Monday, September 2, 2013

New Source of Free Textbooks

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This blog has been covering numerous sources of free online learning materials. Recently the OpenStax project was developed by numerous college professors who are putting free textbooks online. These professors also seem to be using the free textbooks as the assigned textbook for their courses. If more professors would do the same thing, it would save a lot of students a lot of money. The textbooks which are already online are physics, biology, sociology,  and anatomy. There are also a few more which are planned to come online within the next few months, including chemistry, statistics, and a number of economics textbooks. These look as though they would be a good source for studying for CLEP exams as well. The textbooks are available at this link.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Low Cost College Credit From Saylor

A relatively new addition to the assortment of free online courses is Saylor offers a wide variety of free curricula in subjects like English, chemistry, biology, business administration, mathematics, and art history. Although Saylor isn't accredited, it's possible to get a certificate from them after completing one of their programs of study, or individual courses. Three of their courses have been approved for college credit by the NCCRS:

Business Law and Ethics
Introduction to Western Political Thought
Corporate Communication

You have to take a proctorerd exam in order to get the college credit. However, you have a choice between using ProctorU for a $25 fee or choosing yoir own proctor, such as a librarian. Also, Saylor is in the process of getting more of their courses approved for college credit, meaning that this could soon be a major option for a low cost education.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Straighter Line Adding New Courses

Straighter Line is rapidly becoming a major option for earning college credit economically. When I first found them about two years ago, they only offered a couple of English, math, and business courses. In the years since, that offering has expanded to include courses in chemistry, anatomy, pharmacology, and biology, amongst others. They now have even more courses listed as "coming soon," like US History I, Western Civilization I, and Introduction to Business. At this rate, it will probably soon be possible to do the entire core curriculum for a college degree through Straighter Line, and the price of these courses is comparable to the cost of CLEP and DSST exams. They might be a better option for people who are living far away from a testing center, which is most people who aren't living near a large city or college town in the US.

College Secrets

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why Not Everybody Should Go to College

I wrote the following response to the article "Should All Students Got to College? The Media Obsession With the Wrong Question." over at However, the website wouldn't let me put it on there because of an incorrect capcha response when the website hadn't given me one to type in. Therefore, I thought I'd put it on this blog instead.

I have to present the opposing view that not all students should go to college. For starters, the colleges are filled with students who either don't want to be there or who don't want to be there for the right reasons. I once attended a college where the dorms were filled with rowdies. There was no quiet place to study, and I didn't feel safe there at all. A least half of the students were the tough sorts.

Secondly, it's costing a fortune in public money to have them there. Billions of dollars a year are being spent on students when half of them will never graduate, and this results in fewer resources for the serious students.

Although it's true that society benefits from having a large number of well-educated citizens, it's also worth considering Charles Murray's argument that only a minority of students have the intelligence to do college level work. Most students aren't really interested in their studies, and therefore, will forget what they've learned after the final exam. Also, a college student has already been in school for at least 13 years. Why aren't they graduating high school with the vocational skills they need along with the other general knowledge of history, civics, etc. which is needed to function as a citizen? The grade schools are also costing billions of dollars a year. What are they doing there all day, if the kids graduate without the knowledge they need in life? Earlier generations graduated high school with this knowledge.

There's also the argument that the employers keep saying that they need more college-educated employees now and in the future. If that's true, they should be making better use of the college graduates who are already around. Many graduates can't find work associated with their degrees, and many are doing jobs which don't require any college degree. There are even law school grads and MBAs in this category, and many of them have student loans which they can't pay back because of it.

I know it sounds unfair to say that not everyone should go to college.That's what I thought when I first heard that only about 15% of German young people ever go to university. However, I've lived in Germany for the past several years, and most young people learn their occupation during a three-year period in which they attend a paid apprenticeship some days of the week and attend a free vocational school on the other days. The vocational schools are considered part of the public school system. Other European countries have similar systems, which means that a European can get trained for a good job without starting life with a huge amount of debt. As most American students attend college because they want a good job, this kind of system might be worth considering in America. There's no indication that the vocational path is making people any less qualified as voters and citizens.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Free Preparation for the GRE Subject Test in Biology

The internet offers so much information for free that this blog is trying to prove that all or most of a college education can be gotten for free online, and on one's own schedule. A couple of months ago, I posted a list of free online learning materials for the GRE subject test in chemistry. There are also a wide variety of materials for biology which are listed below.


Botany Online is an extensive online textbook from the University of Hamburg.

Cell Biology

Fundamentals of Microbiology has a good amount of information in it on cell biology.


Ecology from Wikibooks.


Physical anthropology offers a lot of information about evolution.


Human Genetics

Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology Web Book

Molecular Biology-Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Akademos, Inc.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Free Preparation for the GRE Chemistry Test

A college education can be gotten online for very low cost or even for free, and one of the purposes of this blog is to discuss the various resources which are available online for that. One of the concerns that many people would have with getting a self-directed education with online resources is getting the college credit for it. Charter Oak State College offers 24 hours of college credit for passing any of the GRE subject tests, which are offered in subjects like math, biology, and English literature. I've assembled an assortment of resources for studying for the GRE subject test in chemistry, and will be doing similar articles for the other subjects.

General Chemistry

Wikibooks offers a good introduction.

Chemwiki:The Dynamic Chemistry Textbook from UCDavis is an advanced-level textbook covering various areas of chemsitry including inorganic chemistry and analytical chemistry.

Organic Chemistry

Free online textbook in organic chemistry.

Inorganic Chemistry


Physical Chemistry

Free online textbook for the first semester of a one-year course in physical chemistry.

Physical Chemistry Online

Analytical Chemistry

Analytical Chemistry Basics

Friday, March 25, 2011

Free Foreign Language Courses

The foreign language courses by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) have had a reputation for many years as a good home study course which enables one to gain fluency in a foreign language in a short period of time. At the same time, the courses have also been quite expensive. However, many FSI courses are now in the public domain and are offered online for free. The textbook comes in PDF format and the audio tapes as mp3 downloads. The courses are offered in a huge variety of foreign languages, including such obscure ones as Igbo, Twi, and Kirundi. The more commonly studied languages are also on offer. Basic Spanish is offered in volumes 1 through 3 with both the audio files and the textbooks, along with the textbook for volume 4. Chinese is offered in the form of "modules" consisting of a textbook, a workbook, and the audio files. The modules are organized into various subject areas, such as money, transportation, arranging a meeting, and living in China. As many people are considering learning Chinese, but find it intimidating because the Chinese writing system is very different from the English one, these courses are a good way to try Chinese without risking money on it. If you're considering learning a foreign language, you can find the courses at

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