New Year, Improved Mind with Online Resources
Happy New Year! Are you one of the many that has made a New Year’s Resolution? A popular goal many people choose to do is to learn something new. If you are interested in picking up new skills or crafts, we have many online resources to help you succeed! To make them easy to find, we have grouped most of them together on our Learning Resources webpage. Here, you can choose among resources that will provide full online, self-paced courses (with certificates upon completion) and ebooks, audiobooks, and videos.
Let’s start with the resources that provide full courses and tutorials:
Learning Express Library provides unlimited access to a wide variety of tutorials and practice tests for elementary school students through adult learners. It is divided into centers. When you login, you will be taken to your “My Center” page. Here it will keep track of what tutorials you are working on, along with ebooks you have chosen to download. There is no time limit on completing tutorials, and ebooks download for an unlimited time period as well! To locate the tutorials, ebooks, and practice tests, here are recommended centers for all adult English and Spanish speaking learners out there:
These centers will help you work on math, reading, grammar, speaking and vocabulary skills. Plus, they include a U.S. Citizenship tutorial and practice test. The Computer Skills center covers beginner computer and internet tutorials through advanced tutorials for Excel, Word, and other Microsoft software.
Did you know that Lynda.com began as an arts and crafts creative learning resource? While it is widely known today for its business and computer/technology video courses, it also still includes a variety of creative video courses. There are art courses, such as Learning Calligraphy, or choose an art topic, such as Photography Training and Tutorials, plus various music lessons, such as Ukelele Lessons: Fundamentals and Singing Lessons: 1 Fundamentals. Of course, as already mentioned, Lynda.com also includes lots of computer and technology courses, from beginner to advanced, and general computer knowledge to specific software and coding. You can locate courses by keyword searching and limiting results with filters, which is how I located these two basic computer courses:
Or you can choose a topic from the Library menu or, if you click on “Library,” you will see the “All Subjects” list and can click on one. I picked Computer Skills (Windows) from the All Subjects list and found Working with Computers and Devices and Online Searching Tips and Tricks. Lynda Bi-Fold Brochure provides instructions on how to find and use the courses in Lynda.com.
Universal Class has 500 courses to choose from on a wide variety of subjects. You can actively work on 5 courses at the same time, and you will have up to 6 months to complete a course. All the courses in Universal Class are fully accredited by an international continuing education association, so each course is listed with its C.E.U.s (Continuing Education Units). As with Lynda.com, you can browse the catalog of courses or do a keyword search to locate a specific course. One of the main differences from Lynda.com is that Universal Class courses involve reading lessons, submitting assignments for grading, and passing tests, along with viewing videos. If you successfully complete and pass all your assignments and tests, then you earn a certificate for that course. Another difference from Lynda.com is that there is no subject limitations on the topics that Universal Class provides courses. Check out the catalog screen:
You can take a course in Aromatherapy 101, Bread Baking 101, Excel 2019, Introduction to Music Appreciation, Screenwriting 101, Typing & Keyboarding 101, Spanish Culture 101, Watercolor Painting 101, and Yoga 101. Universal Class Trifold brochure is a printable brochure.
While the first three resources have multiple subject courses to choose from, if you are mainly interested in learning a new language – or refreshing your skills in that high school language course you took years ago, you should definitely look at Mango Languages and Transparent Language Online. Both resources offer full courses to learn a language. Mango Languages has over 70 language courses and Transparent Language Online has over 100 language courses. They also include specialized language courses. For example, Mango’s Spanish, Latin American course includes specialty units on Business, Legal, Medical, and Text Talk. And Transparent Language Online’s Spanish, Latin American includes Business Vocabulary and Medical Vocabulary. What is unique to Transparent Language Online is that every English language course has a U.S. Citizenship course as well. A final note, both of these language resources have a free app for smartphones and tablets:
Moving on from the full online course resources, you can locate lots of educational material in our Digital Resources.
Hoopla is the library’s streaming digital resource, providing free access to audiobooks, ebooks, music, moves and television series to library cardholders. And you can use these on smartphones, tablets, and computers. Last week, I showed the many choices in Hoopla for improving your body, well Hoopla also has lots of choices to help improve your mind!
- Great Courses – provides 38 college-level audio courses to choose.
- Learn Something New – has over 70 titles to choose from on a variety of subjects.
- Nonfiction – There are over 8,000 nonfiction audiobooks to listen to here!
- Language Learning – 9 audio language titles to check out.
- Pimsleur Language Learning – 61 audio language courses to learn.
Ebooks – There are lots of nonfiction, educational ebook subjects to choose from. Here are some of the more popular areas of interest for many people:
- Computers – There are over 1,400 titles to choose from, such as Computer Science for Rookies, but you can narrow it down through the subcategories:
- Cooking – If you are interested in learning new cooking styles and recipes, Hoopla has over 7,700 cookbooks to choose from, including 47 Instant Pot cookbooks (great for those who just received one over the holidays and need recipes now.) You can also use the many subcategories to help reduce your results:
- Crafts & Hobbies – are often a popular choice to pick up in a new year. Here you will find over 3,400 titles to pick, with lots of subcategories to help you find exactly what you want:
- Education – This is a huge topic area with 10,400 titles to choose from. You can narrow your interests by choosing from the various subcategories:
- Foreign Language Study – Here you will find over 1,300 titles to learn all sorts of languages – French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and many others – which can again be filtered down using subcategories:
- Language Arts & Disciplines – This has over 2,600 titles to choose from and among the categories you can narrow your results to is Sign Language:
- Self-Help – Another huge area of interest, you will find over 13,900 titles covering all sorts of needs and issues to browse through here, along with many subcategories to filter down to more specific self-help topics:
- Technology & Engineering – has over 2,300 titles to choose from, with many subcategories to help narrow your search:
Movies – Another area where there are many nonfiction topics to choose to learn about. Here are some popular choices to check out:
- American Sign Language – Find 25 ASL learning videos here.
- Educational – This category has over 300 educational movies, many for children, but there are ones for adults as well, such as An Introductory Guide to Wine. Plus, you can narrow the results by subcategory:
- How To – has over 85 titles from American Sign Language through Basic Food Preparation and Classic Hollywood Makeup Techniques.
Television – The final area of Hoopla with many nonfiction topics which I have narrowed down to a few popular choices for those looking to learn new skills and knowledge.
- Educational – has 47 TV series to browse, many for children, but there are some for adults, such as: Algebra 1 Tutor and Wow, I Never Knew That!
- Food & Cooking – There are over 70 TV series to browse here. Of especial interest educationally would be Food-Delicious Science, The Great British Baking Show Masterclass, and Lazy Chef.
- How To – You will find 15 TV series here, with 8 seasons of the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross available.
Another educational digital resource would be our OverDrive catalog of eBooks and Audiobooks. There are lots of nonfiction, educational subjects to browse through. Some top picks for those interested in learning something new would be:
- Art – Find over 100 titles here, including Anatomy Made Simple for Artists.
- Computer Technology – With over 370 titles, you will surely find a computer-related technology new to you here! A popular one to learn for many recently has been Zoom for Dummies.
- Crafts – Over 140 titles to choose from!
- Foreign Language Study – has over 70 titles to browse through. You will also see in the Subjects listing that you can specify Foreign Language Study for: Chinese, French, German, Italina, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.
- Mathematics – has 19 titles to choose, including Algebra 1 for Dummies.
- Self-Help – You will find over 100 titles to browse through here, covering all sorts of personal issues.
- Self-Improvement – Over 1,300 titles to look through to find what area of your life you would like to improve.
- Technology – has over 100 titles covering a wide variety of topics, such as Beekeeping for Dummies and Who Ate the First Oyster: The Extraordinary People Behind the Greatest Firsts in History.
Of course, along with ebooks and audiobooks, you can always choose to learn through reading the digital magazines available in Flipster
Art has 2 magazines:
- Architectural Digest
- Digital Photographer
Hobbies, Interests and DIY has 18 titles to enjoy:
- American Craft
- Bead & Button
- Better Homes & Gardens
- Birds & Blooms
- Country Woman
- Crochet World
- Do It Yourself
- The Family Handyman
- Gun Digest
- HGTV Magazine
- Model Railroader
- A Needle Pulling Thread
- Outdoor Photographer
- Runner’s World
- This Old House
- Wood Magazine
- Writer’s Digest
Science & Technology includes 6 magazines:
- Maximum PC
- National Geographic
- Popular Mechanics
- Popular Science
A final resource for those interested in learning a new craft or hobby is the Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center.
You can browse by your craft or hobby interest, or you can do a keyword search. This resource takes a very broad view of hobbies and crafts. Thus when you search backpacking, it will pull up articles evaluating the equipment backpackers need along with how to backpack and places to go. The Feature Video on the homepage changes once a month. Note the “Browse Popular Sources” area – these are full books, completely digitized and available for you to enjoy!
I hope you will find something of interest to you in this blog of digital resources which will help you on your goal to improving your mind in this new year.
Happy New Year!