University students face a certain challenge keeping their homework, class schedules, and research developments organized among paper documents and computers in their room, home, and the lab. When epiphany strikes, it's just as likely to be recorded on the back of a crumpled sandwich receipt as it is on a Word document or online briefcase--or was that just me?
That's exactly why Tom Whitson wrote Notely.
Developed in the Netvibes Ecosystem and translated into a number of languages, Notely is positioned to meet students' organizational needs by storing notes, important links, a calendar, a class schedule, grades, and a to-do list, and is accessible from anywhere a student logs on.
Notely racks up points for online document storage and data backup, and a word processor that supports links and images. It also has a language translator and can export and e-mail some of the stored data. Friends who jump on Notely's bandwagon can share information, such as class schedules or lecture notes.
While Notely has much to offer students, there are some snags. For starters, it's not clear how much storage Notely offers. Also, the calendar and scheduling sections deserve some attention and are the program's weakest sections. Despite assigning preferences for a 12-hour clock, I had to schedule my adviser meeting for 16:00. And while I could list my courses and the meeting room, Notely didn't note the class time. I also didn't like having to drag and drop classes into Notely's schedule. I'd much rather enter the time once and let the schedule populate itself. Many of these ills can be improved by emulating Google and Outlook calendars and offering greater flexibility for adding events directly into a schedule instead of one by one.
With a Mac dashboard widget, a Facebook app, and iPhoneand mobile phone interfaces, Notely is also accessible to (technologically advantaged) students traveling between points who might otherwise reach for that degraded receipt.
Students solely interested in online note taking and collaboration should also consider Notesake, another free tool reviewed on Webware.com.