This guide covers basic concepts intended to help you excel in your online courses. Online learning requires more active involvement than traditional classroom learning, but it also allows you the flexibility to set your own schedule and study from the comfort of your own space instead of your classroom. You will need to be self-motivated and engaged to be successful in your online courses, and most importantly, you will need a plan. This guide will help you set up your success plan.
Getting Started Online Courses
Ensure that you have consistent and reliable access to the Internet. Since just about all you’re going to do for your course is going to be online, daily Internet access is a must.
Take the time to get to know the resources you need to take part in your online courses. Explore the tools given to ensure that the technology works on your computer.
Frequently refer to the syllabus and course materials to familiarize yourself with the goals, tests and deadlines. Print the syllabus and position it where it can be easily checked, such as a workspace or a notebook.
Know the learning goals to ensure that they are consistent with the objectives of the teacher. Creating notes that relate to your goals will, at the beginning of the course, stimulate a discussion between you and the teacher and set the necessary expectations.
The creation of an understanding of the instructor’s office hours and response times can also be protected by a one-on-one meeting with the instructor if their time and response times are not clear.
Online learning needs to be self-motivated. Take some time to build routines that work specifically for you when it comes to time management and research activities. Check your tasks and get the job started as soon as possible. Starting early on your assignments will ensure that you have the time to prepare properly and to excel in your online courses.
Tips for Research
Set up a dedicated workspace, free of distractions, well-lit, and comfortable. Gather your supplies and a drink or snack before you sit down to study or attend class. Close all device distractions, including social media sites and chat programs.
Take breaks to keep your attention on and prevent exhaustion. Studying for 30-45 minutes and then taking a quick break away from your screen will help you stay focused and keep up with the knowledge you learn.
Offline research strategies, such as writing notes down or making visual aids, will help you retain the knowledge you’ve covered in your lessons.
Create a plan by setting up a weekly schedule of your deadlines and study hours to ensure that you have time set aside to complete your assignments on time.
Using a color-coding scheme in your study calendar or calendar will allow you to easily recognize different due dates.
You should consider procrastination and resolve the danger immediately. Identify whether procrastination is triggered by something that you can overcome, or whether you should seek support to eliminate any roadblocks.
Find a research partner who will help you to explain your criteria and complete tasks on time.
Take notes and check them right after class. Taking notes will allow you to stay concentrated, and studying them after class will make sure the notes are clear and can be relied on later.
Bookmark any tools you’ve found useful in your studies so that you can quickly access them later in your courses.
Online courses can cause difficulties that are not always encountered in-person classes. However, by engaging in online discussions, students have the ability to revisit and engage actively in conversations, while in-person discussions can take place too quickly for certain students to participate.
Online communication can quickly cause misunderstandings, as it eliminates facial expressions , gestures, and voice tones and replaces them with a computer screen and written words. Be straightforward and direct: sarcasm and satire don’t translate well when used in online interactions, and it’s easy to get off as rude on the Internet.
Value online privacy, including your own privacy. Do not post personal information to the public platform.
Take part in online community discussions. Becoming a group member will make you feel less alone and help you understand more than what is discussed in the syllabus.
Share expertise. Participate with dignity, connect to follow-up services, and be tactful about other people’s lack of information or error.
Find the right contact tool to use depending on what you intend to do. In cases where you want to express concerns or address private issues, emailing someone is a safer choice than posting to a community.
WRITE Way to Communication Online
WRITE Way to Connect Online is a set of useful guidelines for successful communication in an online environment.
Warmth: Two-dimensional reading can lead to overreaction due to lack of warmth or human tones like a voice tone. If online comments are a source of irritation, pick up the phone and call your teacher or classmate for clarification.
Responsiveness: Due to the asynchronous nature of online communication , it is important not to presume that a lack of response is a personal assault. Check the syllabus for teacher answer times, and check that the teacher is not out of town. It is necessary for students to ask questions as soon as possible, so that teachers or classmates have the ability to respond before the assignment is due.
Inquisitiveness: If the purpose of the response is not obvious, the first response should not be defensiveness. Students should ask clarification questions if they are confused or uncomfortable with a problem or response.
Tentativeness: the effort to frame a question can substantially reduce defensiveness in discussions with opposing opinions. For example, instead of using a sentence, combine inquisitiveness and timidity to create a clearing question: “Do you think it would be better if we …? Empathy: Students should ask themselves, “How would I feel if someone like this approached me?
“Before replying to the teacher or classmates. Preparing to Success
Striking a school-life balance is essential to your progress.
Stick to your research schedule, and when you’re done, get away from studying and concentrate on your life. Using the tools available to provide assistance when necessary.
The teacher or board of discussion is eligible for questions relevant to the course. Technical assistance is available to the IT department. Fellow students are a fantastic resource to look for tips and tricks to learn. You should note that learning something new is a challenge.
Don’t be discouraged when you face a challenge: keep trying, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are unable to reach the deadline, be sure to contact your teacher as soon as possible.
Don’t wait until the deadline has passed to meet your teacher. They’re more likely to work with you if you’re up front with your problems.
Since 2013, Help Teaching has brought you our Top 100 Free Education Sites. We’re continually updating our list to provide you with the best resources. Not only can you find the top free sites for teaching math, science, English, and social studies, but we’ve also added some of our favorite computer science and coding sites, language sites, and homeschooling sites.
No time to go through the whole list? Just use “Quick Links” section to jump straight to the section that interests you and bookmark this article for a reference later.
|10 Awesome Sites||Lesson Planning||Reading||Science||Arts|
|Classroom Management||Social Studies||Writing||Math||Music|
|Educating Yourself||Health and Safety||Educational Games||Coding||Homeschool|
|Early Education||Education News||Homework Help and Study Skills||Language||Life Skills|
10 Awesome Education Sites
Whatever the grade-level or subject area, these websites have something to offer. From high-quality lesson plans to entertaining games and educational videos, they represent some of the best educational websites in existence.
Code.org has gained recognition with its Hour of Code initiative. The website offers free, easy lessons to help kids learn some of the basics of coding. The lessons also help teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Google is something most teachers know about, but many haven’t taken the time to explore all of their awesome free resources for education. There are some fun activities too, such as Google Experiments where kids can create all kinds of unique simulations and games online.
FunBrain helps students learn through fun games related to math and reading. They’ll also find books and other entertaining resources.
Scholastic has developed a reputation for its high-quality educational books and materials and its website does not disappoint, offering lesson plans, interactive activities, and articles designed to help teachers and parents.
Gooru helps students take control of their own learning by providing them with information about how they learn best.
Edutopia focuses on helping educators grow. From articles and blogs from those working in the field to informational videos and classroom guides, educators in all areas of education will stay on top of the latest trends and find tips to help them improve.
DIY.org encourages kids to learn new skills. Teachers and parents can challenge them to set goals and complete tasks on the site.
Science Bob gets kids interested in science by providing experiments, research, Q&A, and other info all focused on science.
Teachers Pay Teachers isn’t technically a free site since teachers sell materials. However, there are plenty of free downloads on the site. You may find the perfect free worksheet, lesson lan, or classroom time-filler.
Ted-Ed goes beyond traditional Ted Talks by offering lessons to accompany many of those videos. In addition, you’ll find animated videos and resources for elementary,middle, and high school students too.
Every day, in classrooms around the world, kids are learning how to code. Coding is a valuable skill that helps teach kids to think logically and develop the critical thinking and reasoning skills they need for our increasingly technological world. These resources offer free coding activities for kids.
Code.org is home to the Hour of Code. In just an hour, kids can complete a fun coding game. There are many games to choose from, including those that feature popular characters kids love.
Tynker offers its own free Hour of Code activities and games for kids to enjoy.
CodeCombat is an online, multiplayer game that requires kids to write code to play.
Kodu Game Lab is a visual programming tool that kids can download to create games of their own.
CS Unplugged teaches the principles of coding, but not in the traditional way. The site offers a large selection of offline activities designed to help kids develop these critical thinking skills.
Find games and activities for early readers, as well as texts for advanced readers, in this collection of high-quality reading websites. In addition to these sites, Help Teaching offers a large collection of public domain and original reading passages organized by grade-level, word count, and Lexile level.
CommonLit contains a wealth of free fiction and non-fiction texts for use in the classroom. Texts are organized by grade-level and theme.
Media Literacy Clearinghouse introduces students to a new type of literacy – media literacy. With all of the new technology and messages appearing every day, it’s important for kids to be media literate.
Awesome Stories uses non-traditional reading materials, such as biographies and primary source texts, to get students learning through reading. Students can use the site to help with research and teachers can use the texts as part of lesson plans. Creating an account allows users to access audio versions of many of the titles as well, making it an ideal site for auditory learners and those with learning disabilities.
ReadWriteThink gets students to participate in critical thinking and reading activities through its lesson plans and interactive student resources.
Book Adventure is a free online reading program that provides students with incentives for reading.
Bookopolis is essentially a GoodReads for kids. The site allows students to read reviews written by their peers and helps them find the perfect book.
Whether students need an outlet for their creative writing or want to brush up on their grammar skills, one of these resources will get the job done.
Make Beliefs Comix gives kids a place to create their own cartoons and store them online. It features tons of clipart and other artistic effects to make the comics visually appealing.
Voki features animated characters that students can customize and manipulate to speak their words. It’s a great tool to help with creative thinking, writing, and storytelling.
Grammar Bytes tests students’ knowledge of grammar through simple multiple-choice activities and rewards them with cheesy virtual prizes.
Purdue OWL is an online writing lab from Purdue University that provides students, particularly those in high school and college, with everything they need to know about writing a paper, including grammar advice and paper formatting guides.
Teachers can find primary source documents and high-quality lesson plans, as well as discover ways to connect students to history, geography, government, and other areas of social studies online.
GeoGuessr tests kids’ geography skills. Using images from Google’s Street View, it plops players down in the middle of the street and asks them to figure out where they are.
National Archives: DocsTeach allows teachers to incorporate primary source documents and other historical texts into a variety of critical thinking and thought-mapping activities. Pre-made activities are also provided. Students can complete the activities online or through the DocsTeach app available for the iPad.
iCivics offers high-quality and engaging games for students to play while they learn about civics. Lesson plans help teachers incorporate the games in the classroom.
Sutori gives students the chance to create free interactive timelines and engage in collaborative learning.
What Was There? allows students to type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents. It’s a unique way to help them learn about history.
Not all websites focus on elementary math skills. While many of these games do work well for elementary-age students, they also offer games and lesson plans for students tackling subjects such as algebra, geometry, and calculus.
Math is Fun is full of math resources for kids and teachers. It also includes an illustrated dictionary of math terms to help students understand difficult concepts.
Numberphile features short videos about numbers. They help kids explore complex math topics and make math more fun.
Math Games offers a large collection of math games and questions organized by grade-level and skill. It also includes a progress-tracking feature so teachers and parents can see what kids know.
AAA Math features online interactive math lessons for students in kindergarten through 8th grade.
Yummy Math connects math with the real world through timely news stories and other reading passages.
Math Forum offers online professional development opportunities and other resources to help math teachers improve their skills.
Help students understand science with this collection of videos, games, experiments, and creative science activities.
PhET features many engaging simulations to help kids learn difficult concepts in science and math.
Wonderopolis shows kids a wonder of the day, and then gives them a chance to test their knowledge or join in on a discussion related to that wonder. Kids will be surprised by all of the cool facts that they learn and they may spark some interesting discussions in the classroom.
Molecular Workbench contains hundreds of simulations, curriculum models, and assessments designed to improve the teaching of science.
Science Made Simple gives kids science experiment ideas and other science project topics. It also offers help when preparing for a science fair.
The Science Spot offers lesson plans, activities, and student examples from one teacher’s science classroom, as well as daily science trivia challenges and daily science starters.
BioDigital is a human visualization platform that allows students to explore the human body in really cool ways.
For even more science-specific resources, check out the Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science.
Art museums around the world have made it their mission to teach students about art. These websites introduce students to art theory, let them explore classic works of art, and even give them the chance to create art of their own.
Artsonia bills itself as the world’s largest kids art museum. All of the artwork has been created by kids and, while the site is free, parents can also purchase products featuring their kids’ artwork.
Artsology helps kids learn to appreciate the arts by providing them with the opportunity to play games, conduct investigations, and explore different forms of art.
NGAKids Art Zone allows kids to explore popular art movements, themes, and artists and offers guides to help teachers as well.
Tate Kids gives kids a chance to explore famous works of art, play art-related games, and even create their own works of art to add to their online gallery.
Encourage kids to think beyond One Direction and their other favorite artists and experience new types of music. Kids can learn about the symphony and classical music or even build their own musical skills by learning through ear training or playing instruments online.
Andrew & Polly is an indie children’s music duo that has created a podcast called Ear Snacks designed to help kids learn through music, sound, and unique experiences.
Classics for Kids regularly highlights famous composers and provides teachers with activities to use in the classroom.
KIDiddles has lyrics and audio files for over 2,000 kids songs for music teachers, or any teachers, to use in their classrooms.
Good Ear may not look like an awesome site, but it contains a lot in its simple design. This website provides virtual ear training to help serious student musicians learn to recognize the differences between notes.
Virtual Musical Instruments lets kids play instruments online. Instruments include the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, and bongos.
Health and Safety
Health and safety are important to kids. Whether kids want to know more about keeping their bodies healthy or staying safe online, these websites have them covered.
KidsHealth is the top website for kids to learn about their bodies and their health. It features easy-to-read articles and kid-friendly graphics to help kids learn about a whole host of topics related to health and safety.
CDC BAM! focuses on teaching kids about their bodies. BAM stands for body and mind and all of the resources on the site help kids learn more about their bodies and keeping their minds sharp.
StopBullying.gov helps prevent bullying in all forms by providing teachers, parents, and students with resources to educate them about bullying and let them know what to do when bullying occurs.
PE Central is a physical education teacher’s ultimate resource. It includes lesson plans, assessment ideas, and other resources.
Don’t forget about your younger learners too. Many websites, including our own Early Education collection, offer games and activities designed to help toddlers and preschoolers build their basic skills.
Preschool Express is full of crafts, activities, bulletin board designs, and finger plays for early education teachers and parents to use with kids.
Starfall promotes beginning reading and number skills with fun stories and activities.
Funbrain Jr. brings the fun and quality of Funbrain to a younger audience with its early learning games.
Songs for Teaching offers a large selection of fun songs to help teach preschool students.
Super Simple Learning’s resource section includes free flashcards, coloring pages, worksheets, and other resources for children, teachers, and parents.
Kids love to play games online. Why not encourage the practice by introducing them to some fun educational games websites? They’ll have fun and you’ll know they’re learning.
Arcademic Skill Builders offers a series of racing games for kids focused on math and ELA skills. Best of all, many of the games are multiplayer so kids can create rooms and play against their friends.
Quizalize lets teachers turn content into fun quiz games for students. It’s free to create quizzes, but teachers can also buy inexpensive quizzes from other teachers in the marketplace.
Cool Math Games is the ultimate site for kids who want to play math-oriented games. These arcade-style games are a lot of fun and many accompany the lessons found on the site.
Primary Games has a lot of educational games for kids to play mixed in with some “just for fun” games too. All of the games are kid-friendly.
Games for Change gets kids thinking about problem-solving and social issues by providing them with unique games to play. Many of the games help kids solve world problems or introduce them to social issues.
It’s important to keep up with the news. These websites cover the latest education news and also provide kid-friendly news sites to use with students.
Education World’s main page highlights the latest news in the world of education, including interesting research and controversy.
Education Week publishes a weekly newspaper all about education. Its website highlights many of those stories so you can access them for free.
Smithsonian TweenTribune features unique news stories for kids. Stories are organized by Lexile level and cover topics related to kids’ interests.
Time for Kids gives students and teachers access to many of the articles from Time for Kids magazine, even if they don’t subscribe. Stories focuses on world news stories and pop culture.
DOGO News promotes “fodder for young minds” by sharing unique news stories, including stories of people doing good around the world.
With the introduction of open courseware and TED talks, educating yourself online has never been easier. Find access to actual college courses and learn what you want to know from the experts in the field. At HelpTeaching, we have launched our own line of online K-12 lessons that students can use for self-directed learning.
TED features videos and other resources from some of the world’s greatest leaders, innovators, and thinkers. If you want to learn more about a particular field, chances are there’s an expert talking about it.
Khan Academy offers free online courses in a wide variety of subjects. It offers the most content in math, but also has courses in science, economics, test prep, and more.
Open Education Consortium allows you to search for open courses around the world. It also provides news on the open courseware movement.
MIT OpenCourseWare gives you access to courses from one of the nation’s most prestigious colleges.
Coursera helps you find and sign up to take free online courses from some of the world’s top universities and other experts.
Youtube has been around for a long time, but that only supports its awesomeness. You’ll find a lot of video tutorials on everything from fixing a car to learning how to beat a difficult level on Angry Birds. Don’t forget to check out Help Teaching’s YouTube channel with online lessons too.
For more resources, don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Guide to Self-Learning for Kids and the Ultimate Guide to Self-Learning for Teens and Adults.
Homework Help and Study Skills
For general homework questions and help studying for that big test, students should check out this collection of websites. Teachers will also find study skills lessons to go over with students in class.
HomeworkSpot provides students with links, resources, games, and reference materials to help them build their skills and complete their homework.
Fact Monster Homework Center connects kids with reference materials and tools to help them successfully complete their homework.
Shmoop offers homework help, literature guides, and a ton of other resources for students. The site’s writers incorporate a lot of humor in their writing too, making the site incredibly entertaining.
Howtostudy.org features articles on different study skills and test-taking strategies. There’s even a subject-based “How to Write” section to help students learn how to write all kinds of informational texts.
Don’t forget Help Teaching’s Study Skills and Strategies worksheets either!
Lesson planning can be time consuming, but with high-quality pre-created lesson plans, lesson plan templates, and a place to store their lesson plans, teachers can simplify the process.
The Differentiator provides teachers with lesson plan ideas to help them incorporate higher-order thinking skills, change up the products students create, and add to the resources they use. This helps ensure teachers aren’t presenting the same lessons all the time and that they reach students in many different ways.
ShareMyLesson offers lesson plans and other resources shared by teachers, educators, and educational companies around the world.
If teachers want students to learn, they must have good classroom management. These resources help keep students in control and encourage behavior that promotes learning.
ClassDojo is a classroom management system that allows teachers to set goals for students, track their progress, and reward them for that progress. Parents can also access reports to see how their children are doing.
Remind gives teachers a free, easy, and safe way to share important information with parents and students via text message. All phone numbers are kept private and parents must opt-in to receive messages.
BouncyBalls is an online game where the noise level makes the balls bounce. The more balls bouncing, the noisier the classroom is, reminding students to quiet down and focus on their work.
NEA Classroom Management offers a classroom management survival guide, as well as articles and resources to help with specific areas of classroom management.
Super Teachers Tools contains free resources such as seating chart makers and countdown timers that can help teachers implement solid classroom management strategies.
Whether students are looking to learn a foreign language or improve their English language skills, these sites are designed to help.
Internet Polyglot offers free videos, games, and other resources to help language learners memorize words in a new language. It also offers over 4,000 vocabulary lessons.
Busy Teacher features thousands of articles, worksheets, slideshow presentations, and other resources designed to help English language learners and teachers. All resources are available to view and download for free.
Google Translate is a free translation service provided by Google. You can translate a few words at a time or a whole document. While not 100% accurate, it can be a good place for language learners to start.
Open Culture contains a collection of the best free language learning courses and resources online.
Homeschool curriculum can be expensive. Thankfully, there are plenty of free resources out there to help offset the cost. You’ll also find lots of tips, tricks, and other resources to help make your hoeschooling journey successful.
Homeschool.com bills itself as the #1 resource for homeschooling and with good reason. The website is full or articles about homeschooling, local homeschooler groups and even free curriculum and homeschool mom planner.
Beestar offers online elementary math and reading exercises. With a free account, kids can access a set number of free worksheets a day. There are also competitions kids can enter for a small fee.
Brainly gives students a place to ask questions and get answers. Think of it as a moderated Reddit or Yahoo! Answers for kids and teens. Most of the content on the site is free, although some verified answers require a subscription.
CK-12 is a platform that offers free online textbooks and resources for students and teachers. Why pay for curriculum when you can get free, customized resources online?
Hillsdale College provides free online courses to help people learn more about the principles of American democracy and study some of the authors and artists who were part of America’s foundation.
There are some skills that aren’t taught in high school, but they’re extremely important for students to learn. These sites help students gain these essential skills.
Practical Money Skills bills itself as a site that offers financial education for everyone. The site includes free articles and learning modules for students, lesson plans for teachers, and a host of fun games, including many related to athletics.
Gen i Revolution offers free personal finance and economics education for students through the form of a game. Students go through real-life scenarios and use the selection of characters and skills available to them to set things right in the financial world of the game.
Everyday Life from GCF Learn Free features multiple interactive tutorials designed to take students through everyday life activities, including work shills and getting around town.
Overcoming Obstacles is a free life skills curriculum for students in grades K-12. Their resources include strategies for teaching social and emotional skills. Teachers and parents must register for a free account to access the curriculum.
For more resources, check out Help Teaching’s selection of free life and money skills worksheets.
Did you favorite sites make the list? If not, share them in the comments. Maybe they’ll make 2019’s list of the 100 Best Free Education Sites. Remember to check out Help Teaching for all of your worksheet and printable needs too.