Explore Free Courses During COVID

This #holiday season we’ve been sharing with our followers, resources our volunteers have found to be helpful in getting through this pandemic. Today we will share additional FREE resources our volunteers have used either to learn something new or to explore something that has always interested them. We invite you to take a look at these online resources and see if any of these capture your interest during this pandemic.

These learning opportunities run the gamut from simply exploring a hobby, classes in skills development, to the introduction of  courses in a variety of subjects. Several give you an opportunity to earn academic credit or professional certifications. A few resources provide advanced level business or computer science courses.  Many of the introductory online courses can be done in one day, while others require small chunks of time over a week or more.

Some of our own volunteers have used this time to finally dive deep into that hobby they always wanted time for, or they have acquired new skills that will help them move forward in their current careers. Others have used this time and these resources to alter the direction of their lives and have begun to pivot into new career paths. Some of these opportunities end soon so please review and explore them soon!

Learn a New Skill or Hobby While Staying Busy

COURSERA

Coursera has hundreds of free courses that can be finished in under 8 hours. Topics vary from Cooking, Psychological First Aid, Child Nutrition to Introduction to Computer Programming or if you prefer, you can choose longer courses or programs, such Computer Programming Certificates.

50 AMAZING SKILLS YOU CAN LEARN ON YOUTUBE

Teach your cat to give a high five, learn to make kombucha, become a better dancer, improve your handwriting, and more with these Youtube tutorials.

Lifehack

Lifehack believes in acquiring skills that multiply your time, energy and overall quality of life. Explore their personal development fast track classes to jumpstart your transformation.

EXPAND YOUR INTERESTS

There are plenty of free niche courses online such as bird identification or All About Fancy Males, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, daily instrumental ukulele, harmonica, baritone uke, and guitar classes from music teacher Gary Jugart, and drawing lessons from Drawing Coach.

FEMA

Want to know more about how disasters are handled by FEMA, how you can prepare for the impacts of disasters on your pets or livestock, or how your community emergency response team operates? FEMA has a course for you!

Khan Academy

Free online advanced high school and college level courses where you can learn about, or brush up on, many levels of astronomy, math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, finance, history, and more.

USE YOUR LIBRARY

Check your local library to see if they provide access to Lynda.com or Udemy.com. Both offer a wide variety of classes. In addition, your library may subscribe to Mango, a language-learning database, if you’re interested in diving into a whole new language. You’re paying for access to these databases with your tax dollars – use them!

COURSES FOR JOB ADVANCEMENT OR CAREER CHANGE

GCF (GOODWILL INDUSTRIES)

Courses on computer and software skills ranging from computer basics and typing tutorials to Microsoft Office 2016, as well as topics as diverse as critical thinking, algebra basics, and digital photography. Many courses are available in different languages.

GOOGLE G SUITE LEARNING CENTER (G SUITE)

The G Suite Learning Center provides 10- to 15-minute micro-learning modules to equip you to use Google’s GSuite (Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive).

GOOGLE FOR EDUCATION: APPLIED DIGITAL SKILLS

Lessons range from 45 minutes to 10 hours on G Suite software and topics such as preparing for the FAFSA, building your online business, and using Google to get a new job.

MICROSOFT DIGITAL LITERACY

Digital skills help us connect, learn, engage, and create more promising futures. Learn how to effectively use devices, Microsoft software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and the internet to collaborate with others and discover, use and create information.

OPENCULTURE

If you’re looking to make a bigger time commitment or do a deep dive on something you’ve been hoping to learn then explore the offerings at Openculture. It has a catalog of 1,500 free online courses from major universities via learning platforms such as EdX and Coursera.

LINKEDIN LEARNING SKILLS FOR IN-DEMAND JOBS (No account needed)

Start developing your skills for free with learning paths from LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn, then practice tech skills in the GitHub Learning Lab. Also, learn how the skills you already have map to thousands of jobs with LinkedIn’s Career Explorer tool.

Harvard University

Harvard offers a variety of open learning opportunities, including free online courses in a variety of subjects from Astronomy and Buddhism to Politics and Philosophy. A full list of online courses at Harvard is available through the link and through their edX learning platform which offers over 3.000 courses.

Website Design: HTML5 & CSS3 for Absolute Beginners  

In this free series you will learn all the foundational principles of website design in a self-paced 21 episodes course where you will learn and use CSS and HTML to build websites.

Alison.com

Alison offers a wide range of free basic/introductory courses in a broad range of subjects from business startup topics to marketing, in addition to their core IT management, networking, security, hardware, software and game development. While courses are free to participate in (by watching ads), if you complete a certificate or diploma course, you’ll need to pay a fee to get a printed or digital certificate. You also can opt to pay for a premium account for around $9 per month to remove ads, access to more advanced level classes, and additional features such as discounts on certificate fees.

Worker Safety Training

Free online worker safety training from the University of Utah and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences which provides expert guidance on health, safety, virus prevention, employee rights, and COVID-19 policy in the workplace.

ADVANCED PROFEESSIONAL COURSES/SKILLS

Free IBM Professional Training & Skills

IBM offers free online training courses, designed to build valuable skills and improve your  productivity. They include foundational soft skills programs as well as technical training. Many courses offer free digital certificates to help you build your professional credentials.

PBS TeacherLine

PBS TeacherLine is one of the top professional development resources delivering self-paced certified courses online for PreK through Grade 12 teachers.

Machine Learning

Carnegie Mellon University is offering a free introductory self-paced class on Machine Learning for those computer science peeps interested in exploring this subject. 

Udemy

Udemy is for professional adults who need to enhance their skills to continue advancing in their career. Some courses are free, while some are available at a fee — it depends on the course and instructor. However, paid courses won’t break the bank, as most go on sale for as low as $9.99, so you can typically find a good deal (especially around the holidays).

Helping Kids Cope With Pandemic Life

Pic of boy sitting alone by a window in a mask who is dealing with quarantine sadness. See article for resources on how to help kids with covid issues.

2020 has been a challenging year for millions of families across the country as routines and lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The greatest disruption has been in the area of our social interactions. With social distancing and isolation requirements  to protect our health, have come a new set of issues and stresses for all, but especially for children.  

Children don’t always respond to stressful events in the same way as adults do. Often they are unable to articulate how they are feeling or pinpoint a cause. However, there are behavioral clues that can help parents and other adults know they are not managing to deal with stress well. Some of these are: 

  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors
  • Lack of school interest or poor performance
  • Avoidance of school work, including simple tasks 
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past

Children sometimes learn ways to cope with stressful situations from cues they receive from their peers and adults in their lives. The social isolation required by this pandemic has not been easy, as children and all the adults around them have been greatly impacted by the uncertainties of COVID-19. It is therefore important for parents to first identify any issues and then help their children develop coping strategies that will enable their resilience in dealing with the challenges that covid will continue to create in our lives. 

The University of Colorado School of Medicine offers a number of tips to help support children. They include:  

  • Taking time to talk with your children about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child can understand. It’s important to acknowledge their fears and concerns.
  • Reassure them that they are safe. Share with them how you deal with your own stresses so that they can learn from your own coping mechanisms and can approach you when they are concerned or fearful.
  • Limit your child’s exposure to media coverage about COVID-19. Children may misinterpret what they see or hear and may get frightened about something they don’t understand.
  • Make sure you create and maintain a sense of structure and routine, which often provides comfort to children. 
  • Be a role model; take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your own friends and family members virtually so they can learn to use technology for peer and family support.

We have listed below some additional resources you might find helpful in supporting your children during this time: 

For more resources related to children, teens and homeschooling during this pandemic, please visit our CORONAVIRUS COVID19 RESOURCES page.

Helping Teens During COVID

Are your teens being challenged by COVID19 restrictions? Do you find your teens exhibiting unusual behavior or find they are just being different since the pandemic began?

Adolescence is not only a time of great physical change in a young person’s life during normal times, it’s also a time when change is felt very deeply. During a pandemic, some changes can become overwhelming or additional forms of stress for these young adults.  Several sources of teen stress can include:

  • Changes in their appearance or body
  • School demands and frustrations
  • Negative feelings about themselves
  • Problems with peers at school
  • Separation or divorce of Parents
  • Illness or death of a loved one
  • Moving or changing schools
  • Family financial problems
  • Restricting favorite activities

Recognizing a change in your teen’s mood or behavior is the first step in being able to provide support to them. HealthyChildren.org has a page on ways parents can identify changes in their teens, as well as suggestions on how to provide support to them, as well as how to enlist support from health professionals, such as your teen’s pediatrician.

The mental health professionals at Child Mind Institute offer tips and provide a list of resources for parenting teenagers (and young adults suddenly home from college) during the pandemic.

The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) has compiled a list of mental health resources on a wide variety of Teen Mental Health subjects, from addiction issues to strategies on parenting young adults in close quarters.

Last on our list are two organizations where parents can find guidance on how to support teens dealing with trauma or grief.  The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has created three separate guides for parents on how to help young adults cope with trauma, loss and grief. You can find all three guides on this page.

The mental and healthcare professionals at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have dedicated a section of their website for parents and caregivers who want to support teens through the various stages of grief. They provide support for this and many other topics on their Strong4Life website.

Additional resources can be accessed by teens directly through the links below: