Free Online Resources for Your Online Classes

By Tamiera Vandegrift on November 7, 2017

College courses are challenging enough, but online classes can be especially difficult.

When you’re taking online classes, you are essentially teaching yourself and you can’t exactly swing by your professor’s office during their office hours to ask for help. It is difficult to determine who to ask for help and how to go about doing so. Taking online classes adds an entirely new element of independence and self-reliance, and for some, helplessness.

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When you can’t turn to your classmates or your professor for help with learning new material, who can you turn to? The answer is two simple words: the Internet.

Keep reading to learn about free online resources you can use to help you ace your online classes.

Khan Academy

When it’s late at night and you’ve been staring at the same numbers and symbols for hours, math classes can begin to seem like a foreign language. The online textbooks or online video demonstrations posted by your professor are simply impossible. It’s at this point that you sit and wonder how these upperclassmen are flipping around parentheses and negative signs so easily while you’re still staring at question number one. Don’t beat yourself up too badly, though. Khan Academy is here to help.

Khan Academy is chock full of online video demonstrations and explanations for a wide variety of subjects. With Khan Academy, you can learn more about trigonometry, multivariable calculus, algebra 1 and 2, statistics, and much more! If your online classes are throwing more trouble at you outside of the equations table, don’t sweat it. Khan Academy offers lessons and assistance in physics, organic chemistry, computer programming, economics, world history, and more. That’s only scraping the surface of what you can learn.

Want to know the best part? Khan Academy is 110 percent free. All of your hard work and studying will not add up to a single cent. That’s a pretty positive equation.

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OWL at Purdue

Writing isn’t for everybody. After trying to remember the difference between active and passive voice, the rules of punctuation, subject-verb agreements, and all of those other fun tidbits, the English language begins to seem pretty annoying and more challenging than necessary.

The Purdue OWL (otherwise known as The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University), however, exists to bridge the gap and help you with all things writing. Think of The OWL as that cheat sheet your professors sometimes allow you to have while you’re taking an exam or writing an essay.

With online classes, you have no one to critique your work or formally teach you how to write up to par with your professor’s expectations. The OWL offers a ton of tips, lessons, and advice on grammar and spelling. However, this nifty little website has a lot more to offer than writing rules.

The OWL gives lessons on writing all sorts of texts: essays, academic papers, letters, resumes, cover letters, research papers, and much more. This Swiss Army Knife of a website is all you need and more to absolutely dominate your online writing classes. You’re welcome.

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Lynda

Nowadays, being a university student gives you access to a ton of deals that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy if you were just any old Joe, like Spotify premium, HBOGO, discounted movie tickets, and … free online courses, video tutorials, and training from Lynda? That’s right.

With your student ID login, you can access over six THOUSAND free courses, video tutorials, and trainings all a few clicks away. So what does this mean for you and your online classes? For online video production classes, you can learn all of the ins and outs of Adobe Premiere without spending hours dragging and dropping video clips. For computer programming classes, you can learn how to use different coding techniques to produce the project you’re looking for.

Lynda can bridge the gap between the things most online resources don’t offer. With your student ID login information, you have access to a world of knowledge and learning assistance that would normally cost you anywhere from $20 to $30 per month.

P.S.: If learning an instrument was one of your resolutions for the year, Lynda has over 100 lessons on music lessons, production, composition, and more. You’re welcome.

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SparkNotes/Shmoop

Still trying to figure out the meaning of the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s dock? Still unraveling and devouring each and every character from The Grapes of Wrath to figure out who the Christ figure is? Well, SparkNotes and Shmoop just might be able to help you if you’re stuck.

However, these websites should only be used as a SUPPLEMENT to learning, meaning that they are not a SUBSTITUTE for reading the novels. Keep this in mind before you go looking for help. Without a class lecture, it’s hard to pick up on hidden meanings, symbolism, and understanding especially with extremely difficult texts.

SparkNotes and Shmoop will break down stories and meanings in a way that it’s still entertaining, engaging, and most importantly of all: educational. The best part? Both websites are completely free to use!

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With these free resources, taking online classes will be easier, leaving you with more time to enjoy yourself and your college experiences. Good luck!

Tamiera is a senior at Florida State University, studying Editing, Writing & Media and Digital Media Production. When she's not geeking out about movies and puppy videos, she's on her way to a career in screenwriting, while working intensely to finish a few novels before graduation. Besides writing, Tamiera is otherwise obsessed with Coldplay, feminism, dystopian novels, and various types of junk food. She hopes to see one of her works on the silver screen and eventually finish an entire tube of Chapstick.

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