Inkscape is an open source drawing tool with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, and CorelDraw that uses the W3C standard scalable vector graphics format (SVG).
Inkscape comes with a full set of tutorials right in the "Help" menu. These tutorials should get you off to a good start with your classes. This tutorial consists of 7 parts for beginners and advanced users.The tutorials are available in English, German , Spanish and French. Japanese and Norwegian are under translation.