If you ever wanted a vast unimaginably large source of information, then the internet is the place to find it, and with the advancement of technology, it is readily available for free in most parts of the world. But, it has its dangers, a lot of information on the web is not peer reviewed or creditable to any degree, that is why it is important to know where to look. Sites such as Wikipedia have gained notoriety as being large databases of dribble written by completely incompetent idiots, but this is just not true. Sure any man and his dog can edit a wiki page, but that page and any editing is checked by people who know exactly what is dribble and what is a golden rainbow sprouting from the depths of the greatest minds in history. In fact a paper I took at University did not have a text book at all as all the information for it was easily found on the web and better displayed than could be achieved in hardcover form.
For a majority of my learning for Biology I will be using the Internet. Who can blame me, I can sit in the comfort of my own home and access the largest source of information known to mankind, and do it all for a meager monthly fee.
Here is a list of good websites that I already know of that will assist in self-learning (not in any order of best to worst, just in order of my own memory):
Wikipedia: an obvious choice, has thousands upon thousands of articles on a huge array of topics, not to mention available in almost all known languages. A link to a wiki page about Wikipedia is available here
Khan Academy: Another great place to learn. I particulary like this site as instead of reading, you can watch and listen all for free. (a little controversy if this is considered self learning as Salman Khan is teaching you how to do things, but it still has to be self directed to learn about what he is trying to teach and the videos are extremely effective). A link to the Khan Academy site can be found here
Another great way to learn is to search for things individually, here’s a link to a wikiHow page about how to study for biology.
Other websites like wikiHow include instructables, eHow, howstuffworks, and howcast.
There is another extremely useful resource that I have not listed above. Podcasts, are audio and video files that can be downloaded from a website or iTunes. They are especially good as most of them are free and if you miss a point or need to listen to it again, it’s easy as you can just rewind the audio file. A lot of universities offer free open courses that use podcasts as a major way to lecture the students. Usually these podcasts are just recordings of an actual lecture. I am current listening to ‘Introductory Biology’ as I am writing this, a series of podcasts from MIT (A total of 36 lectures). A favorite and inspiring podcast is on the future of biology, the lecturer discusses interesting projects and poses questions that should get everyone’s mind flowing.
Here is a link to a article on 12 dozen self-learning websites that cover almost every subject you could think of. The link is here
And if you ever get stuck and really cant find something, remember, there is always Google
“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”
— Peter Steiner