When preparing for another year of school, setting up the ultimate browser for your online school studies probably isn’t near the top of the To Do List. However, not doing so may well increase study time, reduce study effectiveness, and increase research time and effort.
The platform from which the ultimate online school browser extends is, of course, the browser itself. The three most popular today are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox; each has certain advantages and disadvantages compared to the others.
Internet Explorer is the default browser in most computers, IE’s biggest advantages are that it’s fully compatible with each Windows operating system, and no additional action is required for updates review, download, and installation. Its biggest disadvantage to extensive web surfers is that Microsoft allows cookies by advertisers without the user’s knowledge. Cookie control is supposed to be user-oriented, but with IE, that control is limited. Spyware and adware can easily slip in and track exact browsing habits and patterns.Google Chrome is patterned after IE and its biggest advantage is its containment features. Chrome allows tabbed browsing—multiple windows in the same browser, but Chrome considers each tab its own universe. If malware infests one browser tab “bucket,” it’s not allowed to spread to other tabs in that browser window. Chrome also provides for frequently visited sites to display for quick navigation. Unfortunately, it has the same cookie override that IE has, so cookie control is barely user friendly and not entirely true.
The Ultimate Online School Browser
Mozilla Firefox allows not only multiple tabbed browsing as the others, but it also allows separation of tabs into individual windows; the others require opening a whole new browser. Firefox also has the best cookie control of the three. The user has complete influence in what cookies are allowed and what aren’t; they aren’t determined by advertising dollars. Mozilla Firefox also has a vast array of compatible add-ons and plug-ins specifically designed for focused browsing and student-friendly surfing.
See How to change your default browser.
Online School Browser Additions
When considering browser additions tailored for online school education, the same parameters and considerations as book-only study apply: convenience, focus, and organization. Plug-ins and add-ons should follow those guidelines.
Some applicable and student-oriented tools for online school include:
- LeechBlock: Blocks access to social sites and other time-wasting websites during programmable hours, such as class schedules and study times. Password protected, the lockout can be overridden, but the student must take special effort to do so, giving opportunity to reconsider or delay access.
- Zotero: Simplifies citing references on papers and documents.
- Wired-Marker: Indelibly highlights sections, words, or phrases on web pages for easy reference and focus.
- Trailfire: Firefox-specific, this add-on enables note-taking directly on web pages. Notes are viewable to search engines, shared with others who search for the same keywords, or they can be kept entirely private—for user’s utilization only.
- Read It Later: Save web pages for later review; this add-on works even when saving offline; web pages viewed only when connected, however.
- Foxmarks: Access user browser bookmarks from anywhere across multiple computers. Save a bookmark in a laptop at the library; access from a PC at home.
- ReminderFox: Eliminates need for a separate calendar function; this add-on sends reminders, alerts, and alarms, allowing customized list management.
- FireCal: Enhanced calculator suite.
- DeeperWeb: Helps organize, sort, filter, and group results for finely tuned Google search results.
- FastestFox: Speeds up repetitive tasks, parallel downloads, next-page auto load, and more.
About the Author: JC Ryan is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. MyCollegesandCareers.com helps people determine if an online School education is right for them and helps them understand which online colleges and online courses they can choose from to reach their goals.