Web Resources for English Classes

Course Administration

Create Class Text Message System: Remind
Instructors can message students without giving them your phone number. It's easy to sign up and create a texting group for any all of your classes. Students just send one intro text, and they are added to your list.

Create Class Facebook Page: Instruction Video
Instructors can create a class page separate from a personal page. I have used it for reminders and to for FAQs. The video link above takes you through the steps.

Schedule Student Meetings: Doodle 
Instructors can create a list of time slots for students to schedule meetings. I adjust settings so each student can choose only one time slot and that slot then becomes unavailable to others. Students take advantage of meetings at a much higher rate when I post times.

Create your own Student Evaluations: Student Assessment of their Learning Gains
Instructors can create their own evaluation forms that are more in line with specific course goals than generic university forms. Students can still answer anonymously.

Get students access to a pared down Microsoft Office for Free: OneDrive
OneDrive offers a free microsoft suite with basic features online.

Create Beautiful Class Lectures: Prezi
Prezi allows you to conceptualize and present ideas in a more fluid style than PowerPoint.

Create Class Lecture that Capture Your Screen and Voice: Screenr
This website allows you to capture your computer screen and your voice. I've created a few of my lectures using this technology so that students can watch them more than once.

Poll Your Class: Poll Everywhere
With this site you can ask questions and get student responses in real time using their cell phones or computers.

Class Assignments

Craft "Fakebook" for Characters & Writers
This online "Fakebook" template allows students to create fake Facebook pages to help students explore plot and character relationships. Here is an  example on Jane Austen's Pride and PrejudiceAustenbook.

Create Word Cloud Visualizations of a Text: Wordle or Textal on smartphones
Wordle allows you to type/paste text and generate a word map. It visually displays the terms so that the the most frequently used terms appear largest. It's useful as an exercise building to rhetorical analysis.

Outline Ideas on a Mindmap: Text2MindMap 
On this website, students can create a web of ideas to organize thoughts for writing.

Force Yourself to Write: Write or Die
This website incentivizes writing by creating rewards or consequences. One consequence, for example, is that if you stop writing for a certain period of time, the site will start deleting your work.

Apply Hemingway's Writing Principles: Hemingway App
Paste in your text and the app will highlight your text in different colors to show wordiness, passive voice, or awkward grammar. When my students write analysis papers and employ useful adverbs (something marked and discouraged here) we discuss differences in genres, the fiction and journalism that Hemingway wrote, versus our analyses, which might need adverbs to evaluate how a text works persuasively.

Identify Over-Used Language with Word and Phrase Frequency Counter: WriteWords
Paste in your text and the site will identify how many times each word (or phrase) is used. One downside to the phrase application is that you have to choose the number of words to count as "phrases," instead of it identifying commonly used phrases.

Check Grammar & Plagiarism: Grammarly
This service is not free, but it looks really useful. Schools can buy a package and even integrate it into Blackboard.

Find Unknown Meanings of Words: Oxford English Dictionary
Most language scholars already use the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a grand catalogue of words and their usages. I have students look up words to find any meanings they don't know are contributing to the text. For example, when analyzing one article many students looked up "renegade" and learned that it had religious connotations. You need a subscription to the site, but you can access it from most any college campus or by using the university library's off-site login.

Create Web-Based Instructions for Technical Writing: Instructables
My colleague Garrett Avila-Nichols uses this site in his technical writing class and has had many of his students featured on the website.

Find Films with Certain Characteristics: Internet Movie Database 
Use the search bar  and choose "Keywords" from the dropdown menu to find films that contain whatever you are looking for. For instance, when I was working on my dissertation, I needed to find Westerns in which a woman dies in child birth. I used the keyword phrase, "die in childbirth," and presto.

Find Writing Advice & MLA formatting: Purdue OWL
With the resources available at the Purdue Online Writing Lab and other sites, I don't have students buy English handbooks anymore. See my post on more online writing labs.

Other Useful Websites for Students
Poll a class on their understanding: Socrative
Apps for taking digital Notes: GoodNotes, Notability
Create collaborative conversations and notes on a document: Hypothesis
Create Videos with Pictures, Captions, Music: Animoto
Fact Check the Internet: RefDesk
Create a Class Schedule: CollegeRuled
Create Digital Flash Cards: Study Blue
Learn to Budget & Track Your Spending: Mint
Create an Online Database You Can Share: Grubba

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