As a teacher, sometimes you want to give your students access to more than just the run of the mill Wikipedia and Google search results for out of class education.
This is true whether you're teaching at Greensboro college or a local community college. The trouble is finding a selection of decent websites to suggest. Thankfully, there are a number of excellent resources available if you know where to look. Here's 25 of the best:
University Provided Resources
MIT Online Courses
Just because your students don't attend MIT doesn't mean they can't take advantage of the excellent courses they offer. MIT has a large number of courses available for free online.
The Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative
This online learning tool operates the same way as MIT's. A variety of classes are available for free online.
Stanford is another excellent university offering courses online. In this case, however, they're offered through iTunes. Alternatively, most of them are up on Youtube as well.
Harvard offers classes online as well, though they're mostly Computer Science oriented. The limited subject matter doesn't counteract the quality of the teaching.
Berkeley is another university that offers online courses. The catalog spans most of their departments, from Art to Physics. They even have courses stretching all the way back to 2005!
Utah State may not be what people think of when someone says Ivy League, but they too offer online courses with a quality level similar to the rest of the institutions on this list.
RU is yet another of the prestigious schools to offer courses online. In this case, their Connexions system is one of the best available. Content doesn't necessarily have to be submitted by faculty of the university, and as such they have hundreds of modules to choose from.
The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago provides both course lectures and interesting multimedia videos to watch. Not everything is directly related to classwork, but it's all interesting.
This consortium is a group of universities that believe offering their courses for free online is an excellent way to improve the human condition. Many of the universities listed above are part of this consortium. You can find just about anything, from a criminal justice degree course to writing to engineering!
Peer to Peer University
This site is a new concept that could only be possible with today's level of Internet saturation. Anyone with the knowledge can start a course, and anyone with the curiosity to learn can attend. There isn't much on offer quite yet, but as time goes on, it will grow.
Other Academic Resources
This site is a similar project to Open Course Work and P2PU combined. It allows teachers and students to network and tutor each other in virtually any subject. Students can help each other, and instructors can add their information as well.
The YouTube Ed Channel
Youtube has an entire category dedicated to educational videos. While it's always risky to suggest Youtube as a resource, there's plenty of good information available. That is, if your students can resist the distractions available on the same site.
The TED talks happen several times a year, but the videos of their presentations are available all year round. Most of the brightest minds in the world present their ideas here, on any subject imaginable. TED is one of the best resources around for learning without realizing you're learning.
How Stuff Works
This site is one of those brilliant sites that's been around forever. Virtually any complicated idea is explained in detail with language anyone can understand.
There comes a time in every student's life where they have to scour academic journals for information. The Directory of Open Access Journals makes this much easier, by compiling free access journals in a sortable manner.
Specialized Subject Matter
The Google Code University
The Google Code University is another resource Google offers. It includes courses and tutorials for learning various programming languages and web coding, including Google's own APIs.
W3Schools is one of the largest resources for web development and web coding available on the Internet. HTML, CSS, XML, and a dozen other languages are all on offer for free.
Sometimes your students may have other interests in mind. Ultimate Guitar offers a variety of free guitar lessons for anyone with the instrument and the patience to learn from a video.
For something a little different than guitar, this site offer piano lessons for anyone musically inclined. A piano may be harder to come by than a guitar, but that doesn't mean your students can't learn.
LiveMocha is one of the best sites online for learning a foreign language. While no online class will compete with immersion, this site can certainly help with any student struggling in a language class.
One of the most essential life skills is learning how to prepare food for yourself and others. Alton Brown's long running show Good Eats was one of the best resources for learning how to cook. While the show itself is over, episodes can still be found online to watch.
The Gutenberg Project
The Gutenberg Project is a vast compilation of free books online. Many of them are older classics, some of which are required reading for many literature classes. Every book offered is free for download and reading at any time, even on a mobile through their mobile website.
Scribd is the social networking site for those who love to read. More than that, however, it's also an excellent way for students and teachers alike to discover new literature to read. It's a site well worth checking out for lovers of the written word.
Math is a complicated subject, and one many people struggle with. Reddit has compiled a massive list of math resources for any level of learning, and they're all too excellent for just one to be featured here.
This site offers instructions for do it yourself projects of any level. Anything from cake decorating to recycle crafts to small robotic contraptions can be found with step by step instructions complete with pictures.
With all of these free resources available, no teacher or student should ever want for material.
Just because your school doesn't have a class for it, doesn't mean your students can't learn. For those that do offer the classes, the material in these sites can go a long way towards making learning fun and easy. All it takes is finding them.
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