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Online Resources for First-Year College Students

We have picked our top three online resource suggestions for a variety of first-year subjects but before you go there, please read our suggestions on how to use online resources to support your learning.

How (and when) to use online resources:

The absolute best strategy for success in college is to go to class. Attending every class gives you the full benefit of learning opportunities through interaction with your Professor and your classmates. It is recommended that you prepare for your class by reading your textbook, according to the schedule presented in your course outline. Taking notes in class gives you a written record of the concepts and ideas important to your course. Your notes and your textbook are your first resource materials for completing homework and studying for tests.

If you have difficulty in any area of your course, meeting with your professor outside of class to ask questions is highly recommended. In addition to using your professor as a resource, you may also wish to explore free tutoring services options such as one-on-one tutoring, as well as walk-in and group tutoring available on each campus at St. Clair College.

However, you may run into a question or problem off-campus or during the time your professor is not available. At these times, if you have access to the Internet, you can turn to online resources. Also, when your notes and textbook explanations are not enough, looking at material written from a different perspective or using different words can be the trigger to help you understand new concepts.

To gain a general understanding of a topic or concept:

Using a search engine such as Google and searching for a topic or concept can help you find general information, such as definitions of terms that can help you with a basic idea of what this topic or concept is all about. Searching the News can give you current viewpoints and events relevant to that topic. Searching images can give you a quick visual idea of that concept through a picture, diagram, or flowchart. This can be a good place to start when these topics or concepts are brand-new.

Many students turn to Wikipedia for general information about a topic or concept. And while this can be another good starting point, Wikipedia is generally not considered an authoritative website that can be used for scholarly research. Because of the open nature of the Internet, you should be skeptical about any information you find on webpages. Looking at who owns the webpage and for what purpose it was written can help you uncover biases in information. For example, data published on the Canadian government websites can be considered more accurate than information presented on individual's opinion blog. (Check out Evaluating Online Resources, a tutorial by Roger Munger to learn more

For specific information:

Start with our Library Resources pages, which includes many excellent authoritative databases and links to quality websites.

Does your textbook have an online resources site for students? Check the preface information in your text or search your text online. Many texts come with companion sites that include online quizzes, summaries and other supplemental materials!

Top 3 Online Resources Lists:

There are many other quality websites that offer specific information that can help you understand concepts in your first year college course. Using a search engine can deliver hundreds of thousands results, so we have compiled a Top Three list for core subjects.

General Math:

Math Central, University of Regina (CAN)
Math Central is an Internet service for mathematics students and teachers. This site is maintained by faculty and students in Mathematics and Statistics and Mathematics Education at the University of Regina. Math Central features easy to use search for math resources as well as “questions and quandaries.”

The Math Page
The Math Page is a series of online textbooks by Lawrence Spector, who teaches at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Books include Skill in Arithmetic, Skill in Algebra, Topics in Trigonometry, Topics in Precalculus and An approach to calculus.

The Purple Math Forums
Purple Math began in 1998 as a personal web site created by Elizabeth Stapel, Math Teacher. It has grown to be an extensive site helping students around the world learn Algebra. Include beginning math topics as well as introductory, intermediate and advanced Algebra topics.

See also: St. Clair College Math Tutorial pages

Nursing Math:

Medical Math for the Nursing Student
The website was started by Eric Lee when he was a student nurse. It explores Dimensional Analysis and other math topics of interest to nurses. It includes explanations and tips sheets as well as sample questions and answers.

Math Skills @ CSU, Charles Sturt University (AUS)
Presents a review of 8 math topics for Nursing Students and quizzes with answer sheet to check skills.

School of Nursing Tutorials, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA)
Bonnie Angel RN, EdD has posted a series of online quizzes and printable review sheets for Metric Conversions and Tablet Dosage, Fluid Dosage, and IV Flow Rate Calculations.


Interactive Biology: Making Biology Fun
This website was created by Leslie Samuel, a Foundation Science Coordinator in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Andrews University, and prior student of Biology, Zoology, and Neurobiology. He posts video lectures, to help students visualize the concepts better.

Encyclopedia of Life
An on-going project supported by numerous groups and universities to give access to information and pictures of all living things on Earth.

The Biology Project @ University of Arizona (USA)
The University of Arizona developed this site which was designed for biology students at the college level, but is useful for high school students, medical students, physicians, science writers, and all types of interested people. It is helpful for both introductory biology courses, as well as advanced ones.

Anatomy & Physiology:

Get Body Smart
Scott Sheffield, University professor, created this site to assist teachers, students, and healthcare professional with A&P. It includes visual representations of anatomy and physiology, quizzes, and Flash animations.

BBC - Science: The Human Body and Mind
The British Broadcasting Corporation's Science page has information on the human body, as well as interactive games and challenges using Flash.

Inner Body
Inner Body is an interactive learning tool features over 300 high-resolution 3D CAD views of over 1500 objects in the body, covering all 13 major anatomical systems maintained by HowToMedia, Inc (USA). Flash is not needed for this website. Also has ability to switch between male and female views.


Chem1 virtual textbook, a reference text for General Chemistry and
Chem 1 Computer Based Lessons
Stephen Lower created this textbook and a series of online lessons to replace the tradition text used in his 1st year Chemistry course. Now retired from Simon Fraser University (CAN), he maintains the site and offers the materials under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Chemistry Online, University of Illinois (USA) was created for introductory chemistry courses at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Students from other institutions are welcome use the slides, recorded lectures and tutorials to assist them in learning Chemistry.

Chemistry Tutorial, The Biology Project, University of Arizona (USA)
A Chemistry tutorial covering the basics needed to study Biology.


Bean Counter's Free Accounting & Bookkeeping Tutorial Site
Dave Marshall is “Mr. Bean” and his site presents 6 basic booking keeping and accounting tutorials. Marshall also provides accounting and tax consulting services in Knoxville, Tenn. Note: contains US dollar examples and content.

Accounting, Business Studies and Economics Dictionary, ITS Tutorial School (HK)
Contains over 3000 terms defined and cross referenced via live links for Business students.

Business Math, Vancouver Community College (CAN)
Collection of Business Math worksheets on a variety of topics including Trade and cash discounts, Markup/Markdown, and Break-Even Analysis.


Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), Purdue University (USA)
Purdue OWL offers information and guidance on an extensive list of writing topics from an academic writing perspective.

The Basic Element of English, University of Calgary (CAN)
A comprehensive tutorial set in four sections: Parts of Speech, Sentence Elements, Punctuation and Word Use.

Writing in College: A Short Guide to College Writing, University of Chicago (USA)
This valuable and concise guide written by Joseph M. Williams and Lawrence McEnerney for students making the transition from high school to college writing discusses crafting an argument, making a point, and understanding academic writing.

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