Your Ultimate E-Learning Starter Pack



Still struggling to get to grips with the gloom of Zoom? Writer Lorraine Chew recommends five online tools to help enhance your online university experience.


COVID-19 has without a doubt revolutionised the SMU experience. Gone are the days where OSCP students would approach us to purchase Eureka popcorns to fund their program expenses. Seat hoggers who construct their forts in LKS and KGC study spots have (literally) retreated to their home base.



The global pandemic has awakened the virtual learning space: online lessons, project meetings over Zoom, online helpdesk and digital administration services have formed the new norm.


This shift in learning mode calls for the help of online study and project management tools. Enhance your learning experience today with these five tech tools!



Study Tools


1. GoConqr

Source: GoConqr

As an aesthetic a visual learner, I bask in colour-coded concept maps that illustrate key ideas and macro-perspectives of a module’s content in a vibrant and succinct way. However, the tedious process of creating a mind map puts me off. Many of us who partake in constructing one would identify with these frustrations: the lack of space to incorporate all concepts onto one piece of paper, and the need to restart when the mind map begins to look like a warzone with countless flying arrows.


Source: GoConqr

GoConqr’s virtual mind mapping tools eradicates these inefficiencies. Its movable branches and bubbles can be shifted around to link ideas in the clearest manner possible. Besides adding a pop of style and perking up our revision experience, the plethora of bubble shapes and branches are useful in bringing our attention to important concepts. Similar theories can also be colour coded efficiently with the click of a mouse. Gone are those days of shading bubbles frantically with our highlighters!


Besides its mind mapping feature, GoConqr offers a flashcard creator for learners who indulge in revising bite-sized chunks.


Map your way to success at: https://www.goconqr.com/


Free Plans Offered:

Basic: Entitled to the creation of 3 subjects and 20 resources.

Basic+: Entitled to the creation of unlimited subjects and access to public resources by referring 3 friends.


2. Scannable

Source: Cnet

“Please scan your handwritten homework and submit it on Elearn.”


My discovery of the Scannable application has eradicated those sluggish struggles of lugging my laptop to my printer located just five meters away, inserting the printer’s USB cable into my laptop and switching papers in the flatbed.


Scanning my homework has become a breeze with Scannable’s document detection function. The application automatically locates my paper as I hover my phone over it. Scannable seamlessly crops the captured scan at the edges of my documents and enhances the contrast, brightness and colour of my scan. The best part? Scannable is watermark-free!


The hassle-free application offers us users with multiple saving and sharing options. Scans can be compiled into a combined PDF or saved as a gallery image. Scans can be sent to your email with just an input of your email address.


Scannable is a must-have even if you annotate electronically with the help of an Apple pen. The trusty application is useful in saving digital copies of essential hardcopy documents such as certificates. A digital collection of your credentials will surely come in handy in our world of e-resumes and job applications.


Scan in a snap at: https://evernote.com/products/scannable



Project Management Tools


3. Trello

Source: Trello

“Guys when are the presentation slides due?”

“Hello may I ask how much of the report are we left with?”

“Eh wait who’s doing what again?”


These Telegram messages sound terribly familiar, don’t they? Such conversations are a common occurrence during crunch time where we are relentless hounded by projects and submissions across all modules.


Trello is the tool for agile project management – its user-intuitive dashboard presents your team with a bird’s eye view of your project’s workflow, pending deliverables, each members’ responsibilities and their progress as well as key deadlines. Organising team tasks are made fun and flexible by dragging and dropping Trello’s signature cards along personalised lists.


Coordinating projects with Trello is as easy as pie! A basic workflow can be created with “To Do”, “Doing” and “Done” lists. These lists will house Trello cards that indicate your task. Move the Trello cards along the lists to indicate progress.


Source: Trello

To add a touch of detail to your cards, click on the card to incorporate task descriptions, assign members and checklists. Colour labels can also be added to give tasks more context. With Trello’s attachment and comment feature enables you to bring to attention documents and feedback for your team’s action.


Source: Trello

The possibilities are endless with Trello’s customisable lists and cards! Fret not if you are unsure of where to start. Trello has a collection of templates for different work needs ranging from project management to design. Trello can also be used to track personal work progress, so get creative today and organise with Trello!


Make task management a game of cards at: https://trello.com/home


4. Miro

Source: Miro

The fond memories of booking a GSR or SR with my project mates often cross my mind this season. I miss the team brainstorming sessions we share – especially the moments where we would pass the whiteboard marker to and fro from one another, rushing to pen down all the ideas that popped into our minds.


While face-to-face discussions are (sadly) minimised during this period, the whiteboard experience can be recreated with the help of Miro! Miro’s real-time collaborative whiteboard is a virtual space for your team to freely plan, ideate and consolidate content. Mind mapping becomes neat with editable sticky notes, digital shapes and connector lines.


While physical whiteboards are limited to the few coloured markers we have and the words we can write, Miro boards allows you to insert photos, videos, charts and spreadsheets. As ideas can be built on and comments can be added across time, there is no need to erase the GSR or SR whiteboard when evacuating the room for the next users!


Start your whiteboard at: https://miro.com/


Bonus: Learn coding with this app


5. Sololearn

Source: Sololearn on Appstore

"[Aimed] at millennials and students who want a simpler way to learn." – TechCrunch


Whether you are an IS student seeking to put your coding skills to the test or an enthusiastic learner aiming to acquire the skill of the future, Sololearn is the application for you!


Encompassing a plethora of programming courses, practice quizzes and coding samples set at different levels, Sololearn provides both pros and novices a platform to learn the latest code trends. Regardless of whether you are out on the go or in the comfort of your home, codes can be conveniently written, ran and shared anytime through Sololearn’s built in code editor.


Sololearn’s coding portfolio has got us covered in our world where qualifications matter. The application enables users to creation of coder profiles to build up their coding credentials. Certification are awarded to users who complete courses and engage in coding competitions.


If you are someone like me who finds coding foreign and distant, shun away no longer in intimidation! Sololearn has an extensive question bank of 15,000 and quiz bank of 2,000, providing us newbies with ample practice to advance our coding skills. You will also find yourself surrounded with a community of coders who will provide the support, cross-learning and co-creation opportunities you desire.


Step up your coding game at: https://www.sololearn.com/


Scope of coding programmes available: Web Development (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, JQuery), Python, Java, Kotlin, C++, C, C#, PHP, SQL, Algorithms & Data Structures, Ruby, Machine Learning, Design Patterns, Swift and Git.


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Though the pandemic season may have altered the way we acquire knowledge, some things must remain constant. COVID-19 may have destroyed the norms of how school is conducted, but life maxims such as the eagerness to learn, diligence and respect for our professors (yes, turn on your webcams as much as possible!) should still be faithfully abided by.


While technology cannot simulate every physical interaction, let us make the best out of what we have. For all we know, we might fondly reminisce these times; waking up five minutes half an hour before class surely evokes feelings of nostalgia towards remote learning. As we yearn for the day where we can mingle with one another freely yet again, may this time of solace be a reminder to treasure the simple blessings we used to, and still, take for granted.


Till the day COVID-19 ceases, stay safe and healthy SMU family!