100 Free Cutting-Edge Courses for Web Developers & Designers

Sep 30th, 2009

If you’re a web developer or designer, you don’t need to head back to school to refresh yourself on the basics or to learn about some of the newest additions and information in the field. Instead, you can take courses that are offered for free online that can offer you much of the same helpful information to build better websites and bring in more clients. Here are just a few courses that cover a wide range of business, design and development topics that are pertinent to the industry today and it’s movement into the future.

Design Basics

Whether you need a refresher on some design essentials or just want a place to have a reference, these courses will keep you on the cusp of design of all kinds.

  1. Digital Typography: Learn all about how typography can be changed and modified and used in new ways in the digital age from this course. [MIT]
  2. Art of Color: This undergraduate level course will teach you the basics of using color in the visual arts. [MIT]
  3. Introduction to the Elements of Design: This course will take you through the fundamentals of good design, from using lines wisely to balancing your designs effectively. [About.com]
  4. Design: Check out this course to get some insights into the thought process that should go behind your designs. [Open University]
  5. Color Theory 101: You may have a natural ability to use colors well, but this course will teach you the theory behind why certain things look good and others not so much. [Planet Photoshop]
  6. Information Visualization: This course will help you learn the best ways to transform information from raw data into easily understandable visual representations. [U of British Columbia]
  7. Historical Foundations of Visual Technology: This course will take you on an informative journey through the history of visual culture and the technology that has allowed it to spread. [DePaul]
  8. Principles of Design: This multi-instructor course will teach students advanced design theories and script analysis. [MIT]
  9. Fundamentals of Computational Media Design: Through this course you will learn about the history of art and design from a more technological perspective. [MIT]
  10. Designing the user interface: text, colour, images, moving images and sound: This course addresses the basics of designing websites and programs that are easy to use and look good. [Open University]
  11. Choosing Display Typography: Take this course to learn how to use a font that best suits your needs. [Sessions]
  12. Analyzing Color: Through this course you’ll learn how to better use color in Photoshop. [Sessions]
  13. Visual Elements: If you want to head back to the essentials of design, give this course a try to learn about line and color. [Sessions]
  14. Electronic Publishing and Design: If you want to learn to make great electronic publications that are well-designed, this course can help. [College of Charleston]

Programming and Development Basics

Learn new skills and improve your existing ones with these free courses.

  1. Creating Interactive Media: While this course was designed with educators in mind, it can also be enlightening for those working on the other side of creating educational technologies as well. [University of Southern Queensland]
  2. Computer Graphics: Check out this course to learn about the programming algorithms that exists behind computer graphics. [MIT]
  3. Advanced Computer Graphics: In this course you’ll learn about the programming aspects of designing computer graphics. [U of Virginia]
  4. Software Engineering for Web Applications: If your websites will have software on them, check out this course for programmers with a little experience who want to learn more about creating great software and keeping info secure. [MIT]
  5. Introduction to Multimedia Programming: From HTML to understanding multimedia, this course covers a range of programming and web issues. [Monash]
  6. Algorithms for Computer Animation: Learn all the fancy math that goes on behind the computer animations in video games and online. [MIT]
  7. Web Programming: Here students will learn some of the basic programming language and techniques for designing interactive web pages. [U of Washington]
  8. Intermediate Web Development: From e-commerce to web hosting, this site addresses some of the most important fundamentals of web development. [College of Charleston]
  9. Webpage Authoring: This introductory course focuses on teaching students HMTL. [Sofia]
  10. Web Programming, Development, & Data Integration: Take this course to learn more about the technological side of web development. [Purdue]
  11. Weekly Web Design Class: Check out this About.com site to get weekly tips and courses about web design. [About.com]
  12. Foundations of Software Engineering: Here you can learn about the foundations of engineering and information technology that help make software accessible and popular. [MIT]
  13. Introduction to Web Design: Get familiarized with HTML, CSS, Binary, Linux and more through this course. [Indiana University]

Usability

Learn how to build incredibly user-friendly websites and programs with these helpful courses.

  1. People-centered Designing: Check out this course to learn the fundamentals of creating accessible sites and designs. [Open University]
  2. Designing the User Interface: Learn how to create an online interface that won’t turn potential customers away through this course. [Open University]
  3. Human Computer Interaction: This course will teach you how people interact with computers so you’re better able to design for them. [U of Washington]
  4. Accessibility in Interaction Design: Try this course to learn about designing for those with disabilities in mind. [Open University]
  5. Usability First: Here you’ll find a wide selection of courses to educate you on usability, from fundamentals to more advanced topics. [Foraker Design]
  6. Designing for Humans: Learn what users will expect when using your websites. [Gresham]
  7. User Interface Design and Implementation: This course will focus on design, implementation and evaluation with regard to interfaces. [MIT]
  8. Understanding Online Interaction: You can improve your online design and development by getting a better idea of how people interact over the web. [USU]

Web and Programming Languages

If you want to learn a new programming language or just find out a little more about one you’ve already tried, these courses are a great, free way to do so.

  1. Java Programming: Check out this course to learn the basics of Java programming for the web. [Sofia]
  2. Intermediate HTML: If you already have a handle on the HTML basics, take this course to learn more advanced coding. [Suite 101]
  3. XML Foundations: This course will help you learn how to program in XML. [Berkeley]
  4. Web Page Authoring: This course promises to teach you the fundamentals of using HTML. [Sofia]
  5. Multimedia & World Wide Web: Through this course you can learn coding in HTML, CSS, Java and Flash. [DePaul]
  6. A Gentle Introduction to Programming Using Python: If you’ve never done a thing with Python before, not to worry, this class takes it slow and explains it all. [MIT]
  7. Programming Languages: This course will teach you the theory and intricacies behind programming languages.[MIT]
  8. Learn and Apply HTML: Beginners can learn how to better use HTML through this course. [USU]
  9. Interactive Media Production: If you want to get a handle on using Flash on the web, take this free course. [USU]
  10. Building Programming Experience: The only way to get better at programming is to get out there and do it–just what this class asks students to do. [MIT]
  11. Java Preparation: If you know little or nothing about Java, consider this course geared towards beginners. [MIT]
  12. Essential Coding Theory: Take this course to learn about the history of coding theory and some of the earliest implementers of it. [MIT]
  13. Introduction to Software Engineering in Java: In this course, novices at Java will get a handle on how to effectively use the programming language. [MIT]
  14. Application Development & Web Infrastructure with Java Technology: Learn about some of the bigger issues in web development and data management through this course from Sun Systems. [Sun Startup]
  15. CSS: CSS is becoming an ever more popular type of code on the web, and you can learn how to use it through this course. [Land of Code]

Design Programs

Your design tools are what you make of them, and these courses will help you learn to rock your design software for all it’s worth.

  1. Illustrator CS2-Live Trace and Live Paint: Through this course you’ll learn how to use some of the new and creative features of Illustrator. [DesignMentor]
  2. Three-Dimensional Modeling, Animation and Rendering Using Blender 3D Software: Those who have an interest in 3D modeling can get a free lesson in how to do it right from this course. [Tufts]
  3. Multimedia Web Design: This course will take learners through the variety of technologies that are used to create multimedia websites. [University of Michigan]
  4. Introduction to Flash MX: If you’ve never used Flash before, taking this course can be a good leaping-off point to get started. [Sofia]
  5. Adobe Photoshop Basics: Go back to basics with this course that will teach you how to use the most essential features of Photoshop. [About.com]
  6. Flash: Improve your skills in Flash with this introductory course. [USU]
  7. Dreamweaver 8 Video Tutorials: if you’re using Dreamweaver to create great webpages, consider these tutorials to help you learn the ins and outs of the program. [Video-Tutes]
  8. Adobe In-Design CS2 Tutorials: This collection of tutorials will help you learn to really get the most out of Adobe In-Design. [Video-Tutes]
  9. QuarkXPress Tutorials: Learn how to better utilize the tools offered in this design program through these helpful lessons. [About.com]

The Internet

Learn more about the web, how to use it, and where it’s headed from these courses.

  1. The Future of the Internet: Take this course through iTunes U to get one perspective on where the internet is headed in the coming years and where you’ll need to be to meet it. [Stanford]
  2. Communicating in Cyberspace: This course focuses on the myriad of ways people talk to one another over the web, perhaps sparking an idea in you for a new development. [MIT]
  3. The Semantic Web: Learn from one of the inventors of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee, what it’s all about. [MIT]
  4. Advanced Internet and Web Services: Check out this course to get a better understanding of the many technical issues that go into developing web sites. [U of Washington]
  5. Foundations of American Cyberculture: If you want to be part of cyberculture then you will do yourself a favor and learn more about it through this course. [Berkeley]
  6. Search Engines: Technology, Society and Business: Take this course to learn how search engines work–something that can come in handy when marketing your webpages.[Berkeley]

Legal Issues

Use these courses to get a better understanding of the legal issues that come up on the web, with copyrights and in business law.

  1. Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier: TheIinternet is still a bit of a Wild West, with the law struggling to keep up with new technologies. Learn about what regulation is out there today and how you can protect yourself through this course. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Copyright Law: Ensure that your great ideas and creations stay protected by learning more about copyright law here. [MIT]
  3. Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers: This course will take you through all the legal issues you need to know about when publishing on the web. [NewsU]
  4. Information Law and Policy: Here you can learn about the basics of copyright law and other legal protections that regulate information. [UC Berkeley]
  5. Freedom of Information: This course will teach you what kind of laws there are to protect your freedom of speech. [NewsU]
  6. Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager: Check out this course to get educated on the law from a business perspective. [MIT]

New Media

The web is one of the most versatile and omnipresent new media tools. You can learn more about how to use it, its history, and media studies from these courses.

  1. Signals, Systems and Information for Media Technology: Try out this course to learn the fundamentals of signals and information theory. [MIT]
  2. Common Sense Reasoning for Interactive Applications: Those hoping to build truly great interfaces will appreciate the knowledge gained in this course. [MIT]
  3. Social Visualization: This course will help you learn how to visualize the many people who visit your sites on the web, improving your effectiveness. [MIT]
  4. Digital Anthropology: Get a handle on the way that humans interact in a social and digital environment through this course. [MIT]
  5. New Media Literacies: Taking you back to ancient Greece and working to the present day, this course examines social literacy in a variety of media from print to digital technology. [MIT]
  6. Introduction to Media Studies: This course is a great educational opportunity to become a smarter producer of media and culture. [MIT]

Special Topics

These courses address more specific topics in web design and development, from education to social media.

  1. Advanced Topics in Learning Object Design and Reuse: More experienced designers will appreciate this course that focuses on developing learning-centered websites. [Utah State University]
  2. Intro to Instructional Design: Through this course you’ll learn how to create programs and websites that facilitate learning. [Utah State University]
  3. Accessibility of eLearning: Learn why online learning opportunities could help those with disabilities, and how you can better design your sites. [Open University]
  4. Seminar in Instructional Design: Take this course to get some help learning how to design websites that work well for teaching and learning. [San Diego State University]
  5. Designing Sociable Media: Here you can learn how to design interfaces that will best foster online communications and socialization. [MIT]
  6. Technologies for Creative Learning: This course will help you learn how new technologies can help people learn things in exciting ways. [MIT]
  7. Techno-identity: Who we are and how we perceive ourselves and others: Is your online identity different than your real-life one? This course explores the notion of a techno-identity and what that means for interactions. [MIT]
  8. Economics and E-Commerce: Check out this course to learn more about the monetary side of developing great e-commerce sites. [MIT]
  9. Writing on Contemporary Issues: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace: Whether you’re writing a blog or just maintaining your website, this course will help you learn how to better publish your thoughts on the web. [MIT]
  10. Media Education and the Marketplace: Through this course you’ll learn about the rise of the web, the variety of marketplaces around the world and how people are being educated on how to use new technology. [MIT]
  11. Blogs, Wikis and New Media for Learning: This course offers users the chance to learn more about the role web technology takes on in learning. [USU]
  12. E-Commerce and the Internet in Real Estate and Construction: Learn how to build more effective real estate sites, and the role that the web plays in this market, from this free course. [MIT]

Entrepreneurship and Freelancing

While it might very often be a creative endeavor, web design and development is a business like any other. You can help boost your business skills in these courses focused on entrepreneurship, management and other business topics.

  1. Designing and Leading the Entrepreneurial Organization: Take this course to learn more about designing, running and growing your own business. [MIT]
  2. Early-Stage Capital: Those looking to get some investment in their web development projects can get great advice from this site. [MIT]
  3. Entrepreneurial Marketing: Learn how to get people to buy what you’re selling through this helpful marketing class. [MIT]
  4. Marketing Strategy: This course will help you to develop an effective marketing strategy. [MIT]
  5. The Software Business: If your website involves marketing, selling or offering software, learn more about the business behind it through this course. [MIT]
  6. Competitive Decision-Making and Negotiation: Do you know how to make good decisions under pressure and get what you want from clients? This course will give you the skills you need. [MIT]
  7. SEO Training Course: Take this course to learn how to more effectively promote your website. [GNC Web]
  8. Pricing: Is your product priced appropriately? This course will teach you how to ensure you’re getting what you deserve. [MIT]
  9. Listening to the Customer: Learn why you should listen to what your clients have to say to make your business better than ever from this course. [MIT]
  10. Starting a Business: If you’re planning on going out on your own, this course from the Small Business Administration will give you a leg up on starting up. [SBA]
  11. Strategies for Technology-Based New Business Development: This course focuses on educating you on what it takes to start a business in the technology industry. [MIT]

100 Best Blogs for Econ Students

Sep 21st, 2009

As an economics student, you have access to a great wealth of information online. One of the best places to find information online is in blogs, such as economics blogs written by educators, experts, and self-proclaimed know it alls. Here, you’ll find the 100 best blogs for economics students to read.

General

These blogs cover a variety of topics in economics.

  1. Economics Help: Economics Help offers assistance with simplifying economics.
  2. EconLog: The Library of Economics and Liberty offers issues and insights in economics.
  3. Cafe Hayek: Learn about globalization, choice, financial markets, randomness, and more on Cafe Hayek.
  4. The Economic Populist: The Economic Populist allows readers to speak their mind about economics.
  5. Economic Logic: Economic Logic shares the economics in everything.
  6. Alpha Sources: Alpha Sources is interested in new ideas.
  7. Economists Do It With Models: This blog takes a lighthearted look at economics.
  8. Manarin on Money: Roland Manarin is an author offering his perspective on economics.
  9. The Big Picture: The Big Picture offers a macro perspective on economics.
  10. Citizen Economists: Citizen Economists highlights economic thought from the common man and woman.
  11. The Economics Roundtable: On the Economics Roundtable, you’ll find an aggregation of some of the best economics blogs out there.
  12. Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up: Get an insider’s look into economics from Jeff Matthews.
  13. DataPoints: DataPoints offers a free and open exchange on the economy.
  14. The Undercover Economist: Check out this blog to learn about the economics of everyday life from Tim Harford.
  15. Dollars & Sense: Dollars & Sense presents news about real world economics.
  16. Economix: Read Economix to learn about economics in everyday life.
  17. Visualizing Economics: Visualizing Economics makes the invisible hand visible with graphs and charts.
  18. Cato Unbound: Cato Unbound offers regular essays on big-picture topics from some of the world’s leading thinkers.
  19. EconoSpeak: EconoSpeak shares the annals of the economically correct.
  20. Overcoming Bias: Economist Robin Hanson writes this blog about honesty, signaling, disagreement, forecasting, and the far future.
  21. Economists’ Forum: On this blog, leading economists discuss important topics in economics.
  22. Freakonomics: The Freakonomics blog reveals the hidden side of everything.
  23. Angry Bear: Angry Bear offers economic commentary on news, politics, and more.

News

Make use of these blogs to stay on top of economics news.

  1. Real Time Economics: Find economic insight and analysis from The Wall Street Journal on Real Time Economics.
  2. Beat the Press: Dean Baker comments on economics reporting on this blog.
  3. EconoMonitor: Find economic and financial intelligence that matters on EconoMonitor.
  4. macroblog: Find commentary on economic politics from macroblog, written by the Atlanta Fed.
  5. EconoPundit: Read EconoPundit to find economic news and views.
  6. Free Exchange: Check out Free Exchange to learn about economics from The Economist.

Business

These blogs focus on business in economics.

  1. Economics Unbound: Michael Mandel provides his perspective on economic issues in business today.
  2. footnoted: Michelle Leder will help you find out what’s being hidden in SEC filings.
  3. Businomics: Businomics will help you make better decisions by better understanding the economy.
  4. Dealbreaker: Dealbreaker offers business news, headlines, and financial gossip.
  5. Megan McArdle: Megan McArdle writes this blog about economics, business, and more.
  6. The Atlantic Business: This blog covers bankruptcy reform, cutting spending, and beyond.
  7. SEC Data Guy: Check out this blog about SEC EDGAR data.
  8. The Deal Professor: Steven M. Davidoff writes about the world of mergers and acquisitions.
  9. I Will Teach You To Be Rich: Ramit Sethi’s blog offers the best of personal finance and entrepreneurship.
  10. 10Q Detective: David Phillips digs through businesses’ SEC filings.
  11. Calculated Risk: Bill McBride is a retired senior executive with a background in management, finance, and economics.

Educators

Learn from researchers, professors and more on these economics blogs.

  1. Greg Mankiw’s Blog: This professor of economics offers random observations for students of economics.
  2. Econbrowser: Econbrowser offers economics analysis from James D. Hamilton and Menzie Chinn.
  3. Knowledge Problem: Lynne Kiesling and Michael Giberson offer their view on economics on Knowledge Problem.
  4. The Everyday Economist: Josh Henderson of The Everyday Economists is a professor of microeconomics and econometrics at Wayne State University.
  5. The Epicurean Dealmaker: The Epicurean Dealmaker discusses the world of mergers and acquisitions.
  6. Grasping Reality with Both Hands: Brad DeLong is an economist at Berkeley that offers a reality based look at economics.
  7. Ideas: David Friedman is a self-taught academic economist at a law school.
  8. Economist’s View: Mark Thoma of University of Oregon offers his view on economics on this blog.
  9. EclectEcon: EclectEcon delivers on the eclectic side of economics.
  10. Robert Reich: Rober Reich is a former Secretary of Labor and professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
  11. The Becker-Posner Blog: These two University of Chicago professors offer authorative learning in economics.
  12. The Conscience of a Liberal: Paul Krugman discusses economics and politics in this blog.
  13. Mises Economics Blog: This blog advances the scholarship of Ludwig von Mises.
  14. MV=PQ: This blog offers a resource for economics educators concerned with economic and financial literacy issues.
  15. The Seven Scholars: The Seven Scholars share a macro perspective on economics.
  16. Aspiring Economist: The Aspiring Economist is a second year graduate student of economics.
  17. Adam Smith’s Lost Legacy: This blog is a study on Adam Smith.
  18. Aplia Econ Blog: The Aplia Econ Blog offers news that relates to your economics classes.
  19. Economics Revealed!: Economics Revealed! will help you understand economic fundamentals by examining them in the real world.
  20. Fly Bottle: Will Wilkinson is a research fellow at the Cato Institute.
  21. Welker’s Wikinomics: Welker’s Wikinomics offers a collaborative platform for teaching and learning economics.

Markets

These blogs focus on markets and investment.

  1. Winter Economic and Market Watch: Keep an eye on Wall Street on this blog.
  2. American Association of Wine Economists: Here you’ll find a blog on the economics of wine and food.
  3. The Health Economics Blog: With this blog, you’ll get insight into trends, politics, opinions, and more in biotech and pharmacy.
  4. Curious Cat: Curious Cat discusses investing and economics on this blog.
  5. Seeking Alpha: Seeking Alpha offers stock market news, investing ideas, and lots more.
  6. A Dash of Insight: A Dash of Insight takes an eclectic approach to trading and investing.
  7. Bronte Capitalism: This blog explores investment ideas from the position of learning what’s wrong.
  8. Abnormal Returns: Abnormal Returns offers an investment blog that’s wide ranging and without forecasts.
  9. Crossing Wall Street: Crossing Wall Street offers a guide to financial success.
  10. naked capitalism: Get a stripped down look at capitalism on this blog.
  11. Capital Gains and Games: Capital Gains and Games discusses Washington, Wall Street, and everything in between.
  12. MarketBeat: Get an inside look at the markets from Wall Street Journal’s MarketBeat.

Hard Times

Learn about the recession and reform from these blogs.

  1. Bankruptcy Beat: This blog offers a look at companies that are in trouble.
  2. Dr. Housing Bubble: On Dr. Housing Bubble, you’ll get a look at the current real estate market.
  3. TheMoneyIllusion: Check out this blog to learn about the problem of monetary policy.
  4. Global Economics Watch: In this blog, you’ll find a global economic crisis resource center.
  5. BailoutSleuth: Check out BailoutSleuth to get the lowdown on the latest bailouts.
  6. Crisis Talk: Crisis Talk discusses emerging markets and the financial crisis.
  7. Economy Watch: Frank Ahrens discusses the financial crisis.
  8. Financial Armageddon: Financial Armageddon shares information about the coming economic unraveling.
  9. Boom2Bust: Boom2Bust warns and educates its readers about the coming US financial crash.
  10. The Baseline Scenario: This blog attempts to explain what happened to the global economy, and what we can do about it.
  11. Infectious Greed: Learn about finance and the money culture from Paul Kedrosky.
  12. The Big Do-Over: The Big Do-Over discusses fixing financial regulation.
  13. Marginal Revolution: Marginal Revolution offers small steps toward a better world.

Policy

In these blogs, you’ll learn about the politics of economics.

  1. The Hearing: The Hearing offers a decoding of economic policy debate.
  2. Vox: Vox shares research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists.
  3. Economic Policy Institute: The Economic Policy Institute offers research and ideas for shared prosperity.
  4. Money & Policy: The New York Times examines money and policy on this blog.

Global Economy

Learn about economics around the world on these blogs.

  1. Planet Money: Planet Money offers a discussion on the global economy.
  2. A Fistful of Euros: Check out A Fistful of Euros to learn about European economic opinion.
  3. Japan Economy Watch: Japan Economy Watch keeps an eye on Japan’s ongoing economic crisis.
  4. Global Economy Matters: Edward Hugh examines the global economy on this blog.
  5. Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis: Mike Shedlock shares analysis for global economic trends.
  6. China Economics Blog: Read the China Economics Blog to learn about observations, statistics, and news related to China’s economy.

Sustainability

These blogs are concerned with economy that can continue to grow.

  1. Oikos: Oikos focuses on environmental policy and its connection with the economy.
  2. Block’s Indicator of Sustainable Growth: Find out how the economy can continue to grow from this blog.
  3. Ecological Economics: Ecological Economics offers a cross-disciplinary conversation about economics and ecology.
  4. Environmental Economics: Read this blog from economists about environmental and natural resources.

Top 100 Science Professor Blogs

Sep 16th, 2009

If you’re studying science, one of the best types of resources you can find online are science professor blogs. On these science professor blogs, you’ll get an uncut look at science education, and get access to learning that doesn’t make it to the classroom. Check out our list to find 100 of the best blogs from science professors.

General

These professors discuss science in general.

  1. Method: Find the best posts from science professors and beyond osn this blog.
  2. Dr. Mom: Dr. Mom writes about her journey from grad school to postdoc to faculty member, with a family.
  3. YoungFemaleScientist: YoungFemaleScientist is a postdoc in academic biomedical research.
  4. Adventures in Ethics and Science: Read Janet D. Stemwedel’s blog about science and ethics.
  5. Quest Community Science Blog: On this group blog, you’ll find an exploration of science, environment, and nature.
  6. Temporary Professor?: Temporary Professor is a post-doctoral fellow and adjunct faculty member.
  7. Science Infoblog: Learn about science from an educator’s perspective by following this blog.
  8. Science Musings: Read Chet Raymo’s essay on the Science Musings blog.
  9. Welcome to Explorations in Science with Dr. Michio Kaku: This professor is a popularizer of science.
  10. Nerdy Science Blog: Read this blog to take a nerdy look at science.
  11. Academia and Me: Read about this female scientist’s experiences in academia.
  12. Professor Anonymous: Professor Anonymous works in the scientific department of a large university.
  13. Simplicity & Complexity: Follow the Santa Fe Institute’s science developments on this blog.
  14. Impact Lab: Impact Lab discusses the future of human experience.
  15. Science in Society: Professors in all fields of science at Northwestern University contribute to this blog.
  16. Propter Doc: Find lecturer notes from this post doc.
  17. Janus Professor: Janus Professor is an assistant professor in a scientific field at Ivy League University.
  18. Making Science Fun: Steve Spangler explains how you can make science fun.
  19. Prof-like Substance: This professor is a faculty member in a science department at a northeastern university.
  20. The n-Category Cafe: Here you’ll find a group blog on math, physics, and philosophy.
  21. Unbalanced Reaction: This blogger just completed a one-year visiting assistant professor job.

Physical Science

Find chemistry, geology, and more in these science professor blogs.

  1. FemaleScienceProfessor: This science professor blogger writes about being a science professor and a woman at the same time.
  2. Useful Chemistry: Learn about the UsefulChem project at Drexel University on this blog.
  3. RealClimate: The contributors to RealClimate include professors and other climate scientists.
  4. Environmental Law Blog: Read Professor Susan Smith’s blog to learn about environmental law.
  5. Sustainable Business Design: NE Landrum teaches about sustainable business.
  6. Julio de Paula’s blog: Julio de Paula is the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and professor of chemistry at Lewis & Clark College.
  7. Roger Pielke Jr.’s Blog: Roger Pielke, Jr. is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
  8. Wooster Geologists: Read this blog to learn about the latest news coming out of Wooster’s Geology department.

Social Science & Phsychology

These science professor blogs discuss social science and psychology.

  1. A Gentleman’s C: This tenured faculty member delivers statistics lectures to social science majors.
  2. Prof. Dr. Laksman Madurasinghe: Here you can read the blog of a consultant psychologist professor.
  3. Cognitive Daily: Greta Munger is a Professor of Psychology at Davidson College.
  4. Todd Kashdan: Todd Kashdan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at George Mason University.
  5. Social Science Statistics Blog: Learn about social science statistical methods from this Harvard blog.

Medicine

Get a professor’s view of medicine from these blogs.

  1. DrugMonkey: These bloggers are NIH-funded researchers and faculty members.
  2. virology blog: This blog is all about viruses and viral disease.
  3. Juniorprof: Juniorprof is a neuroscientist in pharmacology on a tenure track position.
  4. Bioethics Discussion Blog: Maurice Bernstein, MD offers a discussion on bioethics.
  5. Hard Science: Read about biomedical research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on this blog.
  6. Neuroethics & Law Blog: Professor Adam Kolber discusses legal and ethical issues related to the mind and brain.
  7. Medical Futility Blog: Thaddeus Mason Pope teaches about medical futility.
  8. Neurotopia: This PhD in Neuroscience works in a library and as an adjunct assistant professor.
  9. Reflections by Dr. Bruce Campbell: Bruce Campbell works as an Otolaryngologist with the Medical College of Wisconsin.
  10. Heartbit: Heartbit is an associate professor in clinical anatomy and medical physiology.
  11. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog: Michael Cohen writes about the laws governing complementary and alternative medicine on this blog.
  12. Dr. Tori Hudson, ND: Tori Hudson is a naturopathic physcician who is an adjunct clinical professor with Bastyr University and Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.
  13. Dr. Geoff’s MedBlog: This doctor has practiced and taught emergency and internal medicine for over 20 years.
  14. DoctorMama: DoctorMama is a mother, physician, wife, and educator.
  15. NeuroLogica Blog: Steven Novella, MD is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine.
  16. Renegade Neurologist: David Perlmutter is an adjunct instructor at the Institute for Functional Medicine.
  17. Terra Sigillata: Here you’ll find the blog of an academic researcher and educator in pharmacology.
  18. BrainBlog: Read Anthony Risser’s blog about neuropsychology.
  19. A Natural Scientist: This natural scientist offers academic summaries on this blog.
  20. Here to help: Dr. Scherger is a professor of clinical family and preventive medicine at the University of California San Diego.
  21. Dr. Wes: Dr. Wes is a clinical associate professor of medicine at University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

Engineering

Check out these blogs to find engineering professors.

  1. FemaleEngineeringProfessor: This blogger is an associate professor at a large research university.
  2. Macroelectronics: Read this blog to learn from a faculty member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland.
  3. Go Engineering!: Go Engineering! explores the future of engineering education.
  4. Raffy’s World: You’ll learn about applied mathematics and computational science from this associate professor in the Phillipines.
  5. Candid Engineer in Academia: Learn about researching at Brilliant University on this blog.
  6. Engineering Ethics Blog: Karl Stephan teaches engineering at Texas State University.
  7. Ocean Engineering: You can learn about ocean engineering from this blog written by URI’s Department of Engineering.
  8. Sciencewomen: These science professors share the change they want to see.

Physics & Astronomy

These professors share physics, astronomy news, and more.

  1. Professor Astronomy: Learn about the news, research, and more in astronomy from this blogging professor.
  2. Cosmic Variance: Read this blog to learn from physicists and astrophysicists.
  3. Bad Astronomy: Phil Plait is an astronomer, lecturer, and author.
  4. Astroprof: This college professor teaches physics and astronomy.
  5. The Mind of Dr. Pion: Hear ravings on physics, education, and more from this theoretical physicist and practical professor.

Biology

Read about biology, evolution, and more on these science professor blogs.

  1. EvolutionBlog: This professor has an unhealthy obsession with issues related to evolution and creationism.
  2. On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess: Dr. Isis blogs about working at a major research university.
  3. Pharyngula: Pharyngula is written by PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota Morris.
  4. Lost in Translation: Read Jonathan Kimmelman’s blog about biomedical ethics.
  5. Ouroboros: Ouroboros offers a look into the biology of aging.
  6. John Hawks: John Hawks is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discussing paleoantrhopology, genetics, and evolution.
  7. The Panda’s Thumb: Read The Panda’s Thumb to find a thoughtful discussion on evolution.
  8. A Mad Tea-Party: This blogger is on the faculty in the biosciences department.
  9. BBSRC: Read Professor Douglas Kell’s blog about bioscience for the future.
  10. dechronization: These evolutionary biologists are interested in phylogeny.
  11. Professor Olsen @ Large: Professor Olsen discusses biology, human anatomy, and physiology.
  12. Maine Birds: Read Herb Wilson’s blog to learn about orinthology, winder ecology, zoology, and much more.
  13. NeuroDojo: Zen Faulkes’ blog will help you train your brain.
  14. Professor Chaos: Professor Chaos is a young assistant professor in the biological sciences.
  15. Biochemical Soul: Biochemical Soul is written by an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology at Elon University.
  16. Professor in Training: Professor in Training is a new female assistant professor in the biomedical sciences at a large university.
  17. The Tree of Life: Jonathan Eisen is an evolutionary biologist, professor at UC Davis, Open Access advocate, and Editor in Chief of PLoS Biology.
  18. The EEB and flow: Here you’ll find a group evolutionary ecology blog written by scientists in academia and beyond.
  19. Professor Boardman’s Bioblog: Learn about evolution and more on this biology professor’s blog.

Technology, Information & Computers

These blogs offer a view on computers, information, and technology.

  1. Educational Technology Professor: Find reflections from a female professor in educational technology on this blog.
  2. EagerEyes: Read Robert Kosara’s blog about information visualization, visual analytics, and more.
  3. Billso: Bill Sideman discusses information systems and more on this blog.
  4. Deltoid: Tim Lambert is a computer scientist at the University of New South Wales.
  5. Hilary Mason: Hilary Mason is a computer science professor, data scientist, and web geek.
  6. Harga-Blog: Andrew Hargadon’s blog offers a conversation about technology, design, and creativity.
  7. Technology and Organizations: On Terri Griffith’s blog, you’ll read about the perception and use of technology in organizations.
  8. Shtetl-Optimized: Scott Aaronson’s blog discusses theoretical computer science and more.
  9. The Audio Prof: Check out Rob Potter’s blog about the cognitive processing of media messages.
  10. Computer Science Department Blog: On this blog, you’ll be able to stay up to date on the computer science department at Virginia Tech.
  11. IT Compliance: Privacy professor Rebecca Herold discusses IT compliance on this blog.
  12. Daniel Lemire: Daniel Lemire is a professor of computer science at the University of Quebec at Montreal.
  13. Technology & Marketing Law Blog: Read Eric Goldman’s blog to learn about the laws that surround technology and marketing.

25 Cutting-Edge Wolfram Alpha Tips for Serious Students

Sep 14th, 2009

Google and Wikipedia are great starting-off points for researching your next assignment or finding supplemental material to study guides, but in college, your sources need to be a little more sophisticated. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use a search engine to look up homework problems, conduct quantitative research and cite it as a primary source without having to head to other sites? The WolframAlpha is a revolutionary Internet search tool that can do all three. Here are 25 cutting-edge WolframAlpha tips for serious students.

General

Get tips on searching, citing, saving and more.

  1. Check for discrepancies with your textbook: You can your WolframAlpha to double check your textbook (and vice versa), but be ready for discrepancies. Check the "Alternate forms" tab on the WolframAlpha to see if your textbook just follows a different format or process to get to the answer.
  2. Do a quantitative search: Type in searches that focus on quantitative, numbers-based solutions rather than conceptual searches for the most detailed answers.
  3. Remember to cite it as a source: The WolframAlpha team asks that you please cite them as a primary source if you use it to find research for homework assignments.
  4. Use it for comparisons: When you need comparative charts for your research, use WolframAlpha rather than Google, because comparative results are its specialty.
  5. Look for the WolframAlpha Wiki: WolframAlpha just announced that their developing a wiki for lesson plans, tips and outlines of information currently in the WA database.
  6. Be specific but don’t overdo it: Keep queries basic and concise, but avoid phrases that are too vague.

Homework Help

Use the WolframAlpha to generate statistics reports, solve cryptograms and more.

  1. Solve word puzzles: Find anagrams, crossword puzzle answers, word subsets and cryptograms for a shortcut or to make up your own challenges.
  2. Word Reference: Instead of using the dictionary or thesaurus, use WolframAlpha to look up a word’s etymology, detailed definition, synonyms and more from just one search.
  3. Compare books and periodicals: Find out which is a better source to use by comparing two periodicals or books.
  4. Research demographics: WA’s socioeconomic data section lets you easily research and compare demographics of cities and countries.
  5. Go beyond the formula: In math or science class, your professors might be content if you just memorize formulas. But with WolframAlpha, you can actually "explore" conversions and formulas by typing in a search or comparing them to others, according to Gizmodo.
  6. Use it to do your homework: When you’re really stuck, use WolframAlpha to solve math problems and find all kinds of science formulas or solutions for you. Just remember to use it as a study guide instead of copying the answers only.
  7. Generate statistics: You can get help with your statistics or business homework by typing in a data set to WolframAlpha, which can then generate a basic descriptive stats set for you.

Cool Stuff

Here you’ll find cutting-edge hacks for the WolframAlpha, including using it on your iPhone, calculating word count for your next paper, and other neat tips.

  1. Manipulate: Manipulate is one of the WolframAlpha’s most talked about features. With Manipulate, you can now write a little piece of code for anything you want to look up, or to customize controllers used for Mathematica. For Mathematica, Nilay Gandhi writes, "with a few quick additions to your code, you can control the sliders and locators with a gamepad or (even more interesting) with the sudden-motion sensor that comes built in with most laptops."
  2. Use it on your iPhone: For maximum convenience, add a WolframAlpha icon to your iPhone’s Safari web browser.
  3. Calculate data transfer time: Before transferring files on your computer or network, head to WolframAlpha and type in what you’re transferring. You’ll get the estimated time without having to wait around, completely clueless.
  4. Calculate word count: Before you start your next paper, let WolframAlpha compute how many pages you need to write to meet the word count requirement.
  5. Firefox spell checker: Firefox users can spell check their searches by right-clicking the WolframAlpha query box and selecting Check Spelling.
  6. Check Source Information: To expand your results, scroll to the bottom of the WolframAlpha page that displays your result and click on the Source Information Link. This will connect you to the information that WolframAlpha used to answer your query.
  7. Don’t underestimate the date search: If you type in a date, the WolframAlpha will pull up all kinds of statistics, birthdays, anniversaries, observances and more to help you draw comparisons and make connections for your research project or paper. Searching dates is a great starting off point.
  8. Get the dirt on any college or university: Type in the name of a university like NYU, and WA brings up basic stats, degrees awarded, demographics, tuition and more.
  9. Save results: You can easily save your results by clicking the PDF link at the bottom of the page to create a saved file.
  10. Analyze test scores: Find out what your SAT score really means by typing in the number and then looking at percentile, total students tested, a chart of your score and other stats.
  11. Compare universities: WA can also compare universities by displaying stats in a side-by-side table.
  12. Count down days: Type in a day in the future, like "next Thursday" and you can count down the days and weekdays until your test, vacation or meeting.

10 Must-See Movies for Law School Students

Sep 1st, 2009

Your parents may not think that as a law student or LSAT student you have a lot of extra time for lying around and watching movies, but some films can actually help you prepare for law school and your legal career after graduation. These films, for example, serve to inspire, motivate, challenge and expose students to all sides of law, including corruption schemes, corporate law, humanitarian and war crimes cases, international law, law school stories, and more. Keep reading for our list of the 10 must-see movies for law school students.

  1. The Paper Chase: The 1973 film The Paper Chase, based on the 1970 book by the same name, is an iconic law school film about Hart, a first-year law student at Harvard. Hart struggles to please his militant contracts professor, whom he is frightened of but also has great respect. At the same time, Hart falls in love with his professor’s daughter, though he doesn’t realize the relation at the time. Law students love The Paper Chase for its portrayal of professor worship, obsession and the intense studying first years have to suffer through.
  2. Amistad: Steven Spielberg’s 1997 film starring Anthony Hopkins in an Academy Award nominated role, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Djimon Hounsou, Stellan Skarsgard and Nigel Hawthorne is a thrilling story about the birth of the United States legal tradition. McConaughey stars as a young American property lawyer who is enlisted to defend a group of West African slaves who violently took over their trading ship in 1839. The film, which is based on a true story, follows the case as it reaches the Supreme Court and even the court of Spain. Anthony Hopkins plays an aging John Quincy Adams who dispenses legal and moral advice while tending to his African violets. Law school students will feel inspired by the rousing courtroom scenes especially.
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird: Gregory Peck stars in To Kill a Mockingbird, the story of a Southern lawyer who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in what is widely regarded as one of the best films in American movie history. The 1962 film stars Peck as literary icon Atticus Finch, father of 6-year-old Scout and her brother Jem, who are also victims of the town’s violent split over the controversial case. To Kill a Mockingbird is an important film because of its portrayal of how racism often triumphed over the law during the 1950s and 1960s, and how certain cases can impact society even outside of the courtroom.
  4. Philadelphia: Tom Hanks won an Academy Award for his role as Andrew Beckett, an attorney who brings a suit against his corporate law firm for dismissing him after they discovered that he was a homosexual with AIDS. Philadelphia was released in 1993, when homosexuality was just beginning to become an issue in labor law and discrimination cases. Denzel Washington, Joanne Woodward, Antonio Banderas, and Chandra Wilson also star.
  5. Michael Clayton: The 2007 film Michael Clayton directed by Tony Gilroy and starring George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack examines a corruption scheme at a large, corporate law firm in New York City. One of the clients that Clooney’s firm represents is involved in a toxic chemical cover-up. The character Arthur Edens, played by Tom Wilkinson, is a lawyer and friend of Clooney’s who defends the company but is secretly thinking about building a case against it after he finds out about the cover-up. Tilda Swinton plays the company’s chief counsel who sets up her own twisted investigation to kill Edens’ case. It’s a film that depicts modern American corporate law culture while addressing a realistic set of social and environmental issues.
  6. Inherit the Wind: This classic film from 1960 which addresses two significant milestones in American legal and social history. On the surface, the film, which was adapted from the play version, recreates the 1925 Scopes "Monkey" Trial during which a Tennessee school teacher is accused of breaking a law that prevents the teaching of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the film was released right after the controversial and destructive McCarthy trials of the 1940s and 1950s and may have been intended to comment on the unfairness of those events.
  7. 12 Angry Men: This 1957 film starring Henry Fonda and directed by Sidney Lumet is another movie that examines how prejudice sways a jury. The movie follows the jury’s inability to reach a verdict for a teen’s murder trial as jury members’ outward arguments and inward responses to the circumstances change. Law students will learn about the importance and influence of perception, bigotry, and compelling arguments during a jury trial.
  8. Judgment at Nuremberg: Law school students interested in public policy, international law and humanitarian law should watch the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremburg starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Montgovery Clift and William Shatner. Directed by Stanley Kramer, Judgment at Nuremburg follows a fictional story but is based on the historical Nuremburg trials that followed World War II and accused Nazi officers of war crimes. This film also makes reference to the real-life Katzenberger Trial during World War II that sentenced to death a Jewish man for having an affair with a white European woman.
  9. The Pelican Brief: Julia Roberts plays a Tulane law school student named Darby Shaw who takes it upon herself to write up a law brief about two Supreme Court justice assassinations that have just occurred. After showing the brief to her law school professor boyfriend, who then passes it to a friend at the FBI, Shaw’s boyfriend is murdered in a car bomb that was intended for both of them. For the rest of the film, Shaw, along with a journalist played by Denzel Washington, tries to escape the hit men who are after her brief while also trying to solve the murders. It’s an inspirational story for young law school students who are impatient to make a difference.
  10. The Firm: Sydney Pollack directed and Tom Cruise starred in the 1993 film adaptation of John Grisham’s novel, The Firm. Law school students and recent graduates of law school may be able to relate to Cruise’s wish to be on the inside of a small but well-respected law firm in Memphis even after receiving offers from firms in New York and Chicago. Cruise plays a young attorney who is courted by the top lawyers at the firm only to find himself in the middle of a corrupt circle involving many of the attorneys and the mob. Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook, Holly Hunter, David Strathairn, Ed Harris and Paul Sorvino all co-star.

10 Incredibly Inspiring Self-Taught Scholars

Aug 31st, 2009

As a college student, you may sometimes wonder how valuable your formal education really is. Your tuition doesn’t just pay for classes, though: you’re also receiving valuable career training and the opportunity to explore different subjects before setting out on a professional path. These inspiring figures, however, accomplished a great deal with minimal or no formal education, becoming U.S. Presidents, well-known journalists, writers and scientists. Read on for our list of 10 incredibly inspiring self-taught scholars.

  1. Abraham Lincoln: As the 16th President of the United States who ended slavery and united the country after the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln is widely recognized as one of the greatest leaders in American history. Lincoln, though, grew up humbly in a one-room log cabin in the early 1800s in Kentucky and Illinois. Lincoln’s mother died when he was very young, but he and his stepmother were close. Though Lincoln only had a few months of formal education in a small backwoods school, he is known as having been a voracious reader who devoured the Bible and Shakespeare while growing up. Even as a politician, Lincoln visited the Library of Congress to build up his education and read for his own personal and professional development.
  2. Albert Einstein: Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein is one of the most famous and admired scientists and scholars in the world, even after his death in 1955. Born in Ulm in the German Empire in 1879, Einstein is today credited with discovering the special theory of relativity, photon theory, quantum theory of atomic motion in solids, and many other important theories. But despite these genius contributions to science, Einstein had a difficult time being accepted at school. He attended primary and secondary school, though he first failed his entrance exam. During school, Einstein worked on his own projects and rejected the teaching styles that his schools adhered to. Einstein also ended up studying at the Polytechnic in Zurich, but was never completely accepted by his peers until much later in his career. Much of Einstein’s most significant learning milestones include theories he wrote himself or relationships he had with his parent’s friends.
  3. Walter Cronkite: Walter Cronkite, also known as "the most trusted man in America" during his 19-year tenure as CBS Evening News anchorman during the 1960s and 70s, is regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States. The Missouri-born Cronkite, who died in 2009, attended junior high and high school in Houston, TX, and attended the University of Texas for two years before dropping out in 1935. Cronkite learned journalism by working in the field himself, interviewing people for news and sports stories as a newspaperman and then working at a radio station in Oklahoma City. Cronkite later joined the U.S. Air Force during World War II and credited that part of his life as a significant learning experience.
  4. Walter Pitts: Walter Pitts was an important logician and mathematician who made significant contributions to the cognitive sciences, psychology, artificial intelligence, and the generative sciences. As a boy growing up in Detroit, Pitts read works like Principia Mathematica to learn logic and math, and he also taught himself Greek and Latin at just 10 years old. At 15, Pitts sat in on classes at the University of Chicago to listen to lectures by Principia Mathematica‘s author, Bertrand Russell. Pitts never enrolled as a student and eventually collaborated with Warren McCullouch and Norbert Wiener on developing their theories.
  5. Benjamin Franklin: As one of the most inspirational and influential figures in American history, Benjamin Franklin enjoyed a career in politics and political theory, science, international relations, writing and media, printing, city development, social justice and more. As a young boy growing up in Boston, Franklin was part of a huge family, and his parents could only afford to send him to school for two years. After withdrawing from the Boston Latin School, Franklin educated himself by reading and then becoming an apprentice to his brother in the printing business, at the age of 12.
  6. George Bernard Shaw: The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote many important plays, novels and short stories that influenced society, economics, politics, pop culture and the literary community. Some of his most famous works include Pygmalion, for which he won a Nobel Prize and an Oscar, Man and Superman, Saint Joan, and The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism. Shaw grew up in a struggling family in Dublin. He attended three different grammar and day schools and disrespected the operations and style of formal education. When he was a teenager, Shaw’s mother moved to London with his sisters while he worked for his father as clerk in a real estate office. He eventually moved to London, where he frequented the British Museum and the public libraries to supplement his previous education.
  7. Charles Dickens: Considered one of the greatest and most popular authors in literary history, Charles Dickens authored many significant works like The Adventures of Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities, as well as many non-fiction works, short stories and plays. Dickens’s works are laced with biting social, political and economic satire, which commented on the restrictive attitudes of the Victorian era while pleasing his readers. Dickens was born into a large family in Hampshire, England, in 1812, and spent much of his boyhood either outdoors or reading. He attended school as a young boy in Chatham until his father was sent to debtor’s prison. Dickens began working at a a warehouse when he was just 12 years old.
  8. George Washington: The first President of the United States George Washington enjoyed a distinguished military career during the French and Indian War and American Revolution before being elected as president in 1789. Born in 1732 in Virginia, George Washington never went to school but was taught by his brother and father at home. As a teenager and young man, Washington worked as a surveyor for the Colony of Virginia, which proved very useful during his time as a military commander.
  9. Peter Jennings: Peter Jennings, a hugely popular and well-respected journalist and ABC World News Tonight anchorman during the 1980s through the early 2000s, was never fond of school and considers his time as a field reporter in the Middle East and Europe as his formal education. Jennings was born and raised in Ontario and was the son of Charles Jennings, a respected radio broadcaster for the CBC. Jennings never achieved academic success while in shool and dropped out of both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. He joined the media and broadcasting industry and ended up as ABC where he was the youngest anchor in the country. Jennings, however, wasn’t experienced enough and left the anchor seat to travel and work as a foreign correspondent for ABC until he was able to prove himself as an educated journalist.
  10. John Greenleaf Whittier: John Greenleaf Whittier, one of the Fireside Poets along with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and other New England poets, was vocally instrumental in the abolition movement during the 19th century. Born on a farm in Massachusetts, Whittier was raised a Quaker and worked to put himself through school. He graduated high school in two years, working as a teacher and shoemaker while also studying poetry. Whittier never attended college and instead began working as the editor of a Boston weekly paper. He continued in journalism and worked at the influential New England Weekly Review and was also a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

100 Best Back-to-School Hacks

Aug 30th, 2009

Going back to college after your long summer break is sort of like the university student’s opportunity for New Year’s Resolutions. From organization to better study habits to making new friends to preparing for your career, you’ll want to make this year the most fun and the most productive. Check out our list of 100 best back-to-school hacks for more ideas.

Moving In

From redecorating to organizing your closet to cleaning your dorm or apartment, these hacks will turn what little personal space you have into your happy place.

  1. Get door hangers: Door organizers and hanging organizers give you more space to keep shoes, bags and accessories.
  2. Don’t pack so much this year: Especially if you live within driving distance of home, don’t pack clothes for the whole year.
  3. Split up chores: Come up with a chores worksheet and schedule with your roommate.
  4. Get a vacuum: Vacuum at least once a week to cut down on dust, allergens, and crumbs.
  5. Clean little by little: Clean up messes as they happen, and clean more often to avoid turning your apartment into a pigsty.
  6. Get more trash cans: College kids seem to produce lots of extra trash, so get more trash cans for every room.
  7. Pick out new bedding: A new throw pillow or new sheets will add punch to your room and give you a fresh start.
  8. Bunk your beds: Bunked beds give you lots of extra dorm room space.
  9. Set ground rules: Agree with your roommate on how and when your room or apartment should be used for parties, studying, and sleeping.
  10. Embrace DIY projects: Add more style to your room or apartment this year by embracing functional, fashionable DIY projects like making your own memo boards and more.

Organization

Start your year off right by being organized with your school work and your personal belongings. These hacks will make you more productive, help you make better grades, and minimize stress.

  1. Keep a master calendar: Take a planner with you wherever you go to record due dates, tests, meetings, study groups and more.
  2. Take better notes: Taking good notes during each class will help you stay on track with your classes and make you better organized when it’s time to study.
  3. Use a Computer Technician: Have a computer tech clean your computer of all extra programs and viruses so you don’t run into any problems once exam time kicks in.
  4. Pack your bag before you go to bed: To avoid leaving assignments and study materials at home, pack your bag at night when you’re less stressed and not as rushed.
  5. Don’t overload your schedule: Taking too many hours will make it that much harder to stay organized.
  6. Get better sleep: All-nighters and week night partying can hinder your performance and your focus the next day.
  7. Plan ahead: Don’t leave everything to the last minute: plan out how much time you need to spend on homework projects, meetings, extracurricular activities, commutes and everything in between.
  8. Use a web or text alert system: A tool like Remember the Milk can send you alerts when you’re late on deadlines or tasks.
  9. Find a job on campus: Campus offices are more willing to work around your schedule, and you’ll be able to save on commute times.
  10. Keep your room clean: It sounds juvenile, but a clean room makes it easier for you to find things and eases stress.

Study Habits

Pledge to become a more organized, productive student this year by taking better notes, staying on top of your homework, choosing the right study group and picking better classes.

  1. Keep in touch with teachers: Take advantage of office hours or just send your professor an email to show that you’re engaged and to clear up any questions you had from the lecture.
  2. Study every day: Review your notes from each class every day so that you’re actually learning the material instead of cramming at the last minute.
  3. Set your own deadlines: To help you stay on schedule and make sure you’re prepared, set your own deadlines before the professor’s due date.
  4. Find a study group that matches your study style: Not all study groups can help you study. Find a group of people who study the same way you do instead of working with students who talk too much, meet at odd hours or don’t take enough breaks.
  5. Use supplemental materials: Even if they’re not required, use the materials the professor hands out or recommends to supplement readings and lectures.
  6. Review before class: Your brain will be more likely to make connections and absorb new knowledge if it can easily recall notes from the last lecture.
  7. Take breaks: Study breaks allow your mind to process the material you just covered and rebuild energy.
  8. Pick interesting classes: The more you’re interested in the class material, the more you’ll be motivated to study and participate.
  9. Create summaries of your notes: By generating summaries, you’ll practice analyzing your notes and review the most important points.
  10. Go to class: Limit the number of times you skip class if you want to learn the material and get updates on tests and due dates.

Career Prep

Even if you’re an incoming freshman, these hacks can help you get a head start on searching for internships, discovering careers and more.

  1. Discover how your major applies to real-world skills: You don’t have to major in business to have a business-related career. Write down all the ways your major prepares you for a job in whatever field you want.
  2. Visit your career counselor: Career counselors can help you explore job options you never considered, so make an appointment, even if you’re an underclassman.
  3. Accept the fact that you’ll be doing the grunt work: Internships lead to exciting opportunities, but they don’t always start out as glamorous jobs. Accept that you’ll be fetching coffee and making copies.
  4. Know your transferable skills: Get help from a career counselor to make a list of transferable skills, or skills you’ve picked up from seemingly unrelated jobs that can help you win an internship or job after college.
  5. Have an objective: Figure out what you want out of your college experience, your part-time job and your internship before it’s too late.
  6. Get your references in order: Before applying for new jobs, and before leaving old ones, get your list of references organized.
  7. Pursue networking opportunities: Internships, career counseling offices and even campus jobs are great for building your professional network.

Campus Life

Get more involved this year by joining service organizations, culture clubs, Greek organizations or professional networking clubs. You’ll feel more connected to your fellow students and the university and will add to your resume and networking goals at the same time.

  1. Take on an officer position: You’ll learn valuable real-world skills that you can add to your resume, like event planning, fundraising or working with the public.
  2. Branch out: Join a club you never considered before to test yourself and find out if you have a hidden talent.
  3. Participate in dorm events: Dorms often organize sports competitions, recycling efforts, study breaks and other events that let you get to know the people in your hall.
  4. Start your own club: Become the president of a club to start out in a leadership position and network with student affairs officers, deans and other student presidents.
  5. Pick an activity that can help your career: Join the newspaper if you’d like to work as a journalist to get tangible experience, or join the school web development team if you want to be in computer forensics.
  6. Participate with your honor society’s activities: Don’t just save the certificate: take advantage of networking events and apply for a leadership position.
  7. Work alongside administrators and professors: This year, take a step beyond attending meetings and actually work alongside college administrators and professors –who will be happy to write you letters of recommendation — at campus events.
  8. Give yourself a break: Extracurricular activities can provide an outlet for you physically, emotionally, and socially while you take a break from your studies.
  9. Stay on campus more: Even if you live off campus, make a point to study at school, eat in the cafeteria, and stay in town on the weekends so that you feel more connected to campus.
  10. Attend all kinds of events: Support your classmates and your college name by attending all kinds of events, including swim meets, softball games, plays, art shows and more.

Budget

This year, try to stick to your budget without having to call home every couple of weeks or overdrafting your account.

  1. Find deals on textbooks: Look for used textbooks online or from someone who took the class the year before.
  2. Keep your grades up: Good grades can lower car insurance rates.
  3. Buy a frozen pizza: Spend $5 rather than $15 or $20 for delivery on late night snacking by buying it ahead of time.
  4. Use your student ID: Ask if your student ID will get you a discount at the movies, happy hour, coffee shop, bookstore or anywhere else.
  5. Keep your change: Collect all of your loose change and save it for vending machine purchases and laundry.
  6. Air dry your laundry: If you have the space, air dry laundry to cut your laundry bill in half.
  7. Use your dorm phone: Use your dorm phone for local calls and inter-campus calls to save your cell phone minutes.
  8. Write everything down: Tracking your expenses is a great way to see just how much you’re spending and figure out places you can cut back.
  9. Limit the majority of your spending to the weekends: Stay busy with extracurriculars and studying on campus during the week to cut down on spending.
  10. Avoid credit cards: Use cash when you can, and avoid using credit cards — or even signing up for them altogether.

Food and Health

As a college student, it’s easy to pick up bad eating habits, including late night grazing and fast food. But these healthy living hacks will keep up your energy and focus while helping you maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Cook more: Cooking is healthier and cheaper, so find a usable kitchen on campus to use every once in a while.
  2. Avoid fast food: Make a pledge to cut way back on fast food, especially in the middle of the night. Pack your freezer with healthier munchies instead.
  3. Stick to your meal plan: If your parents have already paid for your meal plan, don’t waste money on eating out. Stock up on snacks from the cafeteria to keep in your room for later.
  4. Use dishes: If you gained a lot of weight last year because you ate out of the box or carton, manage your portions this year by using plates and bowls.
  5. Monitor your stress levels: Take breaks, sleep well, drink a little less, and keep things in perspective to prevent over-stressing.
  6. Visit college counselors: College counselors are prepared to deal with the unique problems and situations facing students, including eating disorders, disorganization, bad grades, drinking, and social issues.
  7. Find healthier options for all foods and snacks: Try low-fat milk instead of whole milk, use whole-grain bread instead of white bread, choose water instead of calorie-packed drinks, and eat foods from every food group each day.
  8. Eat breakfast: Boost your focus, energy and metabolism by eating breakfast every day.
  9. Make time to exercise: Exercise keeps your weight in check, increases your energy, and provides you with a constructive outlet for stress management.
  10. Keep healthy foods available: Stock your fridge and backpack with healthy snacks and avoid buying junk food.

Party Hacks

Since we all know college isn’t just about studying, why not vow to become a better party planner this year, too?

  1. Throw a costume party: If you don’t have money for decorations or lots of extras, throw a random costume party to spice things up.
  2. Ask guests to chip in: Ask each guest to bring a bag of chips or a six-pack to help with cost.
  3. Invite more girls: A party that’s nothing but guys is lame, so invite more girls.
  4. Use your meal plan for snacks: If you’ll never use up all the money on your meal plan anyway, head to the student center for mixers, chips and cookies.
  5. Beer Stain Removal Hints: This recipe will show you how to get beer stains out.
  6. Pre-game: Pre-game before you go out to save money on alcohol.
  7. Make cheap "pretty" snacks: Make fancy looking snacks by simmering tiny weenies, laying out French bread and olive oil, or making your own queso.
  8. Buy a large trash can: Instead of worrying about trash overflow or taking trips out to the dumpster all night, buy a huge trash can to set up inside your kitchen.
  9. Throw a party with friends: Split the cost 10 ways and throw an even bigger, cooler party when you get 9 friends to help you out.
  10. Give your neighbors a heads up: Ask neighbors to call your cell phone instead of the police if things get too noisy.

Time Management

Learn how to schedule in meetings, study groups, sleep, homework and extracurricular activities with these hacks.

  1. Take shorter naps: A catnap is just as effective — if not more so — than a longer one, and you’ll still have time to get everything done.
  2. Do the hardest stuff first: Tackle the hard stuff when you have more energy, and save less important tasks for when you’re in the mood to multitask in front of the TV.
  3. Take your work with you: In case you have off time, you’ll always have something to work on while you wait.
  4. Ask for help: Whether it’s cleaning, trouble with a relationship, or homework problems, getting help from friends is more productive and will help you feel more confident.
  5. Keep meetings on track: When you have study group sessions and planning meetings, keep everyone on track. Otherwise, you’ll waste hours chatting.
  6. Just start working: Instead of worrying so much about doing a perfect job, just jump right into your project. You can always edit later.
  7. Make outlines: Make outlines for test reviews, research papers, and everything else.
  8. Brainstorm: Make a habit out of brainstorming before you start writing a paper or starting new project.
  9. Schedule something fun to do after you finish your work: This strategy keeps you motivated.
  10. Pack a study bag: Bring a sweater, water bottle, music, snacks and anything else that will keep you studying longer.

Miscellaneous

From dropping classes to saving gas, find even more back-to-school hacks here.

  1. Carpool: Save gas by sharing rides to campus or on errands.
  2. Understand your purpose for being at college: College isn’t just a time to goof off: understand that your time at school is preparing you for a successful, profitable, satisfying life, and you’ll become more efficient and goal-oriented.
  3. Figure out when to drop a class: You can make things easier on yourself by dropping a class if it turns out to be too complicated and you don’t need it to graduate.
  4. Visualize your college experience: Learn how to make better decisions and prepare for mistakes by visualizing things ahead of time.
  5. Set aside time to explore: College is the one time in your life that you have to take advantage of readily available resources and explore your interests, even if they seem a little out there.
  6. Study abroad: This year, make plans to study abroad to learn a new language, test yourself, and make new friends.
  7. Set short-term goals: For constant motivation, set short-term goals for the month, week or day for finishing homework, saving up, or looking for an internship.
  8. Stay in better touch with your parents: Call your parents more often, or at the very least, send them an email every couple of days to update them on your mood, classes and social life.
  9. Take advantage of free resources: Your tuition and boarding covers lots of freebies you won’t get after you graduate, like the pool, rec center and gym.
  10. Use your social media accounts more efficiently: If you’re going to spend half the night on Facebook or Twitter, at least spend some time to network with worthwhile contacts.
  11. Follow the news: It’s easy to get lost in your own bubble of homework, campus gossip and partying, so read the news every once in a while to supplement your formal education.
  12. Explore the city: Whether you live in a major city or a college town, it’s easy to stick too close to campus. Explore the city’s museums, lesser known districts and restaurants for a more fulfilling experience and a break from college life.
  13. Evaluate your goals and your grades mid-semester: Figure out which resolutions you’ve kept up and which you need to focus on again.