As a student, it’s hard to keep up with all the courses that you are enrolled in and the countless assignments that get thrown your way. Eventually, you forget to get some things done, no matter how responsible you are.
You could use a simple to-do app to keep up with all your due assignments, but why not go further and get a more complete piece of software for keeping your education organised?
Today we are reviewing Schoolhouse, which works as a manager for all your course information, including your grades and your due assignments. Read on to find why we think Schoolhouse could be a great investment for your education.
Before the Beginning
Schoolhouse fits in seamlessly with the Mac experience. Its design is reminiscent of native Mac apps like iTunes – after all, it’s only available on Mac. Recently it has launched on the Mac App Store, where you can pick it up at the discounted price of $4.99.
You could think of it as a GTD app for students, but it’s actually much more than that. Not only can it handle your tasks, it can handle your schedule, your grades, files, websites, and it will keep all of those organized in a neat and stylish manner.
Once you download and launch it, you’ll be presented with a welcome window that will give you some handy tips on what you can do with this app. Then you’ll be presented with a pretty empty window, that you might want to start filling up with all the information from your courses.
On the bar across the bottom of the app, you’ll see a plus icon that can help you add new courses, notebooks, websites, etc. If you want to add a new course, you’ll be presented with a bunch of options that you might want to fill out.
Some of those include the ability to choose how your course is graded and the schedule of your classes, lectures, labs, or whatever you want to enter.
You can even tell the app when your course will start and end, and make it a repeating task on certain days at certain times. This way the app will be able to make up an accurate schedule for you.
If you go to the “Class Schedule” tab, you’ll be able to see all the classes neatly arranged in your week. And if you label each course by colour (which I highly recommend), you’ll be able to see the coloured classes on the calendar, as well as the tasks under the “Tasks” tab.
A “Task” could be a homework assignment, an exam, a due project, or pretty much anything you have to get done. The tasks are very customisable – once you add one, you’ll be able to add all kinds of attributes to them via the sidebar.
These include a due date, the course that they belong to, the priority of the task, and the files that are related to it. Once you get a task done, you can mark it as such and note down the grade that you got on it, so that Schoolhouse can do the math with the info that you gave it on how your course is graded.
All your tasks live in the “Tasks” tab, where you can view them and filter them according to their attributes. Once you get a task done it doesn’t get deleted, it just gets crossed and remains living on your log. Tasks are the main feature of Schoolhouse, as they help you keep everything you have to do organized into courses and dates through the calendar.
It’s a little time consuming to create tasks continuously, but if you have the time for it and are able to keep all your tasks up to date, Schoolhouse could work very well for you.
Notebooks and Other Features
The “Notebooks” are essentially groups of tasks that you can arrange. These could be, for example, “Exams” or “Due Homework”. They have a smart notebooks feature that works through conditions, very much like iTunes’ “Smart playlists”. These Notebooks feature could be useful for quickly accessing tasks that are related beyond belonging to the same course.
As mentioned previously, Schoolhouse can also store relevant website links for your various courses. This works through Schoolhouse’s built-in browser, so you don’t necessarily need to swap between apps.
My school uses a system called “Blackboard”, and I added the relevant Blackboard links to each course. That is quite a timesaver, as you can easily access your courses with just one click, instead of having to navigate through the system.
The Grading System
I was curious to see how the grading system would work in this app without being difficult to keep up with – overall, I’m not completely convinced. First off, you have to input the grading information for each course, under the course’s settings.
Once you get this done you have to go through all of your tasks and tell Schoolhouse the grades you got and where that grade belongs in the weighing system. It’s confusing because there is no support for monthly grades, just for final grades on a course.
I can’t really imagine myself using this feature, on account of it being quite fiddly to set up and keep track of. It might be just what you’re looking for, though, and it’s useful to know that it’s available if you need it.
Schoolhouse is a great app at a excellent price. It does what it claims to do and much more. If you can find the time and will to keep it up-to-date with all your information, it could be a great tool for staying organised as a student.
I don’t think I could necessarily commit to maintaining all my information in an app like this, but maybe you could. What do you think?