on some more Diigo features available when you install a Diigo extension to your browser.
Evernote is one of the fastest growing online productivity tools. It is actually a suite of tools all generally designed for notetaking and archiving. Evernote's logo is an elephant and their commercial tagline is "Remember everything". While that might seem a bit daunting, I have found it to be a great tool for storing and quickly accessing things that I want to remember.
When taking an online course, I often find that I want to have one place to keep track of the big ideas, quotes, websites etc. from the course. With Evernote you can create a Notebook that stores a collection of notes. So if I was taking an online course such as Holocaust and Human Behavior, I would create a course "Notebook" and then create separate "Notes" for different kinds of things that I want to remember such as quotes, websites, historical facts, or teaching tips. All of these notes can be tagged and they are stored on the cloud so they can be accessed anytime, anywhere and they can be shared with other Evernote users. Similar to Diigo, Evernote also has a browser extension called Web Clipper that lets you save entire web pages.
This video is a light-hearted look at what Evernote can do. Even if you never use Evernote, it's good for a laugh. Are you using either of these tools? If so, tell us what you think of them. Or have you found another tool to use to help keep track of your online learning. We would love to hear about it.