Updated: 37 free higher ed resources during coronavirus pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, solution providers are offering colleges and universities resources, services and teaching materials at no charge
By: | March 27, 2020
Higher education solution providers are releasing free college management software and free online training software to promote online learning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Other free higher education solutions include various faculty resources, such as free college courses.Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

As more colleges and universities continue to be affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, higher education solution providers have stepped up by rolling out free college management software and other resources for administrators along with various faculty resources, such as free college courses and tutoring services. Here are 37 higher education solutions for college and university leaders to consider.

Editor’s note: Updated March 27

Curriculum and instruction

1. Top Hat (new)

Now free for the rest of the semester, Top Hat’s active learning platform features tools that support synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (recorded or self-paced) learning. It also secures proctored tests and exams in a remote setting. A support team of instructional designers are available to help schools move their courses online quickly and effectively.

2. Babbel language app

Until mid-June, Language learning app Babbel is offering college students free three-month access to its app. To receive free three-month access, students can apply via using their valid school email addresses. The app offers 14 languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian, and English.

3. Intelligent Education

Higher ed professors can build online courses using this free multimedia courseware site with only a smartphone and a well-lit, quiet room. Various visual aids from notes to images and videos can be added to lectures. Each account includes Google Cloud storage for videos. View Intelligent Education’s completed courses or start building courses for free.

4. Martini plug-in license

PowerProduction Software is providing the Martini video editor plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Magix VEGAS Pro as a perpetual license that never expires. Martini’s interface guides editors through the quick creation of composite shots from style section to the implementation of characters, photos and props. Download the Martini license.

5. National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center launched a free eight-week series of daily live interactive courses on the Constitution. These daily interactive sessions are offered at 1 p.m. for college students and allow students to sign up for remote learning via Zoom. View more details here. The 1 p.m. courses on Wednesday, Thursday, and Fridays will be available at constitutioncenter.org/live.

6. Cengage Unlimited

For the remainder of the spring semester, schools now have free access to all Gale digital platforms and ebooks through Cengage Unlimited. Gale will also offer webinars and free peer-to-peer advice on how to deliver these online courses. More information is available at cengage.com/covid-19-support.

7. Oh app

An online mobile peer tutoring network is now available for students who are out of part-time jobs to earn money tutoring other students. Office Hours also  connects students who are seeking help to other students who have taken identical or similar courses.

8. Lumen Learning

Follett partner Lumen Learning is offering free courseware for classes transitioning to online delivery this spring and full support throughout the transition. Lumen’s courseware of more than 50 general education subjects helps remove barriers for at-risk students in digital environments. Learn more.

9. BibliU

BibliU will start offering free digital textbooks for the next two months. Creating a free online account will provide access to the BibliU app, textbooks and Google-like search functions. Read the blog for more information.

10. Mennta Energy courses

Mennta Energy Solutions will donate at least $100,000 worth of online training to universities and secondary schools that are switching to online learning. The library features ore than 100 interactive energy- and trading-focused courses. Browse the complete library or contact Andrew Infante for access.

11. Canva for Education

Students can create presentations, infographics, websites, reports, worksheets, posters, flyers and signage for free using Canva for Education. The platform includes over 60,000 templates that can be filled with more than 2 million images and over 700 fonts. Canva for Education can be integrated with Google Classroom.

12. EduBirdie

Schools that have assigned essays about the coronavirus can have students use the EduBirdie platform for free. EduBirdie checks submitted academic writing for grammar and punctuation errors.

13. TutorOcean

Higher education institutions can sign up for this free tutoring platform in less than 24 hours. The platform provides online face-to-face interactions between tutors and students. Administrators can oversee the entire process.

14. Sidecar Learning

Up to May 31, colleges and universities can receive free licenses to use this e-learning tool that teaches students how to research, navigate difficult websites and evaluate information using live web content.

15. Gradescope Complete

Higher ed institutions have free access to new Gradescope Complete courses created by Turnitin through June 30. Gradescope enables instructors to grade paper-based exams, online homework, and programming projects on one platform, with help from artificial intelligence. Turnitin has also upgraded all existing 2020 courses. Read this blog for more information.

16. Mango Classroom app

This app teaches 70 world languages and cultures on mobile and desktop platforms with features that support offline learning. Users have full accessibility to online student and faculty resources that include staff and student video tutorials and webinars. Administrator features include progress and usage tracking, and automatically graded assessments. To apply for free access through the end of the 2019-20 school year, please visit mangolanguages.com/covid19-response.

Communications and security

17. signNow Enterprise (new)

signNow is offering its free Enterprise subscription that features a e-signature tool and fillable fields functionality for registrar offices and administrative functions, enrollment forms and applications, research grant applications, campus policy forms, alumni membership forms, and test, exams and student surveys. Fill out a short form to get set up.

18. Kivuto, Adobe and IBM (new)

Kivuto is offering Kivuto Cloud at no cost to help support initiatives from Adobe and IBM. Adobe is giving free remote access to Adobe Creative Cloud to colleges that currently only have lab access for students while IBM is amending current SPSS Statistics Campus agreements for home use of SPSS Statistics at no additional cost. Learn more.

19. TechSolutions tech support (new)

For 30 days, Support.com’s TechSolutions tech support subscription will be free to help institutions with computer setup, to troubleshoot video conference calls and to ensure that students, professors and colleagues can connect. Create or sign in to an account.

20. Avenica Pathways (new)

Beginning in early April, career service offices and graduating college seniors will have free access to this career development program. Career services offices can use the program to provide access to all remote services. Meanwhile, students will have to access skills and career readiness assessments, one-on-one time with career consultants, online learning and upskilling tools. Learn more.

21. Virtual career fair programs (new)

Turazo has launched free virtual career fair programs via 1-on-1 video coaching sessions for college women that begin on April 1. College students can find coaches based on their expertise and schedule their sessions online. Get started.

22. Microsoft Teams

For six months, Microsoft Teams will be free for higher education staff, faculty and students to chat, meet online, collaborate in real-time on documents and integrate the platform with education apps. Participate in free webinars to learn how to use this platform and browse the Scenario Library see how other colleges are using Teams. IT set-up guidance and adoption resources are also available.

23. Edge Foundation coaching

Free and reduced-price sliding scale fees for individual coaching is available for students who are at home. Edge Foundation specializes in coaching struggling students and non-traditional learners with executive function challenges, from trauma to ADHD. Edge Foundation coaches work virtually with individuals using online tools such as Zoom, Skype and Facetime. Find a coach.

24. Otter.ai

Up to 10 staff and faculty members per higher ed institution can sign up for two free months of Otter for Teams by May 1. Otter uses AI to generate searchable notes for business meetings, presentations and distance learning. The Otter app works on the web and mobile devices, and can be used with video collaboration systems, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and Google Hangouts. Sign up for two free months of Otter for Teams.

25. AT&T data and Asavie AccessMyLAN

Through May 22nd, qualified schools activating new lines on qualified data-only plans for school-issued tablets, 4G LTE-enabled laptops and hotspot devices will get AT&T’s wireless data service at no cost for 60 days. AT&T is also making the Asavie-powered AccessMyLAN for the qualified lines available at no cost for 60 days. This service allows school administrators to manage the internet sites their students can access to help protect them from unsafe content and also to block malicious sites, malware and hacking attempts.

26. CT Cloud Meeting and Cisco Webex Meetings

Upon request, CallTower can deploy CT Cloud Meeting powered by Zoom for free as well as free Cisco Webex Meetings in less than 24-hours through June 30. Access the Free Video Conferencing Center to get started. CallTower previously announced 90-days free Microsoft Teams Direct Routing.

27. EdSights chatbot

Over the next three months, higher ed institutions will have free access to the EdSights text-messaging chatbot, which sends and receives information about COVID-19. The bot can update students on university changes, create surveys to help track who is struggling and needs resources immediately, provides CDC and WHO information and utilize scripts that promote health and wellness.

28. Accudemia

Accounts to use this free college management software are available through the rest of the academic semester. Accudemia, a cloud-based solution, allows center staff and students to arrange appointments and meet virtually. Administrators can track these meetings. College and university staff members are invited to sign up for a complimentary account of Accudemia at https://www.engineerica.com/s/accudemia-complimentary.

29. LogMeIn kits

Colleges and universities can receive free, campuswide use of LogMeIn products for three months through the availability of Emergency Remote Work Kits. These kits winclude solutions for meetings and video conferencing; webinars and virtual events; IT support and management of remote employee devices and apps; as well as remote access to devices in multiple locations. Read this blog for more information.

30. CirQlive

For 90 days, schools can gain free access to this integration tool, which plugs the interactivity hole between LMS and web conferencing platforms, and receive free consulting services on how to deploy or scale online learning. Administrators only have to provide how many host licenses are required.

31. Free 60-day internet service

Hargray will offer free internet service for 60 days to families with college students in its service area who do not already have a Hargray Internet subscription. Hargray will also offer discounted internet speed upgrades to existing customers. Current customers interested in increasing their internet speeds can call 877-427-4729. To enroll for free 60-day internet service, please visit www.hargray.com/freeinternet.

Resources

32. COVID-19 Course (new)

This free course weaves together the scientific, social, and economic perspectives of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information presented in this course is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical or public health advice, or other advice for any particular issue or subject.

33. Higher Ed Remote Learning Pulse

This free resource identifies areas for continual improvement in distance learning. It determines how prepared faculty and students are to participate in remote learning, identifies  blockers to learning remotely, provides key areas of investment needed for successful online learning, and allows administrators to act in real-time to keep students learning and faculty training. Set up a free account and follow the short, guided process to configure the solution to match your organization’s needs.

34. FAQ white paper

A new white paper from the Future of Privacy Forum offers guidance to help higher ed administrators and educators protect student privacy. The white paper addresses a number of frequently asked questions, including what information a school can share with its community if a school suspects that a student has COVID-19. To read the white paper, click here.

35. McGraw-Hill platforms and AccessMedicine

Free access, training and support for McGraw-Hill Connect and ALEKS digital learning platforms is available to college instructors and students through Spring 2020. Learn more. McGraw-Hill’s professional division has also launched AccessMedicine COVID-19 Central on its AccessMedicine Network. This online resource provides a substantial repository of free, reliable medical information about the global COVID pandemic.

36. COVID-19 guide

Hands-On Labs has published a guide specifically for COVID-19 preparedness including links to coronavirus primary-source information, applicable webinars and advice for campuses implementing online learning in the sciences.

37. Modo Campus tool

Modo Campus, a no-code platform for building a mobile presence, is creating a tool to support universities during the COVID-19 crisis and will hold training webinars in the coming weeks. Several university contacts are available for comments and questions.


Interested in technology? Keep up with the UB Tech® conference.