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The world of MOOCs (short for "massive open online courses") has expanded in recent year. There are an estimated 800 universities offering more than 10,000 onine courses. Many are free, and even more are self-paced (and asynchronous) -- allowing you to take classes at your convenience -- meaning it's never been easier to learn something new.
Find with multiple criteria MOOCs and Free Online Courses from Coursera, edX, FutureLearn and other Top Providers and Universities in a wide range of categories and subjects. On the front page, you can see the upcoming courses (for the next 30 days) and the last inserted or updated courses. You can extend your search using the multiple criteria page.
Below is a sampling of fun and interesting courses currently available for those of us practicing social distancing.
Art and Culture
ART of the MOOC: Public Art and Pedagogy
Workload: 7 weeks; 4–6 hours per week
Tania Bruguera, Hans Haacke, Claire Doherty, and Tom Finkelpearl all appear as guest lecturers in this star-studded course. Led by artist and Duke professor Pedro Lasch and Creative Time artistic director Nato Thompson, the syllabus touches on several controversial yet iconic works of public art, including Maya Lin’s Vietnam memorial and Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc (1981). Additionally, it explores the way artists have used social institutions—such as corporations, churches, and banks—as a medium for public works. Even the online course format of the MOOC itself is examined as a potential medium for public art.
Although this course is open to beginners with no prior artmaking experience, it will also provide challenging alternatives for more advanced students—including the opportunity to design and execute their own public art interventions.
Pyramids of Giza: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology
Time commitment: 8 weeks; 2–4 hours per week
Led by Harvard Egyptology professor Peter Der Manuelian, this course digs into ancient Egypt’s most famous archeological site: the Giza Plateau. Home to the Great Sphinx and a trio of monumental pyramids—including the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world—the site provides a jumping-off point to discuss the culture and history of Egypt’s Old Kingdom.
Lectures will explore the significance of hieroglyphic inscriptions inside the tombs, cultivate an appreciation of Egyptian art of the time period, and consider the ways in which new technologies like 3D modeling could shape the future of Egyptology.
Charting the Avant-Garde: from Romanticism to Utopic Abstraction
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
Workload: 4 sessions; 13 hours of work per session
Abstraction first emerged in Western painting at the start of the 20th century and altered the course of art history in irrevocable ways. But how did these artists break free of figuration and representation after thousands of years? Lisa Wainwright, the dean of faculty at SAIC, guides students through 200 years of avant-garde art at the Art Institute of Chicago. “We will be looking at art that shocked the public when it was first seen,” she says. The course delves into the 19th-century movements of Romanticism, realism, and Impressionism, exploring how artists built a foundation for later movements like Post-Impressionism and Cubism—which, in turn, helped foster the pure abstraction pioneered by the likes of Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, and Kazimir Malevich.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of Tokyo
Workload: 4 weeks per course; 3–6 hours per week
This three-part series examines the modern history of Japan, from the 1850s to 1930s, as well as post-war Tokyo. Rather than exploring Japan’s history through the written word, however, these courses utilize images made by people who experienced the events firsthand. Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1853–54 expedition to Japan, for instance, resulted in competing visuals from the U.S. and Japan that comment on Westernization. The archives of major Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido, on the other hand, explore concepts of modernity.
Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime
University of Glasgow
Workload: 3 weeks; 4 hours per week
Twenty-eight years ago, two men dressed as policemen forced their way into Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and stole half a billion dollars worth of art. To this day, it’s the largest art heist ever committed—and it remains unsolved. This wide-ranging course extends far beyond art theft, however. One unit focuses on forgery and the methods employed by experts in order to identify fakes; another explores the world of antiquities trafficking, and the ways in which it has decimated archeological sites in Syria and Iraq.
The class also presents the pros and cons of returning cultural objects to their countries of origin—culminating in a debate that will tackle a major, real-life antiquities return case that’s still ongoing.
Psychology of Art and Creativity
University of Central Florida
Workload: 4 hours per week
What is creativity? And can it be measured? Both questions are posed by this course, which focuses on the intersection between art and psychology. Although certain studies have posited that there is a connection between insanity and creativity, this class will expose the problems with such research. Students will also be introduced to the practice of art healing—the use of art and artmaking to promote emotional and physical wellbeing—and will be trained to perform certain techniques.
Comics: Art in Relationship
California College of the Arts
Workload: 5 classes; 10 hours of work per class
With the release of Black Panther in early 2018, the mainstream interest in comic book characters has reached a fever pitch. Led by Matt Silady, chair of California College of the Arts’s MFA in comics, this course will deepen students’ understanding of the comic book medium by exploring fundamentals such as the relationship between text and images, page layouts, and transitions between panels. Aspiring comic book artists are welcome—the syllabus was designed with both trained artists or and true beginners in mind.
Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR
Michigan State University
Workload: 7 months; 4 hours per week
Ready to graduate from iPhone photography to something more powerful? This four-module program from Michigan State guides brand-new photographers through the ins and outs of digital photography, and arms them with a fundamental set of skills. In the first section, “Cameras, Exposure, and Photography,” students are introduced to the basic functions of a range of digital cameras as they take their first photographs. Later lessons address composition, post-production, lighting, and more. It’s a thorough introduction to the medium—but if the time commitment seems daunting, New York’s School of Visual Arts also offers a more abbreviated online introductory photography course that takes 30 hours to complete.
Ideas from the History of Graphic Design
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
Workload: 4 weeks; 2–3 hours per week
From the first 19th-century mass-marketing campaigns to the radical, psychedelic imagery of the 1960s and ’70s, this course traces the development of graphic design over the past hundred years. Along the way, the syllabus touches on the Bauhaus and modernism, and the ways in which they influenced the field. The course also discusses when and how graphic design become a recognized practice. This particular class is one piece of a five-part series on graphic design that CalArts offers; other segments, including the introductory “Fundamentals of Graphic Design,” provide a more hands-on experience.
Age of Cathedrals
Workload: 9 weeks; 4 hours per week
In 1144, the cathedral of Saint-Denis—the first church to contain every element of Gothic architecture—was completed just north of Paris. This major French basilica serves as a starting point for this class, which traces the evolution of religious architecture from Romanesque to Gothic. Students will come away with an understanding of major architectural elements such as pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and, of course, flying buttresses. The course also explores how Gothic cathedrals contributed to the revival of 12th- and 13th-century cities—serving as the catalyst for new social arrangements, art, literature, and economics throughout the High Middle Ages.
Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects
McMaster University and the University of California San Diego
Workload: Approx. 12 hours to complete
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. We’ll learn about the how the brain uses two very different learning modes and how it encapsulates (“chunks”) information. We’ll also cover illusions of learning, memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects.
The Science of Well-Being
Workload: Approx. 20 hours to complete
In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life.
Chinese for Beginners
Workload: Approx. 11 hours to complete
Nowadays, there is an increasing number of people who are interested in Chinese culture and language. And it is useful to know about the language when coming to China for travel or business. This is an ABC Chinese course for beginners, including introduction of phonetics and daily expressions. After taking this class, learners can have a basic understanding of Chinese Mandarin and make basic conversations of daily living such as exchanging personal information, talking about daily arrangements and food, asking about price, introducing the city and the weather, telling your hobbies etc. Selected topics and situations come from real life scenarios and can be used for everyday communications. 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. The learners don’t need to study Chinese characters, so it is easier to follow and complete this course.
Grammar and Punctuation
University of California Irvine
Workload: Approx. 9 hours to complete
Do you need to review English grammar? Have you forgotten the grammar you once studied? If so, this course is perfect for you.
The first course in this specialization is a refresher on some tools needed for good writing. It will help prepare you for the other courses. You will need about 10 hours to complete this first course. Writing is a skill and to learn a skill well, you need to practice. In this course, you will watch short video lectures and then practice and discuss what you have learned. Make sure you take good notes and use the peer discussions to ask questions. Then you'll be able to remember the rules you learn in this course when you start writing essays in the next course.
After completing this course, you will be able to:
- identify the correct verb tenses to use
- use commas effectively
- utilize several different sentence types
- write more effectively in English
Please note that the free version of this class gives you access to all of the instructional videos and handouts. The peer feedback and quizzes are only available in the paid version.
Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments
Workload: Approx. 14 hours to complete
About This Course in the Series:
When is someone giving an argument instead of just yelling? Which parts of what they say contribute to the argument? Why are they arguing instead of fighting? What are arguments made of? What forms do they take? Think Again: How to Understand Arguments will answer these questions a more.
In this course, you will learn what an argument is. The definition of argument will enable students to identify when speakers are giving arguments and when they are not. Next, we will learn how to break an argument into its essential parts, how to put them in order to reveal their connections, and how to fill in gaps in an argument. By the end of this course, students will be better able to understand and appreciate arguments that they and other people present.
Introduction to Mathematical Thinking
Workload: Approx. 24 hours to complete
Learn how to think the way mathematicians do – a powerful cognitive process developed over thousands of years.
Mathematical thinking is not the same as doing mathematics – at least not as mathematics is typically presented in our school system. School math typically focuses on learning procedures to solve highly stereotyped problems. Professional mathematicians think a certain way to solve real problems, problems that can arise from the everyday world, or from science, or from within mathematics itself. The key to success in school math is to learn to think inside-the-box. In contrast, a key feature of mathematical thinking is thinking outside-the-box – a valuable ability in today’s world. This course helps to develop that crucial way of thinking.
Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content
University of Pennsylvania
Workload: Approx. 6 hours to complete
Ever wondered why some things become popular, and other don't? Why some products become hits while others flop? Why some ideas take off while others languish? What are the key ideas behind viral marketing? This course explains how things catch on and helps you apply these ideas to be more effective at marketing your ideas, brands, or products. You'll learn how to make ideas stick, how to increase your influence, how to generate more word of mouth, and how to use the power of social networks to spread information and influence. Drawing on principles from his best-selling book, "Contagious: Why Things Catch On," Professor Jonah Berger illustrates successful strategies for you to use buzz to create virality so that your campaigns become more shareable on social media and elsewhere. By the end of this course, you'll have a better understanding of how to craft contagious content, build stickier messages, and get any product, idea, or behavior to catch on.
Improving Communication Skills
Wharton School of Business - University of Pennsylvania
Workload: Approx. 11 hours to complete
Learn how to communicate more effectively at work and achieve your goals. Taught by award-winning Wharton professor and best-selling author Maurice Schweitzer, Improving Communications Skills is an essential course designed to give you both the tools you need to improve your communication skills, and the most successful strategies for using them to your advantage. You'll learn how to discover if someone is lying (and how to react if they are), how to develop trust, the best method of communication for negotiation, and how to apologize. You'll also learn when to cooperate and when to compete, how to create persuasive messages, ask thoughtful questions, engage in active listening, and choose the right medium (face-to-face conversation, video conference, phone call, or email) for your messages. By the end of the course, you'll be able to understand what others want, respond strategically to their wants and needs, craft convincing and clear messages, and develop the critical communication skills you need to get ahead in business and in life.