5 Essential Apps for Online Distance Learning

Distance education programs serve as affordable career stepping stones that help professionals advance to the next level. Higher education can even improve job prospects, Peter DeWitt notes in Education Week. For example, PennFoster.edu opens doors “for anyone looking to build a better future with affordable, quality, debt-free education.” Maximize an online education experience with academic mobile apps that help a student manage family life, school and work. Apps can help you stay organized with assignments and stay connected with classmates and professors.

Time Management

If poor time management interferes with your studies and prevents you from accomplishing anything, the iPhone/iPad app iStudiezPro can keep you on track. Schedule daily appointments and receive reminders directly on your device. iStudiezPro syncs across your Apple devices and integrates with iCal, the calendaring tool. As winner of the 2011 Best College Student App, iStudiezPro will turn you into a time-management pro.

Work & Life Balance

Use a time tracker like Harvest to track and manage time spent working on assignments in an effort to achieve balance between school and your personal life. Solo plans cost $12 a month and integrate across Mac and PC devices, so you can track time on your smartphone and laptop. Harvest is easy to set up and comes with a free 30-day trial. Why not test its usefulness?


Complete work on-the-go with the e-reader app GoodReader which supports PDF and TXT files. Your smartphone or tablet may already have an e-reader, but GoodReader features advanced annotating capabilities for easier reading and adequate preparation for papers and presentations. Create sticky notes and highlights. Draw and search text with this $4.99 app for iOS devices.


Group projects are part of the learning curriculum with online institutions, and a file-sharing utility like Dropbox is essential for collaborating with others. Sign up for a free Dropbox account, and then download the app to access shared files anywhere, anytime. If you need a larger account, Dropbox offers paid versions, but the free, basic version does offer enough space for you to get started.


The free inClass app offers note taking, audio and video lecture recording, file sharing, and alarms to help you ace your classes. Record distance learning video presentations, discuss group projects with the StudyRoom feature, share notes with classmates, and remind yourself of appointments as the alarm feature alerts you.

The freedom to set your own schedule is a perk for online distance learning. Freedom equally presents time management, productivity and collaboration challenges. Manage your school work, work life and personal life with a collection of productivity and educational apps that you can resort to when studying gets tough.