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Students: Need Help with Science Class?

Any college science class will be challenging regardless of your skill and knowledge level.  Even the smartest students are obviously going to have questions. Just in case your instructor cannot answer all of them in lectures and office hours, and if you cannot afford a private tutor, there are plenty of sources online that can help you wrap your head around these concepts.  

A study in the journal entitled Computers & Education in April 2016 looked at what possible influence a YouTube channel for a specific marketing course could have on cross-curricular competencies. The researchers concluded that:

“The use of YouTube as a teaching vehicle has a positive impact on students’ learning outcomes and satisfaction.”

As good as that sounds, there is reason to be cautious. A publication in Anatomical Sciences Education in April 2013 reviewed a total of 55,525 videos by analyzing the quality and overall detail of the data presented in the content. Of which, Only 294 of them made the cut for further analysis. The results indicated that there was an overall poorly conveyed anatomical criteria, and the general quality of the videos were deemed “borderline.” The researchers encouraged anatomists and educational institutes to prepare and endorse good quality material, as well as for students to be selective when using public video databases to aid in learning.

So what are some of the trustworthy sources on the internet to aid learning? There are quite a few of them out there. I’ll share some of the main ones who are credible and have helped me personally.

Brothers, Hank and John Green, created Crash Course in 2006; which is a YouTube channel now boasting more than five million subscribers and more than 520 million total views. A quick glance at the playlists reveals entire courses in core topics such as Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Anatomy & Physiology, Astronomy, Intellectual Property, Physics, and many others. They have developed partnerships with organizations such as PBS Digital Studios and Khan Academy; and they have plenty of sister channels such as Scishow, Scishow Space, Healthcare Triage, and sexplanations which touch on specific educational topics as well.

AsapSCIENCE is a website and YouTube channel that prides itself on giving you a “weekly dose” of science education. Topics vary from dieting to the science behind motivation to filtering through the political noise and discussing what actually happens during the abortion process. The creators of the channel, Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown, even published a book entitled AsapSCIENCE: Answers to the Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors, and Unexplained Phenomena. Bill Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society and author of Undeniable, said in this review of the book that:

“Science is big fun. The ASAP guys get that, and they’ll show you—they’ll even draw you a diagram.”

Aron Ra is an author, science educator, Texas State Senate candidate for 2020, public speaker, host of the Ra-men podcast, and blogger among many other things. However, he is best known for his YouTube channel. The topics he is most notably passionate about are science education and debunking pseudoscience. Aron produces high quality videos about biology for both high school and college level about topics such as heredity patterns and abiogenesis, as well as plenty explaining and debunking the many misconceptions about evolution. He also has a special Phylogeny Explorer Project currently in the development stages.

Bozeman Science was created by Paul Anderson, science educator with a Masters of Science in Science Education, has been teaching the subject for more than twenty years. He has produced multiple videos about various topics such as Biology, Statistics, Physics, and Environmental science. Anderson won the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year award and was one of the finalists for the 2011 National Teacher of the Year.

There are tons of more content creators on the internet when it comes to science education and breaking down specific subjects. However, these are among the best you will find for science education. These sources could possibly be of use to students currently enrolled in science classes.  They certainly have been for me. 

Joshua D. Speer

I'm an undergraduate student living in Denver, CO. I am currently working on my prerequisites at Front Range Community College--where I'm a staff writer for the Front Page (campus newspaper) and chapter president of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). I intend to transfer into a four-year Bioengineering program, sub-specialty of Neuroengineering. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @JoshuaDSpeer.

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