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15 Best Online Resources for College Students

15 Best Online Resources for College Students

Online resources have made an entire revolution in education, not only because they are convenient and accessible, but because they make the entire process of teaching and learning more interesting and memorable. There are free and paid online resources for college students and they usually complement one another quite well. Each student will prefer different resources according to their subjects of interest and learning style, but there are universally great tools that impress nearly every student who tries them.

In order to help college students locate the best online resources that will make their lives easier, we tailored a list of 15 most useful links that offer exactly what they need for achieving good grades.

1. The Rapid E-Learning Blog (Articulate Network)

Rapid E-learning

    Tom Kuhlmann is a blogger who shares practical tips all students can benefit from. The blog offers up-to-date information on different education-related topics that will help you become an e-learning pro. The discussions under each post are also very valuable, so don’t forget to read the comments and join the community.

    2. Atrixware E-Learning Solutions Blog

    Atrixware

      Atrixware is a company that has developed a great online learning management system that enables students to create great presentations easily. However, the really valuable resource is the blog section of this website, where you can read fresh information about the most popular and most useful e-learning tools.

      3. Social Media Tools for College Students at NinjaEssays

      Custom writing service NinjaEssays.com

        NinjaEssays lists useful educative social media tools that will motivate you to learn new things each day by making the studying process easier and more fun. This is a very valuable resource that will help you advance your education and improve your learning skills.  With the usage of these tools, the entire classroom will be more effective and motivated.
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        4. Saylor

        Saylor

          The Saylor Foundation started with a very simple, honest, and strong idea: to make education free for everyone. If you are looking for free classes on all sorts of subjects, this is the place where you can find them.

          5.Study Guide Zone

          Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.18.22 pm

            Although the website looks outdated, Study Guide Zone is a great place for free resources for any student who is looking for a way to improve the scores on a standardized test. The website offers study exams for SAT, ACT, and GED among many other tests.

            6. Getting Smart

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              Getting Smart is one of the most passionate learning-focused communities on the web. The website will lead you to ways and resources that will increase your studying effectiveness.

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              7. Compass Learning

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                Compass Learning is a website that helps teachers understand the strengths, motivations, and needs of every student so they can personalize their approach to different types of learners. CompassLearning Odyssey is a product that assesses the needs and strengths of a student and then prescribes a learning path according to his/her individual characteristics.

                8. KnowledgeNet

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                  This is the website you should visit whenever you need useful sources that will help you understand the lectures of IT-related subjects.

                  9. Coursera

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                    This is one of the most valuable learning resources on the web. Students can find free courses provided by prestigious universities. Almost all courses are offered, including humanities, computer science, business, mathematics, biology, and more. This website is necessary for all students who want to expand their knowledge on a subject or find information they will use for their school projects.
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                    10. Alison

                    Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.19.23 pm

                      Alison.com is a website founded with a noble goal: to enable anyone to receive free education of high quality. All you need is a will to learn new things and this website will provide you with all necessary tools.

                      11. E-Learning Center

                      Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.19.33 pm

                        This comprehensive website will provide you with learning resources relevant to the subjects of Web Development and IT. Although some of the content is accessible only through paid subscription, there are also free resources that can be enough for you to advance your knowledge in these subjects.

                        12. FindTutorials.com

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                          This website collects useful tutorials from across the web, so you will find literally anything you need there. The best thing about FindTutorials.com is that the users vote on the quality of all offered tutorials, so you will know which links are worth clicking on.

                          13. Course Buffet

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                            This search engine will lead you to open courseware accessible from different websites. This will save you from going from one source to another without finding what you need.

                            14. iHomework

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                              This app is available on all Apple devices, so you can access it wherever you are. The idea behind its concept is to make your life as a student easier. You can use iHomework to quickly enter important tasks, course information, and homework assignments.

                              15. Open Culture

                              Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.20.12 pm

                                The content offered on this website is not only useful for your school project, but your personal intellectual development as well. Open Culture delivers content from many different topics, from writing tips and literature characters to world history and wars.
                                One of the greatest benefits of the Internet technology is that now everyone has access to the information they need. The website listed above can offer great help for all students who want to advance their knowledge or make the process of studying and writing papers easier.

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                                Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                                The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                                The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                                What happens in our heads when we set goals?

                                Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

                                Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

                                According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

                                Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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                                Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

                                Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

                                The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

                                Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

                                So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

                                Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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                                One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

                                Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

                                Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

                                The Neurology of Ownership

                                Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

                                In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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                                But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

                                This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

                                Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

                                The Upshot for Goal-Setters

                                So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

                                On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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                                It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

                                On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

                                But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

                                More About Goals Setting

                                Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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