Free Online Resources For Learning

The education landscape is changing quickly, and everyday there are better resources made available online to learn everything from underwater basket weaving to data science. Education technology is still in its nascent stages and companies and non-profits are still trying to pinpoint target markets and effective business models. While they do this many of their resources remain free.


These are the best places to learn for free online:

Khan Academy

Khan Academy has thousands of high quality videos on a wide variety of subjects. They try to make learning as easy and convenient as possible. Khan Academy aims to make education accessible by everyone, and their recent addition of SAT Prep is helping bridge the education gap.


College costs a lot of money. Many of us are still paying our college loans. Now, thanks to Coursera, many of these college classes are available online for free. Coursera brings together the best courses from some of the best universities, including Yale, Harvard and Johns Hopkins University.


Go to their website, type in the subject you want to study and there will likely be a class available on their aggregated collection of university courses.


Don’t underestimate YouTube as a resource for finding useful lessons. It can be a great complementary resource for a more traditional course to help you learn more specific topics. There are some great channels out there for every subject you want to learn.

iTunes U

This app is available on all Apple devices and includes half a million courses for a wide variety of subjects for all experience levels. There are also quite a lot of social features to facilitate learning with others.

99U and Ted Talks

These sites are honorable mention because there not courses but 99U and Ted have thousands of videos of talks by true thought leaders on specific subjects. Great for finding inspiration.


Interesting Data From MOOC Study


Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs have polarized educators. Many believe they are more efficient and are the future of education. Others, have been outspoken critics and point to the fact that very few students actually complete the courses they sign up for. MOOCs have been around for several years so we can start to see emerging trends for the polarizing classes.

As MOOCs become more popular, more classes are being offered and more data is available. Harvard recently released their findings from a study on intentions, completion rates and more.

Many of the users that are using the MOOCs are educators themselves. Over a third of the users are teachers. Many of them use the content to improve their ability to teach. However, it looks like they might just have an appreciation for learning because over three-fourths of the students that identified as educators were studying subjects they don’t teach.

The demographic of users of these platforms vary but a higher percentage of women and older individuals are registering for courses.

A lot of the talk surrounding MOOCs is whether they will complement or supplant traditional education. Though it is far too early to make any conclusions, they might do both. A look at the survey of students shows that nearly half of participants took classes without the desire to earn a certificate. No follow up has been done to see whether earning a certificate makes any discernible difference in students being able to achieve their goals.

Computer Science has higher participation than any other subject. No conclusions have been made as to what this means but one can imagine between students who are likely early adopters of new technology and the prospect of high-paying jobs this is not surprising.

Though MOOCs have yet to disrupt traditional education further improvements based on comprehensive studies like this will result in it having an important place in the education space.




A Solution to Buffalo Education


Elementary and high schools in Buffalo have been struggling to meet the city’s expectations. The number of students who graduate high school in four years hovers around 50%. Over three quarters of students are eligible for reduced lunch based on their family’s income. One solution that is being considered is public boarding schools and has been successful in other cities.

The philosophy behind this drastic solution is to keep troubled students from abject poverty by giving them more attention and keeping them away from issues at home. One of the biggest predictors of a student’s success in school is their environment at home.

Though this may seem like the perfect option for a number of students in the community it can be very expensive. The cost for one student can reach up to $25,000 a year. This is double the normal subsidy for charter school students by the state of New York, and the state would have to approve the solution.

For many of the students the environment would be much more positive and productive. Students would be provided three meals a day, clothes and even extra-curricular activities. Students at public boarding schools would return home for the weekend. This environment is meant to prepare these students for higher education, something the current school system has not been successful at doing.

The idea of public boarding schools is nothing new. Even as early as 1998, a public boarding school was opened in Washington D.C. to solve similar problems. It has been a resounding success with graduation rates that hover around 90%.

But there are a number of hurdles that these schools must go through to open their doors. Education is highly regulated, and in some states laws had to be written and passed to allow these institutions. That is without mentioning the cost. This will prove to be the biggest hurdle Buffalo will face in cash-strapped New York.



Top Universities In Canada

Right across the river from Buffalo, New York is Fort Erie, Canada. And though Canadian share a lot of similarities with their American counterparts, there are some distinct differences. Canadian universities offer competitive education programs at steep discounts compared to private or out of state universities in the U.S.


If you’re considering this option here is a list of some of the top universities in Canada:

University of Toronto

This university is best known for its contribution to important research. There contributions to stem cell research and insulin have been well documented. They are the most well-funded research university in Canada and is a member of the association of American Universities. In US News and World Report University of Toronto is ranked #14 in the world.

University of British Columbia

Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, this research university has a strong class of alumni with seven Nobel Prize winners and two alumni that went on to become Canadian prime ministers.

McGill University

Ranked 44th best university in the world, McGill University is second of two Canadian universities in the Association of American Universities. It is located in the French-speaking Montreal, Quebec but fluency in French is not required.

University of Montreal

Nearby McGill is University of Montreal which is a French school. It is also a public research university boasting the second most students of Canadian universities with over 55,000 students. It is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world.

University of Alberta

Located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada this university employs over 15,000 people in Alberta making it the fourth largest employer in the area. There best known for their English Language and Literature program.

McMaster University

McMaster is ranked 141st best university in the world by US News. The school is located in Ontario, Canada and its medical school is well known for its expertise in clinical medicine.



Top Colleges in Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, NY is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it sits on the border of Canada and the Niagara River which flows into the breathtaking Niagara Falls. Winters can be tough but the snow laden ground makes for a beautiful scene. If you are looking to move to this city, one of the big advantages is the education. Below are some of the best colleges in the area.

First, we must start with Tom Cannavo’s Alma Maters:


Canisius College

Named after St. Peter Canisius, Canisius College is a storied institution with a rich history. Started in 1870 by Jesuits from Germany, it is one of 28 colleges of its kind in The United States. The college stretches over a mile and is a NCAA Division I college. In 2015 U.S. News ranked the private college as one of the top universities for the price in the region.


State University of New York at Buffalo

In its first 116 years from 1846 to 1962, University at Buffalo (UB) was a private institution until being incorporated into New York’s SUNY system. UB is one of the largest schools by enrollment in the northeast United States and is the largest in the SUNY system. It also features the only law school. U.S. News ranked UB in the top 50 public universities in 2015 in the United States.


Buffalo State College

Often confused with State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo State college is a separate university but also part of the SUNY system so it can be confusing. The school went through seven iterations before deciding on its name. Buffalo State is ranked 17th out of 145 universities in New York by International Colleges and Universities.