Use these tools to help you complete academic group assignments more efficiently

This article participates in the Digital Stationery Box Call for Papers.

Academic life is endless, and it is inevitable to encounter several group assignments, such as: writing a review, conducting a report (Pre), etc. In the context of today’s epidemic, group work is mostly carried out online. Gathering materials, group discussions, brainstorming, writing papers… In many collaborations, I tried multiple tools and built my own group work workflow.

From data collection to dissertation writing, the tools below cover the entire process of teamwork. Using these tools well, it may be possible to make the process of group cooperation more effective with less effort.

data collection

Zotero Group Library: Building a library together

Whether making a report or writing a review, the collection and reading of papers is often an extremely important part. A shared bibliography can make the data collection process more efficient and more convenient in subsequent paper writing. For example, when using the Better BibTeX plugin to quickly cite papers, everyone’s Citation Keys will be the same, so as to avoid the problem that the same document is repeatedly cited multiple times due to inconsistent Keys.

Zotero is a widely used document management software. Zotero provides group library functionality in addition to the most common personal libraries. Its use is almost identical to normal personal library usage, and any changes you make in the library will be synced to other people’s devices in real time.

1 Zotero Group Library Features

Creating a shared library is also very simple. Just go to the Zotero official website to create a new group. After the creation is complete, you only need to enter the Zotero account email address of other users to send the invitation.

1 Create a new Zotero group library

easyScholor: Literature and journal ranking query

In order to ensure the quality of references, teachers sometimes require papers cited in assignments to meet certain standards, for example, they must be included in SCI/EI. Moreover, different schools may also have different standards for accreditation of journals. In order to ensure that everyone is collecting documents that meet the requirements, try using the easyScholor browser plug-in.

easyScholor is a browser plug-in that can display the grades of literature journals, such as SCI divisions, CCF grades, etc. on CNKI, Google Scholar, Web of Science and other websites.

1 Display journal grades on Google Scholar pages

easyScholor also includes the journal recognition standards of many schools, and can also meet the special assignment requirements of some schools.

1 Journal Grade Criteria in easyScholor

group discussion

In the context of today’s pandemic, online group discussions are becoming more and more common. In meetings like brainstorming, we often need some tools to carry the content of the discussion. Apart from common online documents and online brain maps, there are also some other useful tools for you to choose from.

Miro: Versatile and Free Online Whiteboard for Students

There are many types of online whiteboard tools on the market today, and Miro is the most used commercially. Miro is an infinite canvas whiteboard tool with rich features such as brain maps, flowcharts, sticky notes, and more.

1 Miro user interface

Miro’s special feature is that it integrates with a variety of third-party applications, such as the ability to insert files from OneDrive directly into the whiteboard. Another feature of it is an extremely smooth collaboration interface. As a Saas online tool, even if hundreds of people are editing at the same time, the web page does not feel any lag.

1 Miro’s third-party app integration

Miro’s subscription is expensive, but it offers an educational discount that allows students and teachers to use the tool for free , with the student plan supporting online collaboration of up to 10 people and the teacher plan supporting online collaboration of up to 100 people. If you’re looking for a great whiteboard tool, try Miro.

1 Miro Educational Offers

Goodnote 5 Shared Notes: Make good use of class notes

According to the author’s very inaccurate field observations, excluding students who use computers in the classroom, the iPad coverage rate in today’s college classrooms can reach at least 50%; and on these iPads, Goodnote/Notability has almost become a must-install. one of the software. With the continuous update of Goodnote 5, it also provides the function of sharing notes.

1 Goodnote 5 shared notes feature

In the context of group discussions, iPad software such as Goodnote can make it easier for everyone to use a pen to draw their ideas than using the Miro whiteboard and other online tools above. And as a commonly used note-taking software, you can easily paste your past class notes into it.

1 Reuse past notes

essay writing

Overleaf Share: Co-authoring LaTeX

Compared with the above functions, Overleaf’s sharing function is more widely known. Overleaf is an online LaTeX editor that also provides the ability for multiple people to collaboratively write documents. Its usage is no different from ordinary online documentation tools. In conjunction with the Zotero group library mentioned above, the pull-through alignment of the entire paper writing process is truly realized.

1 Overleaf Multiplayer Collaborative Editing

The free version of Overleaf only supports two-person collaboration. But many schools have already purchased Overleaf products, especially overseas institutions. So you can see if your school is on the list ( Overleaf Institution List ), teachers and students of these schools can use the features of the professional version for free, and support unlimited collaborative editing functions.

1 Overleaf Pro for School Purchases

Hopefully these tools will help you do your group work efficiently. Teamwork is painful enough after all, at least be kind to yourself when it comes to tools 🙂

If you have other useful tools, please share them in the comment area and discuss with everyone.

The cover image is from Pixabay, and the images in the article are from the official website or software screenshots.

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