Well, at the University of Wyoming, courses are in full session. With that in mind, here are my recommendations for applications that I believe all students should have close at hand. These applications were chosen based on versatility and accessibility. All of these applications and Web programs can be reached from desktop computers as well as mobile devices. Personally, I would recommend loading the applications on all your devices so you can reach them from home, work, school, and on the road.
Evernote is a no brainer. With Evernote, you can capture all of your notes both written and typed. You can upload handouts and presentations. You can create to do lists and reminders. Information can be captured in many formats to include text, images, audio, links, and video. Notes can be combined or linked to from other notes. With tagging, you can easily organize your notes together. You can also share notes with others who can subsequently edit the shared notes. Finally, all the information you capture will be available from year to year. I have written a lot about Evernote.
Diigo is my other go to program. Diigo is a social bookmarking tool. With this tool, you can save favorite Web pages (I have 8,105 favorite pages). As I do research on the Web, I quickly and easily save interesting things I find to Diigo. Part of the process is tagging the Web site, so that I can easily locate it later. It has proven extremely useful as I work on research projects and need background information. Other benefits of Diigo include making notes and highlighting directly on Web pages. Here are some posts I wrote on Diigo.
If you need to write research papers, theses, or dissertations, you will want to have Zotero close at hand. Zotero is a citation management tool. Once you add information about your document into Zotero, you can easily extract it in the format of your choosing such as APA 6 or MLA. More importantly, you can add notes to each of the listings which can be searched, organized by tags, and culled together for specific articles, chapters, or projects. Here is more on Zotero.
Dropbox and/or Google Drive
Having a storage system in the cloud is essential. This simply reduces what you have to carry around and potentially lose. I had so much faith in Dropbox that it was the only place where the multiple iterations of my dissertation could be found. Google Drive has the added power of being able to store any type of document as well as creating documents that can be collaborated on in real time. Both Dropbox and Google Drive allow the sharing of documents and folders. This is very useful for moving large documents between people. More on Dropbox and Google Drive.
Google+ and Google+ Hangouts
Google+ is a great place to share ideas with others. Through the use of circles, you can follow the ideas of others as well as collaborate with those in your circle. You could create a Google+ page or circle to collaborate with a study group or class. With Google+ Hangouts, you can hold meetings with up to ten friends or classmates. I personally hold office hours with Google+ Hangouts on Air. More on Google+.
Finally, I would have to add LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a Rolodex on steroids. LinkedIn allows you to develop your network, which you will benefit greatly from as you enter the working world. Your network can help you solve problems and develop solutions. The time you need to develop your network is before you need it. More on LinkedIn.
Well, that is my list of essentials. If you were putting together a list of essential programs for back to college, what would you include?