Saturday, October 10, 2009

Online Help

These free web resources can help you make save time, save money, and succeed in your distance learning courses.

1. OpenCourseWare - Opencourseware is class material such as syllabuses, reading lists, lecture notes, and other documents that were once used in an actual classroom and are now available to the public for free. Several universities such as MIT make this valuable material available on their websites as a service to the public.

2. Question and answer websites – When you find yourself with a question, users from question and answer web sites like Yahoo Answers, Wondrir, or Answerology can help you out.

3. Online Writing Labs – Perfect for helping you polish that term paper, online writing labs (otherwise known as OWLs) give users a massive amount of information on how to write well.

4. Google Scholar – If you use Google Scholar, Google Books, and Google News, you may never have to leave your house again. These services make writing those undergrad research papers almost too easy.

5. Literature guides – Didn't read the book? No sweat. Online lit guides will walk you through the basics without charging you a dime.

6. Online classes – There's a free online class for just about every subject. From reading groups to photography, joining an online class is instant and can give you a lot of valuable information (and access to people who have the answers).

7. Ask a Librarian Service - Many states have fantastic Ask a Librarian programs that allow users to chat with a librarian live (and for free) from their home computers. California’s program gives access to live librarians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all residents. To find out if your state hosts such a program enter your state’s name and “ask a librarian” in any search engine.

8. Online book archives - While newer texts are unlikely to be online, hundreds of older pieces with expired copyrights are all over the internet. The Internet Public Library, for example, offers links to hundreds of full-text books, magazines, and newspapers. Bartleby, a similar site, offers thousands of ebooks and reference materials free of charge. Readers can even download the books for free and view them on their desktop or handheld device. Project Gutenberg provides 16,000 e-books free for download, including classics such as Pride and Prejudice and The Odyssey.

9. Scholarship search engines – Money is one of the biggest concerns of college students. A scholarship search engine can help take care of that problem pronto.

10. Podcasts – iTunes has a growing number of podcasts dedicated to helping students. Download them for free and play them in your car to learn a new language, understand physics, or take legal lessons from a JD student.

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