20 Free Online Resources and Software Every Students Should Know

Online educational courses

Online educational resources for students are becoming increasingly valuable in the 21st century. Without question, traditional classroom education helps students learn and master everything – from basics to advanced. However, short attention span and mental fatigue are important concerns that traditional classroom education fails to address. A few of them may get bored in 20 minutes. Others may get zoned out in 45 minutes.

This brings me to the question -Is it possible for students to pause on a tutor? No

Online educational courses give students the flexibility of pausing and rewinding on video content. Massive Open Online Courses, online academies & software have sprung up as the most logical evolutionary entities that can help students focus on self-driven instructions, customized content and resource management.

In this post, I shall give a brief rundown of 20 free educational resources for students.

Read on.

#1: Wolfram Alpha

This is a huge computational search engine. Students, researchers & entrepreneurs fondly refer it to as the ultimate answer engine.

For all purposes, its user-interface resembles that of popular search engines. Whenever a patron types a question, instead of listing websites, Wolfram Alpha features answers. All the results are dynamically computed.

This mega knowledge engine lets its users to input mathematical equations, phrases & sentences. Right from linguistic analysis and curated data to computed presentations, this online educational resource provides important insights into categories, queries & topics

#2: Desmos

This is a web and mobile application, written in JavaScript by Eli Luberoff. For your information, Eli Luberoff majored not only in Math but also in Physics.

Desmos is an amazing and powerful graphing calculator that lets you create tables, plot simple and complex functions, real word pictures and shapes, add sliders and animated plots.

If you are keen on exploring the amazing world of Math, Desmos is definitely for you.

#3: Udacity

Perhaps no other online marketplace is as famous as Udacity. Udacity has more than 1.6 million users.

If you want a nanodegree in professional web development, programming or AI, Udacity is your best bet. This educational marketplace has been helping students with its industry-relevant courses and nanodegrees. The immersive learning experience is guaranteed.

In a nutshell, Udacity is for all those who want to get job ready!

#4: Openstax

This ed-tech and knowledge sharing organization were started in 2012. This online resource pool houses many valuable openly licensed textbooks.

A vast majority of books are available for free in digital formats. Print versions are available at affordable rates.

#5: fxSolver

If you are in love with Wolfram Alpha, chances are that you will fall in love with fxSolver as well. fxSolver is a mathematical tool developed by a learned-mathematicians and experienced programmers.

This software lets you solve engineering and scientific equations. Not only can you add formulae and modify equations, but also plot functions. Math lovers will surely have a love affair with its vast library of equations.

#6: Khan Academy

Khan Academy is funded by the famous Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Right from producing short YouTube videos to supplementary practice exercises. Khan Academy has a diverse catalog of lessons on an array of subjects such as classical music, cryptography, SAT coaching, differential equations, linear algebra, etc.

It’s noteworthy to mention that Google is doing its best to translate Khan Academy’s lessons into the world’s major languages.

#7: HyperPhysics

Do you love physics as much as Sheldon Lee Cooper and Elon Musk do?

HyperPhysics is hosted by Georgia State University. Various education facilitators use this online web portal to access informative content on organized topics such as Light, Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Nuclear physics, relativity, electricity, magnetism, astrophysics, etc.

#8:  Cymath

This is a math-centric software that provides step-by-step insights into algebra, graphing and calculus problems.

This math engine is capable of capturing problems by using a camera. Users can distance themselves from the hassles of typing lengthy questions.

#9: Mattermost

This is a self-hostable chat service that resembles Slack in many ways. Companies can use this open-source tool for faster team collaboration, group chats and one-to-one messaging.

There’s an impressive feature called threaded chatting. Threaded chatting lets users to comment directly on chat statements made by another user.

Its administration panel is robust. Right from controlling basic things such as team membership to effectively handling complex things such as email notifications, this tool has got great logging capabilities.

Anyone can download this open-source tool and get access to its source code. Users can play with the source code, tweak it and customize the software as per their discretion.

#10: Symbolab

Symbolab is a famous math answer engine launched in 2011.

Thanks to its Derivative calculator, you can easily find the first, second, third and higher order derivatives of simple and complex functions. The applications of its Integral calculator are limitless.

And yes, it has a Graphing calculator that can help you examine graph functions and intersections. This answer engine also solves problems in Algebra, Matrices & Vectors, Trigonometry, Calculus, Geometry & Statistics.

#11: Autodesk Education Community

Looking for free 3D design and engineering software?

Autodesk Education Community provides free software such as Autocad, Inventor, Maya, etc. Students, education facilitators & institutions can access Autodesk software and other resources for professional use and excel in their professional pursuits

#12: Engineer’s Toolbox

This website contains loads of tools and basic information that help you design and construct technical applications. This knowledge engine contains has an inbuilt search engine that lets users explore Engineer’s Toolbox.

Before creating an account, read all its terms and conditions. Every piece of information is copyrighted. However, you can use its content with no warranty and liability.

#13: LaTeX

This is a document preparation and mathematics presentation software. More often than not, this software is used for high-quality typesetting of technical and scientific journals, books and slide presentations.

The best thing about this software is that it facilitates multi-lingual type-setting. In addition, generation of indexes and bibliographies is enabled automatically.

#14: Paul’s Math Online Notes

It just doesn’t matter if you are a professor or a student. Paul’s Math Online Notes contains simple and straightforward examples on many topics. You can learn infinitely from this free online resource and become an expert.

Let me share my personal experience. When I was majoring in physics, I had a tough time understanding the nuances of Differential Calculus, Linear Algebra & Ordinary Differential Equations.

When I first gave my exam, I got a C- in Math. Things could have gone from bad to worse. However, Paul’s Math Online Notes helped score A- the second time. Need I say more?

#15: Patrick JMT

Patrick is the author of the famous book – Calculus for Dummies. I fell in love with that book during my graduation days.

Patrick has been tutoring university and college level students for the past 15 years.

His online portal – Patrick Just Math Tutorials contains videos on various topics such as Algebra, Arithmetic, Calculus, Differential Equations, Discrete Math, Linear Algebra, Trigonometry, Probability & Statistics, etc.

It’s easy to get A+ if you focus on his video tutorials. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and practice to master the nuances of Math.

#16: Libgen.io

Scientific articles, magazines & standards are usually expensive. They are behind a paywall. Libgen.io lets you access digital copies of expensive textbooks without paying an arm and a leg.

This portal has several mirrors. Just hop on to the latest mirror site.

#17: Excel Exposure

Have a desire to learn about the features and functionality of Microsoft Excel 2010?

You will enjoy the practicality and information of video lessons and tutorials provided on Excel Exposure.

This site also contains detailed tutorials on Financial Modeling and techniques for budgeting. You can master VBA too.

#18: Leah4Sci

Without cheat sheets and reference notes, organic chemistry may seem a bit overwhelming.

Leah4Sci contains video tutorials on Alkene reactions, organic chemistry basics, resonance structures, reactions, etc.

This site is the brainchild of Leah. Leah is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. She has a dual degree in Chemistry and Biology.

#19: Mathematica

You can downloads and access Mathematica software for free. You just need to sign-up with your university e-mail. By the way, Wolfram Alpha uses the Mathematica interface to solve math problems.

#20: Purdue OWL: Purdue Writing Lab

This site assists students in writing essays and papers in various styles such as APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), etc. There’s loads of instructive material. Trainers and teachers will love this site for its literacy content such as handouts and slide presentations.


Other free educational resources for students:

Resource / Software Description
Digi Key Electronics and Circuits
Overleaf LaTeX file editing and templates
Arduino Contains open source hardware and software that let you control various devices
Norelem Jigs and Fixtures
McMaster-Carr Machine Learning and hardware


It’s important for organizations, universities, educational institutions and higher authorities of official learning to embrace digital reality. The future is incomplete without e-learning resources. E-learning communities are likely to use technological advancements such as VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) to take student engagement to the best possible level.

Enhance your knowledge by taking the best advantage of the aforementioned online resources and software. Cheers!


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