Course Resources

As the summer winds down and the beginning of the school year looms nearer, it might be time to start mentally and physically preparing for courses. It can be a little overwhelming, looking at all the course outlines available and wondering how you’re going to get through it! University life is a big jump, but there are many resources and services available.

What to Buy Before Classes/What to Wait Before Buying

To Buy (these things are normally Mandatory with a capital M):

  • Any hardware for projects (ie. Raspberry Pi kit)
  • Lab equipment (ie. Goggles, lab coat, lab book)

Wait First:

  • Textbooks (you might find that some textbooks are unnecessary (ie. in my first year I didn’t buy the textbook for my Classics course since I had my own copies of the books we were reading), or some professors might provide access to reading materials)
  • iClicker (for some classes, it’s optional. I made the mistake of getting my account two weeks early and the free trial started right away, so I lost access to the account earlier than necessary)

Some Library Resources to Take a Look at Before Classes

Course Reserves

Course reserves are course related materials available for students to access from the library. This doesn’t mean there are just textbooks available for loan, but rather other materials (such as public domain literature, articles, audio/video files, etc). These can be accessed through Avenue to Learn.


If you’re registered with Student Accessibility Services, you can register to access the Campus Accessible Tech Space (CATS) space on the second floor of Mills. This space is designed with accessibility and accommodation in mind for students to study or de-stress. Library Accessibility Services also provides support through alternate format textbooks, custom courseware, lecture material, class readings, video captioning, audio transcripts and Echo 360 lecture capture captions.  

Research Browser Extensions

There are browser extensions, such as Endnote that help with finding, accessing, and citing academic articles. These extensions are available to students at no extra cost.

Lean Library

Lean Library is an extension/app dedicated to accessing electronic research materials off-campus.

There are many more resources and services available at McMaster Libraries! I’d definitely recommend reading through the website for the many things we have to offer.

In the meantime, I had mentioned taking a Classics course in my first year! I’m a huge classics buff, and here’s what I’d recommend:

Classics Recommendations

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • The Oresteia trilogy by Aeschylus
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde