In response to COVID-19, more and more institutions are scrambling to quickly find distance education solutions allowing them to transition their traditional classrooms into an online environment. Fortunately dozens of EdTech companies have offered their services and platforms for free during this time of need. The following is a list of free online tools professors or administrators can use to move their students online expediently.
Zoom has become the go to platform for video conferencing. Zoom has a variety of packages including a free account for new users. Typically this free account has a 40-minute limit for video conferencing, however this limit has been lifted temporarily for those impacted by COVID-19.. Zoom is an excellent option to deliver lectures directly to students in both a live and recorded format.
Omega Notes offers an online collaborative learning experience designed to extend the community of learning found within traditional classrooms. The Collaborative Learning System is an excellent social and content hub for students and professors. In response to COVID-19, Omega Notes is offering their advanced support package and collaborative platform for free offering hands on support to any institution struggling with the online transition.
Google Docs is the go-to free option for students looking to work collaboratively on class projects. Put simply, Google Docs is a web app for cloud-based document editing and collaboration. Google Docs is easy to get setup requiring only requiring an active Google account. Google docs also integrates seamlessly into Google Classroom.
Microsoft offers a comprehensive suite of software with Office 365 to keep students informed and engaged, Included in Office 365 are well known products such as Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Access and OneNote. Professors can create an account free with a valid .edu address. Some of the more advanced tools require an enterprise account.
Facebook provides a familiar environment for students and professors to interact on their platform within a group setting. Building a Facebook group for your course only takes a valid Facebook account and it can be easily discovered by students via facebook’s search function or a unique group URL. For added security, you can require user authentication to make sure only students enrolled in a course are able to join.
Easyclass is a platform where educators can create online courses. These courses can host materials, assignments, quizzes, and exams. Easyclass is a great system if your institution doesn’t have an established LMS. Instructors can create an account for free which students join via a unique access code.
Zoho offers a comprehensive suite of online apps many of which can be utilized for free by educators. Zoho Writer, Sheet, Show, and Connect are all great tools to share and collaborate around course content.
Basecamp is an excellent project management tool used by both educators and business professionals. Basecamp does not have a free product package, but they do have an extensive 30-day trial which should help address the immediate needs of an online environment for your students.
Articulate is a course authoring and development tool. The e-learning platform, Articulate 360, offers a variety of apps and a huge collection of content to choose from. While not free, the generous trial will certainly address any immediate needs you and your students might have.
Twiddla’s Online Whiteboard is simple yet powerful in its execution. Their digital whiteboard is great for sharing markups with small or large classrooms. If activated, students can even contribute to the board creating a collaborative drawing experience. Getting started is free and easy.