To-do apps have such a big market, with new ones coming out almost every week. But what about a to-do app made specifically for students? Keeping up with assignments from all the different courses that you have as a student can be pretty difficult.
The app that we are reviewing today is called iHomework, and, as can likely be guessed by its name, its purpose is to help you keep up with your assignments.
The interface of the app is very simple and it goes along well with the Mac theme. There is a main panel and two sidebars on the right and left sides. The right sidebar lists courses, teachers, reminders, and reading assignments. The left sidebar is where you see your tasks for the day and check them as they are completed, or pull them up to view them in detail.
The main panel is where you can see your tasks in detail, as well as the area in which you add notes, files, or information to your tasks. The bar on top of the app includes a search bar, the sync button, and buttons to change between the detail and list views, which we’ll get to later. The bar on the bottom reminds you how long it has been since you last synched the app, and it also lets you add tasks, remove tasks, or remove the courses sidebar.
Detail & List Views
As we mentioned, you can switch between the two view modes on the app by clicking either of the buttons on the bar on top. The detail view mode is the default mode, and in it you can see the two sidebars and the main panel. This panel will show you details of the currently selected task, such as the title, course, type, deadline, and notes or files associated with it.
The list view mode changes the interface quite a bit; it removes the sidebars and just leaves the main panel and another small panel below it. While using list view, the main panel displays the tasks in a “list”, and has some filters on top of it, like “Complete” and “In Process”, or you could also filter by courses. The small panel will display details of the selected tasks.
You can add a new task by clicking the “+” button on the bottom sidebar. Depending on the view mode that you are using, you’ll see the new task displayed in the main panel, where you can fill in all the information that you require from the task. You can simply add in basic information, or you could go deep into it and add files that are related to the task, partners that you are working with, or notes describing the nature of the assignment.
On the other fields you have the title, type, deadline, grade, and course. The title is pretty self-explanatory; it’s the name of the task. The course is one that you can select from the courses you have already created in the courses menu, and it can be used to filter your tasks. The type includes homework, quiz, test, or project. In the deadline field you can put in the due date of the assignment, and in the grade field you can put in what grade you got in the assignment after you get it back.
Once you complete an assignment, you can just check it, which will mark it as done. This does not remove the assignment from your task list for the day, it will just be marked as done so that you know it is complete.
Courses, Reminders and Other Features
On the right sidebar you have a few buttons called Courses, Teachers, Reminders, and Reading. Under courses, you can add a new one by clicking the plus button on the bottom. From there you can add all the information that you need, such as the name, course number, teacher information, schedule, websites, etc. These aren’t really used within the app, it’s just a nice way to keep things organized.
The other features on the right sidebar work in pretty much the same way. The teacher button allows you to add all of your professors and any important information about them. Another cool feature is the “mini” mode of the app. By clicking a small button on the bottom bar, you can get rid of everything other than the tasks sidebar. This is useful to avoid distractions and help you focus on what’s really relevant: your assignments. There’s also a cool calendar view mode that can help you get an overview of all your due dates.
Syncing and the iOS app
The syncing process is a bit more confusing than it is in other apps, but it works. You have to put in a login name and password on your Mac, and then go into your iOS device and start syncing so that you can pair both devices.
From then on, every time you want to sync up, you have to put both devices into syncing mode at the same time, and they will automatically sync up. It’s not very convenient and it might work better if it were to complete this process through Dropbox, like Day One does.
You do need to spend another $1.99 to get the iOS app, though.
iHomework doesn’t seem to lack anything; it has support for everything that you might need if you are student. The real problem with these types of apps is having the time and the will to update it continuously with all of your course information and assignments.
Do you think these type of apps are beneficial for students or just another burden for them to deal with? If you are a student, do you use any similar types of apps?
© 2011, Brandon Wyche. All rights reserved.