Kids aren't the only ones who can take online classes during our coronavirus-riddled time. Ivy League schools in the U.S. are offering 450 free courses for any adults who have spare time while trapped at home. And according to some of the reviews, these classes are for real. Expect to spend a good amount of hours per week watching lecture videos, completing assignments, and doing quizzes.
If you're interested in bettering yourself while social distancing, check out the plethora of subjects and courses offered below.
Computer science is where one can learn how to understand computers and computational systems beyond 'it's a machine with the internet on it.' Instead of looking at the physical parts of a computer, this subject focuses on the software that people use — like Microsoft Word or Minecraft. If you've ever wondered how people create computer programs using different computer languages, this could be a good subject for you.
Computer science also encompasses subjects such as cyber security, artificial intelligence, robotics, and solving human-computer interaction. With technology becoming a part of nearly every industry, these skills can easily transfer to fields like manufacturing, healthcare, arts and creative design, and agriculture.
- Harvard University: CS50 - Introduction to Computer Science
- Harvard University: CS50 for Lawyers
- Princeton University: Algorithms - Part 1 and Part 2
- Princeton University: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies
- Georgia Institute of Technology and Brown University: Machine Learning
With computers comes the need to analyze the data. Data science does just that by taking a look at massive amounts of information and prying patterns and predictions from the mess. These skills can help people understand trends, organize information to present to executives, recognize opportunities for a business to pounce on, and take part in designing experiments and prototypes based on the company's data. Folks interested in playing around with math and statistics might enjoy learning more about data science and how it can apply to businesses.
- Harvard University: Statistics and R
- Harvard University: Data Science: Visualization
- Harvard University: Data Science: Machine Learning
- University of Pennsylvania: People Analytics
- Columbia University: Data, Models, and Decisions in Business Analytics
Programming is a smaller part of computer science that centers on understanding and using code to tell a computer what to do. This can mean using computer languages to make software, solve problems, and automate tasks. Every website, social media app, and video game you use involves programming to make it work. One author for online education company Codecademy described programming as something "technical and analytical, yet creative at the same time" because of the need to understand how to turn technical instructions into a people-friendly product.
- Harvard University: CS50’s Introduction to Game Development
- Harvard University: Quantitative Methods for Biology
- Cornell University: The Computing Technology Inside Your Smartphone
- University of Pennsylvania: Software Development Fundamentals
The humanities pull the focus away from computer screens and direct them to the people who made these devices. The Stanford Humanities Center calls it "the study of how people process and document the human experience." It encompasses subjects like human history, art and music, religion, literature, and philosophy. The humanities are essential to understanding the past, present, and future of mankind — things that can influence politics, culture, and how we use and develop technology based on our desires.
- Princeton University: HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism
- Brown University: Fantastic Places, Unhuman Humans: Exploring Humanity Through Literature
- Harvard University: Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scriptures
- Cornell University: American Capitalism: A History
- University of Pennsylvania: English for Career Development
The study of business can include accounting, marketing, management, entrepreneurship, and much more. Anyone who's managing their own work, whether it's as a freelancer or YouTuber or brick-and-mortar business owner, could benefit from the analytical skills and techniques taught in these courses. These classes might also be a good way to dip your toes into the water before jumping into an expensive master's in Business Administration.
- University of Pennsylvania: Introduction to Marketing
- University of Pennsylvania: Introduction to Financial Accounting
- University of Pennsylvania: Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content
- Columbia University: Marketing Analytics
Art & Design
Art is a great subject study, whether you're interested in the fine arts or video games. Art can enhance the creative designs that drive game development, business advertisements, and product engineering. After all, a big reason we like smartphones isn't just the tech behind them — we like devices that look good, too. Instead of dropping mad money for an art degree, which is as expensive as any other bachelor's, dive into some of the free courses offered.
- University of Pennsylvania: Gamification
- Yale University: Introduction to Classical Music
- Harvard University: Exposing Digital Photography
The sciences are the backbone of breaking down and understanding the world around us. While the humanities look at how people see the world, the sciences tend to look at how the world is. Both are important for a well-rounded education. Learning the basics of science can also help people learn how scientific studies work, how science applies to every aspect of life (including cooking), and what lies beyond our Earth.
- University of Pennsylvania: Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us
- Harvard University: Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science
- Harvard University: The Quantum World
- Harvard University: Backyard Meteorology: The Science of Weather
- Cornell University: Sharks! Global Biodiversity, Biology, and Conservation
Political science, sociology, anthropology, law, and social work are all topics beneath the social sciences umbrella. Humans are social creatures that create relationships with other humans while living in groups. It makes sense, then, to have a field that studies how we interact with each other, how criminal and delinquent behavior develops, how the environment can affect families, and what happens when the justice system succeeds or fails in communities.
- Harvard University: Justice
- University of Pennsylvania: Introduction to American Law
- Yale University: Introduction to Psychology
- University of Pennsylvania: Positive Psychology: Resilience Skills
Health & Medicine
Medical school is scary and expensive, but the subject makes for a very interesting read to pass the time. If you're interested in how the body works, the health issues that affect the world, and the policies that regulate medicine, this is a good topic to dive into. However, keep in mind that none of the health and medicine courses will qualify you for a medical license.
- Harvard University: United States Health Policy
- Harvard University: Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster
- Princeton University: Buddhism and Modern Psychology
- University of Pennsylvania: Feeding the World
Engineering is about taking what the sciences learn and using the information to invent, create, and design practical things that can solve problems. Roads, buildings, rocket ships, bridges, and vehicle engines are all objects that were designed by engineers. There are over 40 types of engineers such as mechanical engineers, electric engineers, aerospace engineers, architectural engineers, and chemical engineers. Now's a good chance to learn what, exactly, they do.
- Brown University: Introduction to Engineering and Design
- Cornell University: A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations
- Princeton University: The Art of Structural Engineering: Vaults
- Columbia University: Robotics
Education & Teaching
Has homeschooling your children given you the teaching bug? Or maybe you're interested in knowing how to get back into higher education after being out of school for so long? The courses in this subject highlight the U.S. school system, how to apply to college, and the science behind teaching.
- Columbia University: The Science of Learning - What Every Teacher Should Know
- Harvard University: Saving Schools
- University of Pennsylvania: Understanding Classroom Interaction
- University of Pennsylvania: Applying to U.S. Universities
Math! The bane of many, many people. If the sight or mention of a math problem makes your brain freeze up in instinctive fear, then perhaps this is the perfect time to overcome it. Mathematics can help people develop problem-solving skills, analytical abilities, and the confidence to face challenges. Most, if not all, industries and fields of study require some level of math ability. Keep yours refreshed with a few courses and feel free to brag that, yes, you've studied math in your spare time.
- Harvard University: Introduction to Linear Models & Matrix Algebra
- Harvard University: Fat Chance: Probability from the Ground Up
- University of Pennsylvania: Calculus Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not everything has to be strictly based on academics. Sometimes a person needs personal development courses that can offer ways to advance their career or improve their life skills. This can be useful for those moments when work requires you to become a negotiator or sharp communicator. Unfortunately, there aren't any classes on how to keep your stress levels low during a pandemic.
- Yale University: Introduction to Negotiation
- University of Pennsylvania: Improving Communication Skills
- University of Pennsylvania: Success
- Columbia University: Career Transition Principles for Returning Veterans
Free Classes for Kids
These 450 free Ivy League courses are bound to keep any adult busy for a long time. But for anyone who's already beginning to run out of schoolwork ideas can find inspiration from other resources as well. Scholastic, the book publishing company, has a website with daily activities for each grade level for families to use for teaching. Khan Academy has plenty of subjects for students to study for free as well, including how to take the SAT and ACT exams.
Don't let the kids be the only ones learning. Take advantage of all the free courses available online while we're all stuck in our homes.
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