People working within a budget will agree that “free” is preferred, particularly when searching for resources to help with online courses. While I’m an advocate for free options, for instance, those we can find for profession exploration, and with open academic journals, sometimes it’s challenging to locate precisely what we desire without having to pay some fee.
On two occasions, as a graduate student, I remember I had to face the music and make payment for online materials. The first purchase was a voluminous textbook in which there was no other way to find a single chapter I needed to review. And it ultimately became the core of my thesis.
On the second occasion, I made a monthly payment to access a web-based survey system. There was a need for me to randomise a subset of questions to gather data for my dissertation research and at that point, only one vendor was offering this as part of their “premium package.” The additional costs were not welcome, but were a means to an end.
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
What resources would you be ready to pay for? Here are just some of the types of products and services you might discover yourself contemplating as part of your professional development or course preparation:
Cloud Storage: There are many alternatives out there to help you store and access your files from several devices and locations. And while there are plenty of free accounts, if your storage needs exceed the limits, it might be sensible to pay for added space. Popular free tools like Dropbox also provide advanced features (e.g., messaging, project management) at a cost.
Data Collection: In addition to special capacities, such as the randomization of survey items I stated previously, paid services can also offer data back-up, enhanced security, custom URLs, and other kinds of technical support.
Publications: Your school’s library should be your first stop when identifying a particular article, book, or other publication that you require for your research or coursework. If it isn’t available, contact the publisher to find out how you can be able to pay for access to the materials.
Find a Program for You
Community Access: As you build your career and continue your studies, it can be worthwhile to belong to a group of other like-minded individuals. Associations and other similar organisations habitually require a membership fee to access things like workshops, mentoring programs, and reference archives. Look for these types of activities if you desire a more intensive experience rather than a LinkedIn Group.
Conference Attendance: Virtual attendance alternatives are increasingly obtainable, even for in person events, and this kind of registration is often greatly discounted. Some face-to-face events also provide a selection of attendance preferences such as a one-day pass, which enables you to actively network, visit exhibitors and attend sessions.
BEFORE YOU BUY
Every day, free accounts are getting more robust in terms of the flexibility they offer. Once you’ve discovered a resource or tool, you wish to use, fully explore the free account details to see whether you will need to make a payment. If there’s a need for you to upgrade or you discovered none of the free products met your requirements, use these questions to guide your decisions. Is there a free trial? Does your school have access? Are there any education discounts? How long will you need it?
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