2020 Mar 21
It turns out that the World Wide Web is so much more than just memes, cloud streaming and cat videos. If you are looking to beat boredom and spend time a little more productively while self-isolating at home due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it is time you discover the realm of ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ or ‘MOOCS,’ or even check out some of the courses and learning content that Google and Youtube have to offer. There is a range of online platforms that offer free courses. Some of the best ones out there are hosted by the world’s top universities with the best teachers and resources.
Courses offered by Google
The tech giant, Google also has a wide range of free courses that will benefit students and recent graduates. Some of the most highly recommended are:
- Strengthen Your LinkedIn Network and Brand
- Get Your Startup Started
- App Monetization
- Product Design
This new channel offered by YouTube provides quality learning content for users on a wide range of subjects. It functions as a platform that gathers all educational content in one place.
Access the channel here: www.youtube.com/Learning
In addition to the above, users would be amazed to find that a range of lucrative skills can be learned for free online.
Learn how to upcycle your old clothes with this DIY guide here: www.goodonyou.eco/7-creative-ways-to-upcycle-your-old-clothes
Want to try your hand at sketching? Begin from the basics and work your way up with this beginner’s guide: www.guidetodrawing.com
Learn how to cook some of the best Sri Lankan dishes through the YouTube channel ‘Top Sri Lankan Recipes” here: www.youtube.com/channel/UCXjgLYxCoyohdj2_3wcOWqA
Explore fun and simple nail art tutorials here: www.allnailart.com/how-to-do-nail-art
Learn how to take the perfect shot using your digital camera with this free online photography course: www.alison.com/course/introduction-to-digital-photography
What do ‘MOOCS’ offer?
Massive Open Online Courses are free and accessible platforms for any user online to take up courses on a range of subject matters. Users would be amazed at the range of subjects offered online; most platforms offer subjects ranging from programming in Python, Cloud Engineering and Computer Science to Successful Negotiation and Public Speaking. They usually consist of a combination of teaching methods such as reading, video lessons, quizzes and forums for users to discuss what they learn with peers. While most platforms offer courses for free, users typically have the option of receiving a certificate for a specified fee.
Where can I take MOOCS?
Some of the most popular platforms for free and online courses are:
- Khan Academy
- Open Culture Online Courses
- Academic Earth
- iTunes U (for Apple iPhone and Mac users)
- LinkedIn Learning
Tip: Most of the courses offered on these platforms have a free and paid version. Choose the “Full course, no certificate” option edX or “Audit” on Coursera.
Here is a roundup of some of the best free online courses to explore and learn flexibly.
1. The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process Specialization
By: Northwestern University
Description: Close more deals and improve the performance of any sales team. The Art of Sales Specialization is designed to make you more effective and efficient as you pursue your sales goals. Understand how to stand out in the crowd, attract customers, and build support for your initiatives within your company. Knowing how to “get to yes” is a crucial skill that can improve many facets of your life. Prepare to be tested, taught, and transformed as you learn to locate new customers and get great results.
2. Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking
By: Joseph Prabhakar (CEO, Power Communication Corp)
Description: Understand the fundamental techniques that experts use to get over the anxiety attached to public speaking. By taking this course, you get to know things to avoid before and during a speech, to increase your chances of making a confident speech.
3. Graphic Design Essentials: Easy Steps for Creating Your Own Compelling Visuals
By: Philippe Polman and Jonah McLachlan
Description: Learn the fundamentals of graphic design, from colour theory to composition and create and use a brand style guide for your business. The course helps you create simple graphics for free with step-by-step training.
4. How to Build a Startup
By: The Lean Launchpad
Description: The main idea in this course is learning how to rapidly develop and test ideas by gathering massive amounts of customer and marketplace feedback. Many startups fail by not validating their ideas early on with real-life customers. In order to mitigate that, students will learn how to get out of the building and search for the real pain points and unmet needs of customers.
5. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills
By: University of Michigan
Description: Negotiation is also the key to business success. No business can survive without profitable contracts. Within a company, negotiation skills can lead to your career advancement. In this course, you’ll learn about and practice the four steps to successful negotiation from planning your negotiation strategy to using key tactics for success, you will also learn how to create a contract, perform and evaluate. This course is very popular and is one of the highest-rated MOOCs worldwide.
6. Secret Sauce of Great Writing
By: Shani Raja (Former Wall Street Journal editor)
Description: In this course, Shani Raja will teach you the four ingredients of good writing: simplicity, clarity, elegance and evocativeness. After discovering how to add those ingredients skilfully, your writing will almost certainly begin to stand out from that of others in your field, profession or industry. By the end of the course, you will have a good grasp of how good writers create powerful and beautiful prose. As a result, you will also be able to quickly identify weaknesses in your writing and understand, in principle, how to fix and improve it dramatically.
7. Understanding Violence
By: Emory University
Description: Violence is a leading cause of death, disability and health care use worldwide. Violence is a complex problem and can only be understood and reduced though a multidisciplinary approach. This course introduces you to experts who study different forms of violence and we will discuss the various causes of violence. You will also learn about efforts to reduce violence and engage in a day of compassion. Former US President Jimmy Carter participated in the course and is featured in one of the lectures.
8. Chinese for Beginners
By: Peking University
Description: There is an increasing number of people who are interested in Chinese culture and language. This is an ABC Chinese course for beginners, which includes an introduction of phonetics and daily expressions. After taking this class, learners can have a basic understanding of Chinese Mandarin and make basic conversations on selected topics and situations for everyday communication. In addition to the dialogues, the selection of reading materials and practice activities will make the content as rich and varied as possible in order to stimulate the learners’ interests. This is an elementary course on Chinese speaking. Therefore, learners do not need to study Chinese characters.
9. Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects
By: McMaster University and University of California San Diego
Description: This course gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. You will learn about how the brain uses two very different learning modes and how it encapsulates information. It also covers illusions of learning, memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects.
10. An Introduction to Coding and Design
By: University of Leeds and Institute of Coding program
Description: On this program, you will explore the technology and design behind websites and apps. Starting with the basic coding languages, learn how programming works and have the chance to practice using block-based text (a simple approach to coding without using text). Explore app design, good user experience practice, and have a go at designing your own app.
11. Feminism and Social Justice
By: University of California, Santa Cruz
Description: This course is an adaptation of Distinguished Professor Bettina Aptheker’s long-running course at UC Santa Cruz. In the course, Professor Aptheker presents a broad definition of feminism that serves to frame three significant events in the history of feminism and social justice: the Empire Zinc strike of 1951, the 1971-1972 trial of Angela Davis, and the #MeToo Movement.
12. Data to Insight: An Introduction to Data Analysis and Visualization
By: The University of Auckland
Description: This course helps you get a hands-on introduction to data science and explore key ideas, computer skills and statistical thinking. You will learn key elements of data science so that you can start thinking like a statistician. Learning outcomes include exploring fundamental statistical data science concepts, creating visual and numerical representations of data, interpreting data analysis outputs and discussing interpretations and limitations of data.
13. CitiesX: The Past, Present and Future of Urban Life
By: Harvard University
Description: CitiesX will give you a far-ranging look at the past, present and future of cities, with the aim of teaching you how to better understand, appreciate and improve urban areas. The course will explore key concepts of urban development by examining cities around the world including London, Rio de Janeiro, New York City, Shanghai, Mumbai, Kigali, and many more. The analytical framework of the course comes from economics but is enhanced by conversations with experts from other disciplines (including Sociology, Urban Planning, Journalism, Anthropology, History, Art and Music) to provide learners with a greater understanding of all aspects of urbanism.