Many college students starting classes in the fall of 2020 are, unfortunately, going to miss out on the full college experience having been relegated to remote learning by the COVID-19 pandemic. For those students stuck home, there will be no hanging out on the campus green, no late-night cram study sessions with friends, no new friends (or more) to meet, and no beer pong, beer bongs, or bongs generally. And frankly, that sucks.
But one critical element of that college experience need not be lacking just because you can’t physically go to school this year: the education. With the right setup for remote college learning, you can still have a successful experience engaging with your professors and fellow students.To create that setup at home, you just need a few good gadgets, many of which you likely already have.
As you arrange your remote college learning space, try to create an environment you can dedicate to class and study, so when you’re “in class,” working on a paper, or reading a textbook, you can devote yourself with the same focus you’d achieve in the lecture hall or library. That way, when you’re doing schoolwork, you will be tuned in, and when you’re not, home can just feel like home.
Here are the top tech products that will help with remote learning for college students during the pandemic.
ASUS VivoBook L203MA Laptop
Without a good computer, there is no remote learning. The good news is you can get a perfectly decent laptop for less than $300. This ASUS laptop has four GB of RAM, so it’s not blistering fast, but you’re using it for video class sessions, not gaming, so you’ll be fine. Just don’t run too many programs at once.
HP 15-DY1036NR FHD Laptop
Still about a quarter the price of top-of-the-line laptops, this computer from HP has 8GB of RAM and a large 256GB hard drive, so you can process fast and store plenty of data on your device. The 15-inch monitor is also (almost) large enough to be immersive.
Bestore Full HD 1080P Webcam
This surprisingly well-reviewed webcam (8,900-plus five-star ratings and counting) is a fine price for a fine piece of hardware. It is plug-and-play, with no setup required, and can clip to your computer or be affixed to a tripod.
JOUNIVO JV601P Gooseneck USB Microphone
Unless you’re starting a podcast or hoping to become a successful streamer, there’s no need to spend much cash on a microphone for your computer. This one is easy to use, won’t take up much desk space, and it has that all-important mute button front and center.
COWIN E7 ANC Bluetooth Headphones
If you live alone or have a private space, listening to your lectures or chatting during study sessions doesn’t require headphones, but if your sister is also “in school” across the hall or your dad’s “at” work downstairs, a good pair of headphones that limits exterior noise and makes what you want to hear sound great is a must-have.
Keeping your schoolwork and schedule organized from home need not be complicated when you use the right software. Trello offers a free software that will help you manage your class schedule, plan out your deadlines, manage ongoing projects, and collaborate with a number of people. And or $10 a month, you get a much more powerful version of the software.
Textbooks are expensive, and frankly many are still pretty pricey even when you get the Kindle version, but at least you will be able to easily manage all your voluminous college tomes on one little device when you go the e-reader route. And you’ll definitely save on the literature you need for that English major.
With a second monitor, you can keep your eyes on your prof and still take notes on your computer. This one can connect via USB, USB-C, or HDMI cable, its display is crisp and its colors true, and it’s small enough to tuck into a backpack should you ever be able to leave home again.
TaoTronics UV-Free 10000 Lux Therapy Light
Classrooms, labs, and libraries tend to be bright, energizing environments. Bedrooms? Not so much. Let a lamp that simulates sunlight help keep you alert and awake while you’re doing the remote school thing. (And consider a different light to help you chill at night and wake up in the morning)
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