Higher Ed Tools for More Productive Communication, Collaboration, and Management

  • February 20, 2016
Higher Education Technology

Do you make the most of your day?

Productivity is defined by “the effectiveness of productive effort, as measured in terms of rate of output per unit of input”. The topic of productivity and how employees and organization can be more productive is hot topic among all industries. Are there “hacks” or particular steps we can take to ensure we are more productive? It seems that is the question many organizations want the answer to.

The higher education industry is often taxed with multi-step procedures, regulations and rules that can make improving productivity difficult. With a growing acceptance of utilizing technology in the higher education realm, employee, institutions and students can benefit from online tools, software and applications that help to make an increase in productivity possible.

 

Productive Communication

According to a Pearson study, about 40% of faculty members used social media as a teaching tool in 2013—and that number is growing. Additionally, about 79% of faculty members said technology increases faculty and student communication.

Facebook and LinkedIn provide opportunities for a “virtual meeting place” for students or groups. Both social networks provide private group functions, allowing teams to stay up-to-date on news, provide peer feedback and schedule events for a particular audience. Almost all students are extremely familiar with Facebook and LinkedIn, making the likelihood of participation greater.
Cost: Free

Google Hangout is ideal for online educators, busy schedules or team with geographic barriers. Its simple, free and allows for visual interaction between teammates.
Cost: Free

Twitter allows professors or departments to provide immediate feedback and service to students and/or other staff members. Its instantaneous connectivity makes it the ideal platform to implement student-teacher “chat” hours where students can ask questions and provide feedback on lectures. Real time updates and department news can also easily be communicated to your audience.
Cost: Free

ClassPager allows you to communicate with your students through polls, exit tickets, after-class reminders and more. Educators can utilize ClassPager to gather answers to questions posed in class, feedback on material and provide helpful updates and reminders to students. The software allows you to tap into something they have with them at all times: their phone.
Cost: Plans range from $0-$20/month

 

Productive Collaboration

Google Docs is arguably the simplest form of collaboration, allowing teams and groups to edit and share documents, spreadsheets, images and surveys within one application. Google Docs are a great way to gather information among multiple users and track progress and user-submitted content.
Cost: Free

Diigo brings together all of you and your teams’ online research into one central place. Ever wish you could share your bookmarks are highlight or particular portion of a web page? With Diigo, you can collect and organize bookmarks, highlights, screenshots, documents and more to share with your department, team or students.
Cost: Plans range from $0-$6/month

Slack is great for departments or teams looking to keep discussions and chatter organized by various channels all in one place. Teams can collaborate all within the app, sharing necessary files and receiving notifications within Slack instead of a string of monotonous emails. Its search features allow you to search your entire archive as well.
Cost: Plans range from $0-$12.50/month

Dropbox has become extremely popular across all industries for its ease of use and secure space. Professors and students can easily store and submit assignments in one place, ensuring the most up-to-date information is available.
Cost: Plans range from $0-$15/month

 

Project Management

Asana is a straightforward project management tool that allows teams to easily organize tasks, assign items to members, track comments and sync everything to Google calendars. Asana can be used for team projects, classroom collaboration or even department initiatives or projects.
Cost: Plans range from $0-$9 per user/month

WorkZone is an extremely detailed-oriented project management system that allows for unique features like task dependencies, project request forms, expense tracking, group calendars, custom branding, email alerts, project templates and individual to-do lists. “We utilize WorkZone for our Creative Services department to take on branding and creative projects across the entire campus,” says Katie Colombo, Marketing Operations Manager at Cal Poly. “It allows us to take an accurate look at the time spent on projects and analyze which particular tasks are holding us up”.
Cost: Request a demo for pricing; plans begin at $200/month

Todoist is a simple way to manage tasks and projects across over 15 different platforms. It allows you to prioritize tasks, create labels and filters, share and collaborate and visual your productivity over time. Todoist is not only a great solution for classrooms or department projects, but it is also a great for personal projects like wedding planning or redecorating your kitchen.
Cost: Plans range from $0-$29/year

 

Do you have a software or application that you utilize for productivity that’s not listed above? Share your favorite tool with us on Twitter with hashtag #ProductiveWithComevo


 

Comevo, Inc. is a provider of online orientation to Higher Education, Non profits, and HR departments. Comevo’s mission is to cultivate technology to streamline and enhance the communication between organizations and their constituents.