Have you found yourself with a lot of spare time but nothing to do? Use this extra time you now have for self-improvement — be it to learn a new skill, increase your job prospects, or just simply improve your personal life. Here are 10 online courses (most of them free) you can enroll in now to help you do all of the above.
This is a tough time for everyone, especially with all the layoffs. That’s why “Shark Tank” investor Daymond John suggests taking this time to develop your entrepreneurial skills. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for you to do this online. For example, the University of Maryland, College Park, offers a free online course titled “Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace.” This course is designed to help you explore the commercialization process, learn how to create strategies to bring innovations to the market, and develop a portfolio and business model canvas for your venture.
9. Psychology and the Good Life
This course teaches stressed-out people how to be happier. And, I can’t think of a better time to take this course than right now, given all that’s going on in the world. What’s more, is that this course is being offered by Yale University free of charge, so all you need to get started is access to the internet.
According to CBS News, “Psychology and the Good Life” was first introduced by Professor Laurie Santos in spring 2018. It quickly became the most popular course in the school’s entire history, so Yale decided to release an online version of the course under the title “The Science of Well Being.” The course takes about 20 hours to complete and includes videos, readings, quizzes, and retirement activities to build happier habits.
8. Game Coding/Programming
Game development company Unity announced in March that it would be offering its Unity Learn Premium platform for free for the next three months (until June 20, 2020) in response to the COVID-19 crisis, giving learners access to its “Create with Code Live” class. This course teaches you how to use the C# programming language to develop games. Topics covered include player control, basic gameplay, sound and effects, gameplay mechanics, and user interface. Once you register for the live classes, you can go to the course website to follow along with the course materials and track your progress.
7. Interior Design
If you’ve always wanted to learn interior design, here’s your opportunity. The “Interior Design Basics: Simple Steps to Your Perfect Space” course is offered on Skillshare.com and offers easy-to-follow lessons that focus on topics such as identifying your personal design style, curating a color palette unique to you, creating a sense of rhythm and balance, and choosing pieces you’ll love for a lifetime. Included in each lesson are tips, printable reference guides, and sources of inspiration. There are 11 lessons in all, and the whole thing takes about an hour and a half to complete.
Dancing is not only fun, but it can also help you lose weight and improve your health. But, if you have two left feet, you probably don’t find it all that fun. Nevertheless, all is not lost. There are plenty of dance lessons available online. For example, Misty Copeland of American Ballet Theatre teaches ballet class on MasterClass.com. Fellow American Ballet Theatre dancers Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside stream ballet classes weekly on Instagram.
If ballet isn’t your thing, you can always take advantage of the many Alvin Ailey studio dance lessons online. The Broadway Dance Center also has online lessons available in has a large selection of disciplines, including yoga and hip-hop. Even actress Debbie Allen has a class she streams weekly on Instagram. And, for those of you who are into aerobic fitness dance, there are tons of free classes available on YouTube.
It should come as no surprise that online cooking classes are in abundance. But, did you know that you can learn from pros like Gordon Ramsay, Dominique Ansel, Gabriela Cámara, and Wolfgang Puck? Yep, it’s true. And, if you’re looking to prepare more healthy, nutritious foods, you can always check out Stanford University’s course titled “Introduction to Food and Health.” It tackles topics such as the sociocultural history of obesity, sugar consumption, metabolism, animal and plant-based proteins, assembling a balanced meal, the effects of dietary fats on human health, and contemporary trends in eating.
4. Abstract Painting
Did you know that you can learn all you need to know about postwar abstract painting from the curators and conservators of the Museum of Modern Art without having to leave the comfort of your own home? “In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting” is a free course offered via Coursera that, “offers an in-depth, hands-on look at the materials, techniques, and thinking of seven New York School artists, including Willem de Kooning, Yayoi Kusama, Agnes Martin, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, and Mark Rothko,” according to the course description on Coursera. You’ll gain skills in art history and color theory, and perhaps best of all, it won’t cost you a thing (other than your time) to do it.
3. Foreign Languages
If you’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language or two but didn’t have the time, now’s your chance. Whether you’re looking to brush up on your Spanish for work purposes, or you’re just interested in learning a new language, there are plenty of opportunities to do so online for free. Coursera has a beginner Chinese characters course as well as classes for just about every language. And, if you’re not an English speaker, they offer specialized communication lessons, such as their “Business English for Non-Native Speakers” course. Plus, you can always turn to YouTube to watch instructional videos on learning a new language.
2. Building a Career in Illustration: Explore Print-On-Demand
Here’s a course that will not only help you hone your artistic skills, it can also help you make some extra cash if you’re currently out of work. That’s because it teaches you how to turn your art and illustrations into pieces you can sell on Society6. Here’s what you’ll learn:
-How to create art that sells consistently, month after month
-How to optimize your work for print-on-demand products
-How to use promotion effectively to sustain bestsellers
The course consists of seven lessons, and the entire thing can be completed in 24 minutes. Oh, and did we mention that this class is being offered for FREE?
1. OpenCourseWare (OCW)
Several colleges and universities offer their course materials online free of charge using OpenCourseWare, or OCW. For example, MIT OpenCourseWare makes the teaching materials for nearly all of its subjects available online. These subjects include business, energy, engineering, fine arts, health and medicine, humanities, mathematics, science, social science, society, and teaching and education. And, the best part of all is that you don’t have to be quarantined to take advantage of these courses. OCW courses are free all the time and can be taken anytime, anywhere, and by anyone.
Your turn! Do you know of any other (preferably free) courses you can take online during the current pandemic? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!