As a data science major with an unpredictable chronic illness, I love using online homework help in college and remote tutors to help with assignments and figuring out concepts that my professors didn’t explain very well. Since my illness can cause me to miss classes and office hours, it’s helpful to have remote and asynchronous tools that I can access any time of the day or night when I am working on my assignments. Here are my favorite resources for using online homework help in college as a student with a disability.
Use online tutoring services
One of the main resources that helped me with my physics and statistics classes is Brainfuse, a free online tutoring service from the public library. While Brainfuse is not 24/7, I can access it when I need to get help on my homework or check some formulas before I import them into a Python program. I like this better than traditional in-person tutoring because I don’t have to leave my dorm room and I can easily use any assistive technology I need to access my assignments. In addition, I’ve had classes where the professor did not allow students to have tutors that had connections to the college, so we would have to seek outside help.
- Brainfuse Online Tutoring Review
- College Scheduling Hacks For Students With Chronic Illness
- Choosing A Tutor For Low Vision Students
Read digital resources from my college library
I only checked out a physical copy of a book one time in college, but I read digital resources from my college library all the time using large print and other assistive technology tools. College libraries have a ton of amazing study resources, including copies of textbooks, databases, academic journals, videos, and so much more. Some libraries also have access to video content, such as the Kanopy film library.
- College Libraries and Low Vision
- My Favorite Digital Library Resources For Low Vision
- How I Read Research Sources With Assistive Technology
- Watching Free Documentaries With Kanopy
Look up cheat sheets or crash courses for a particular topic
When I took my first R programming class, I was often very frustrated with trying to remember all of the different shortcuts and nuances of the language. One of the tools that helped me a lot was cheat sheets and crash courses for different libraries and other parts of the R language, as well as other programming languages covered in my classes. A lot of cheat sheets are saved as PDFs or as images, so users may need to use OCR tools to read information if it is not in an accessible format.
When I took World History, I watched a lot of the Crash Course videos from John Green because he has a very engaging way of explaining different topics. One of my best friends who was at another college and also taking a similar history class would watch them with me, and it was a lot of fun!
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Find papers my professors wrote
I’m fortunate to have lots of professors in college who have contributed interesting things to their respective fields, but there have definitely been times I wondered what they were talking about as they explained a particular topic. One of my friends and I had the idea to search our professor’s name and the topic name online, and we found a detailed paper they had written about the exact topic we were confused about. Another technique that helped was looking at papers from others that cited our professor’s paper, since they were often able to explain the topic in a slightly simpler way.
Run a web search for “site:edu”
Instead of wasting my time by scrolling through random websites that might not have accurate information, I like to run a search from websites with .edu as the domain, since those are run by educational institutions and often are compliant with web accessibility guidelines. This is especially beneficial when studying for a test, as professors from other universities post practice tests, or I can find old tests from my university that have been officially released by professors.
- How I Use Quizlet With Low Vision
- The Best Study Tips For Low Vision Students
- How Amazon Alexa Can Help You Study For Exams
Search through common hashtags or topics for my field on social media
I am a huge fan of using Twitter and Pinterest to find educational resources, and have found that searching hashtags for topics or programming languages has helped me find lots of amateur and professional tutorials and resources in small, easy to understand posts. This is also how I have found many “cheat sheets” and learned not to detest the R programming language. I’ve also found links to apps that I can use to get help with programming, my favorite being SoloLearn.
It’s worth noting that I share and read information from accounts I trust, such as professors from another university, employees at a tech company, or people I have worked with in the past.
- SoloLearn and Low Vision
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- How To Make Your Instagram Feed Accessible For Visual Impairment
Read the textbook with Amazon Alexa
Reading a textbook can be exhausting and cause my eyes to start going out of focus. Since I purchase my textbooks on Amazon Kindle, many of my textbooks can be read out loud with my Amazon Alexa so that I can be more relaxed and listen to the topic at hand. I don’t recommend doing this in bed though, as I discovered my Java textbook could put me to sleep!
- How Amazon Alexa Can Help You Read
- How To Request Accessible Textbooks In College
- How Amazon Alexa Can Help You Sleep
Other resources for using online homework help in college
- Looking for math help? Read My Favorite Free Math Websites For Low Vision
- Some tutoring tools require users to have a virtual whiteboard for working out problems. Here is How I Use Microsoft Whiteboard With Low Vision
- Outside of Brainfuse, some libraries offer other virtual tutoring services for languages and other topics of interest
- TakeLessons from Microsoft offers free tutoring and homework help for various topics in K-12, college, and professional learning