The best free sites for working at home when you're a student

In these times of confinement, the various platforms, online course sites or social networks are proving very useful for students.

How to work from home during confinement? With exam periods fast approaching, students in higher education are in a difficult period. When classes stop, perhaps until May 4, they must continue to work for their exams. Here is a selection of the most used tools.

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• Videoconference courses

If this is not the case for all establishments and the system is not necessarily fully developed, many teachers have decided to teach by videoconference. There are many platforms to be able to teach by videoconference, such as Skype, but which are not necessarily suitable for classes, which generally have more than 20 students.

There are specialized professional platforms, such as Zoom, a video communications platform dedicated to businesses. This platform has many advantages: you can make calls, audio or video, with up to 100 people, the platform normally does not present any connection problem (which is the main problem of the various platforms currently), and it is a site designed for professional use (file sharing, conference room, etc.) Skype for Business also has similar functionalities.

Since the start of containment, the Discord platform has been one of the most downloaded applications in France. Originally designed and used as a communication and calling tool for video game players, this application is now used for calls between friends, and even for remote classes. Discord works on servers, and you can create some sort of private "lounges", private chat rooms and calls in a small circle. Discord has also published a user guide for teachers, and has authorized video and audio calls to up to 50 people, compared to a maximum of 10 in normal times.

• Online class platforms

There are several online platforms that have all the functionality of a class: exchange documents and put online lessons, be able to chat directly with teachers and students, do time-limited assessments, submit homework, create a planning, making a virtual classroom… This is the case of Google Classroom, one of the Google Drive platforms, which is used a lot by higher education establishments. It is a free site, accessible to all, and students receive the various notifications (messages, evaluations, online courses) on their email address. The platform even has a locked mode for assessments and tests, which prevents students from going to other sites during its control, and thus limit possible cheating attempts."We already use Classroom throughout the year, which is convenient because we already know how to use it. The teachers agreed that, during confinement, all our lessons and assessments will be on this platform ” explains Hugo, a second year student of BTS Tourism at Charles Péguy high school in Marseille.

• Stay in touch with your class and teachers

Thanks to the large number of different sites to communicate and different social networks, it is easy to stay in touch with your class and your teachers. Whether on WhatsApp, Messenger or even Discord for some. Discussion groups are created between students and with teachers to be able to discuss directly about lessons, homework, functioning, organization, etc.

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• Free textbooks online

As with primary schools, colleges and high schools, publishers of textbooks in higher education, mainly for BTS, have published textbooks in PDF for free, to download or view online. All areas (management, management, commerce, communication, etc.) and all subjects (languages, mathematics, law, specialties, economics, etc.).

The publisher Nathan offers his textbooks on the Biblio Manuel site while Hachette and Foucher have made their textbooks available on the My Space E-Education site.

The Cairn site offers individuals online access to a growing number of humanities and social sciences publications, in French, in full text. Any internet user can thus freely access the main metadata information of the various articles presented on this portal, their plans when these are available, as well as their summaries / first lines / first pages. For journals, the full text of articles dating from 2 to 5 years (depending on the journal) is also available for free access, while that of the most recent issues is available for paid access.

• MOOCs and online courses

Online course platforms, such as the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), are highlighted. This is the case of the best known of them in France, FUN Mooc (France Digital University). This platform offers a wide choice of online courses open to all and free. More than 80 French establishments offer these different online courses throughout the year, in many fields such as management, languages, law, economics or IT. France Université Numérique also announced that the old archived courses (there are more than 450) will gradually be put online on their site to be accessible by the greatest number.