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.

COVID Personal Safety Tips

Article updated November 28, 2020

Even though scientists are continuously discovering new information since the Coronavirus emerged, some of the basic safety measures still remain the same. For example, after dozens of studies, the fact that the #coronavirus can live on some surfaces for a long time is still true, but where there are differences is in exactly how long it can survive on different surfaces like paper, plastic, and metal. Regardless of how long it does live on a surface, there are still 3 personal strategies that have been essential in helping people protect themselves against COVID-19:

  • Personal hygiene practices: washing hands vigorously
  • Environmental cleanliness: disinfecting commonly touched surfaces
  • Personal behavior practices: Wearing masks & Social Distancing

The most effective and easiest method of personal protection against #COVID19 is by not touching your face. That alone will dramatically cut your exposure to the virus. Next is developing a practice of hand washing before and after certain activities:
https://video.twimg.com/ext_tw_video/1244006497635491841/pu/vid/720×720/qcd8t8vDorTauiLB.mp4?tag=10

By now you’ve heard a lot about 1 personal hygiene habit, that is extremely important: washing your hands. Here’s a video on the best way to wash so you are sure you’ve killed all harmful bacteria and viruses like COVID19.

Two other practices that are equally important is how you sneeze or cough and where. But even most important is what you do immediately afterwards. Even if you use your sleeve, use a tissue to wipe your face. Then immediately dispose of it in the trash. In order not to infect anyone else you should wash your hands immediately or use hand sanitizer.

Understanding how we get infected, helps us to know how to prevent getting sick. Below is a wonderful infographic that can be used to show others how the coronavirus infects and is transmitted to groups of all ages. Click through the cartoon to read the story

Studies have shown that not all disinfectant products are effective at killing #COVID19. The EPA has a list of over 500 disinfectants that are effective at killing this coronavirus, also known commonly as #COVID19, or by its scientific name: SARS-COV-2. Please visit this linked EPA page to see the full list.

Sadly, not everything in your life can be cleaned with a disinfectant. In fact the items that poses the most danger to you is something you need to learn how to clean differently. What is it? Your cellphone. Studies have shown that our cellphones have more bacteria than our toilets – Ewww, I know.
But because cellphones are electronic you cannot spray them with disinfectants. Watch the video through the link below to learn how to clean and disinfect your mobile phone without causing any damage.

throuhttps://komonews.com/news/coronavirus/heres-how-to-clean-your-electronic-devices-without-damaging-them?jwsource=cl

By The way, not all hand sanitizers are effective. Here’s how to select the ones that can kill the #Coronavirus #COVID19 and how to use them so they’re effective. Link: http://bit.ly/38tKvYe

When to use a sanitizer and What Type

Protecting your family involves more than handwashing, it involves planning and a new way of doing things. For example: it involves wiping down your groceries before putting them away; storing the shoes you wore outside in an area where they won’t infect your family or pets; making certain plans in order to help vulnerable family members avoid others who might carry carriers of #COVID19. You can find all of this and more in the Household Pandemic Guide posted here: bit.ly/2HS03ue

Finally, stay informed of #coronavirus community spread and school and other closures in your area by signing up for updates with your local/county health department as they will be the ones responsible for making those decisions. Follow your State & local Health Depts on fb/twitter and online to learn of health alerts in your area. To find them visit:
https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory

Coronavirus Community Resources

Community Resources banner

We have a variety of resources for Individuals, Families and Small Business

Here are some free #coronavirus resources posted on our website for you:
-Personal Protection Resources – http://bit.ly/2IHRbI3
-Understanding #CommunitySpread, containment and mitigation + Resources – http://bit.ly/33eDzNV
-Community Spread Part 1- http://bit.ly/2wUNZGe

For Single Parents Who are Working and Homeschooling
We asked a mom, who has mastered the art of #homeschooling and #workingremotely to share her experiences in a blog post to help our followers prepare for that transition. We’ve posted it on our blog so please go visit: http://bit.ly/2TSPfTn

Tonight 3 resources for small companies that have to transition employees to work remotely due to COVID19 .

Our Daily Self-care Reminder: Take care of YOU
In order to address anxiety you have to be able to identify it.
This linked article will help you: Understand why COVID Anxiety is hard to control: 7 reasons why it’s hard to control your coronavirus anxiety

A psychologist explains how to get a grip on our coronavirus anxiety triggered by COVID-19, and provides 7 strategies to help us cope during this pandemic.
http://theconversation.com/7-science-based-strategies-to-cope-with-coronavirus-anxiety-133207

Community Spread Part 2 COVID19 RESOURCES

This Post continues the theme of: How to Prevention COVID spread

Since the World Health Org has declared #COVID-19 a global pandemic, we thought it best to share some basic info – our Coronavirus Personal Protection Page which includes a Household Pandemic Guide:
Link: http://bit.ly/39uBwY9

As #coronavirus spreads on its predicted course, the US has also responded with measures aimed at curbing it. Two days ago we began to help our followers in #NH #MA #FL #CA #NJ understand what #COVID19 Community Spread is and its impact via a thread: http://bit.ly/38DUYRg

We’ve seen how #NY & #Washington state have implemented Social Distancing measures and these were different based on how far the disease has spread in each of their communities. The Gov created a containment zone for the town of #NewRochelle with had already over 100 cases under a 1mile radius. Washington chose a number of closures/bans aimed at social distancing to stop their spread. In both cases they are a multi-layered approach that expands from voluntary to mandatory depending on the severity of the spread.
Link: https://afludiary.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-who-npi-guidance-social-distancing.html

These #COVID19 efforts are based on established scientific practices that have worked successfully in the past. Below is an article of a Tale of 2 Cities (Philly & St. Louis) during the Spanish Flu Pandemic and the choices they made impacted them.
https://qz.com/1816060/a-chart-of-the-1918-spanish-flu-shows-why-social-distancing-works/

The US has learned from how #China, #Singapore, #Hong Kong & #Italy have responded to their #COVID19 #coronavirus outbreaks & have learned from their successes and failures. The #US & #EU CDC have adjusted their guidelines accordingly.The EU CDC published them in the following publication (pgs 3-4)
LINK: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/social-distancing-measures-in-response-to-the-COVID-19-epidemic.pdf

All these efforts are to achieve two goals:

Which brings to the US. Many people are already complaining about school closures or events being cancelled. In Italy, some of the mid-level measures were not followed by communities, as a result we are seeing a repeat of scenes from Wuhan, of people dying for lack of equipment or beds
https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-italy-doctors-tough-calls-survival/

So if you see/hear Please Wash Your Hands & Stay home, it’s because we understand disaster response and know what will be experienced in the US in about 4 weeks if the measures in place right now are not taken seriously. So please develop the habits below NOW

Prevention measures for community spread from the City of Palo Alto

And we suggest you also do the following:
First, locate and sign up for alerts with your state AND local health departments or Emergency Management to stay informed. Locate your local health department by going to: https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory

Share these resources with friends, but please don’t badger them because the more you persist they’ll resist. When they’re ready share these threads, that’s why we created them. We know there will be people who won’t listen even when they themselves are sick.

Instead focus on you and your family and do everything you can to stay healthy and serene. Our bodies respond to stress by lowering our immune systems and making us candidates for illness. So find ways to DE-STRESS rather than be in DISTRESS!

COVID19: Homeschooling Week 4

Parents, by now you have settled into homeschooling rhythm and have helped your children cope with many changes. #KidsHealth wants to make sure you take care of yourself during #Coronavirus #selfisolation and has suggestions on the Parents section: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-calm.html

Some of the tools to relieve your #COVID19 stress and #coronavirus anxiety can be shared with your children and done together:

Would your child like a virtual pet? The Friendly Felines of the Philbrook Museum’s Garden Center is looking for a few pen pals and some new friends. See link below for info and cats profiles: https://philbrook.org/visit/philbrook-gardens/garden-cats/

The National Weather Service is hosting weather science webinars geared towards 4th, 5th & 6th grades for the states of
#Florida #Georgia #SC #NC #VA #MD #DE #COVID19
https://twitter.com/NWSNHC/status/1251129740779495425?s=20

Google Chrome has partnered with a number of companies to offer free distance learning tools for students and educators during #COVID19: Education: https://chromebookapphub.withgoogle.com/distancelearning… Make Music: https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Experiments

Check out our other Homeschooling posts for additional resources:


Small Business Resources During COVID19

Small businesses are the economic backbone throughout the US. Many are struggling to survive and may not get through this #shutdown. So tonight we’ve gathered resources in the hope of helping them get through this time.

The key to any business survival this year is having an online presence.  For those businesses who do not yet have a full online presence Yahoo Small Biz is hoping to make the transition easier by offering the following free services: a website, domain name and 5 email addresses for a year. To learn more visit: https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/businessmaker/payitforward

Inc Magazine has a list of Free Tools, Resources, and Financial Help for #SmallBusiness Owners Hit by #COVID19. Link: https://bit.ly/2K4mGN1

The US Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Inc Magazine for virtual Town Hall Webinars to help answer questions on the Stimulus Plan and share information about innovative programs that small businesses might be eligible to apply for.
https://www.inc.com/stimulus-2020-qa?icid=hmhero

ICIC has developed a #SmallBusiness Resource Center to help businesses during the #COVID-19 Crisis. They have identified hundreds of resources from national to local opportunities and keep the list updated so please follow and visit their page: https://twitter.com/icicorg/status/1248665336678842371?s=20

Make sure you subscribe to your state’s #SmallBusiness Administration (SBA) for information on financial grants, networking or webinars, such as the one below: https://twitter.com/TexasEconDev/status/1250120848008192001?s=20

The US Chamber of Commerce has created a state guide to bring you the best resources and information to help  #SmallBusinesses navigate this challenging time. Visit them here to access:
https://www.uschamber.com/co/small-business-coronavirus

Women business owners can turn to Business Journal for COVID-19 financial help. They have been updating their business resource list periodically:  https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2020/04/where-women-business-owners-can-turn-for-covid-19.html?page=all

The Small Business Administration has nearly a hundred resources, tools and webinars you can access year round. They have now created a special #SBA #COVID19 Resource Page so please make sure you bookmark the page so you can return often.
Link: https://www.sba.gov/content/online-small-business-resources

Finally, Client-to-Consultant Bridge (C2CB) is a program for business owners to get assistance they need to navigate #COVID19 period. Our volunteer consultants will be available to assist businesses in their communities free of charge. https://c2cb.wildapricot.org

Financial Survival In The Time Of COVID19

Tonight’s Highlighted Resource is the #NY State Comptroller’s: #COVIDー19 Financial Survival Toolkit for #NewYorkersThe links below will offer guidance & resources to help you during this challenging time. #NYC #Nassau #Suffolk https://www.osc.state.ny.us/covid-19/financial-toolkit.htm

The NY Times developed: “A Hub for Help During the #Coronavirus Crisis” that is broad and robust enough to help residents from: Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Florida, Connecticut, Michigan. We urge you to visit and check out their #COVID19 financial resources: https://nyti.ms/3ax7kfJ

Another great #COVID19 finanical resource is the United Way’s 211 system that is used in over 80% of states in the #US. You call or visit their website to check what financial/economic #coronavirus support system is available locally and in your state: http://www.211.org/services/covid19#Resources

You can legally take steps to financially protect yourself from the impact of the #coronavirus. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the legal info you need to work with your mortgage company & creditors in order to secure #COVID19 relief: https://bit.ly/34qTHMK

Personal finance adviser, Suze Orman offers 12 money do’s and don’ts to help you survive the #financial and health crisis of #COVID19. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/suze-ormans-money-dos-donts-151204225.html

If you are unemployed or had your work reduced, you may be eligible for SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Pgm. USDA really wants people to know they should see if they are eligible and apply: https://fns.usda.gov/snap/state-directory

If you live in these states: NY, WA, AL, OR, AZ, CA, the US Gov’t has made arrange so that you can use your SNAP benefits to buy #food online via Amazon, Walmart and a few others. https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/04/08/arizona-and-california-added-innovative-snap-online-pilot-program

For those in immediate need of putting food on the table, we have 2 sources:-Feeding America’s website to search for addresses info for your local/county food pantries: https://bit.ly/3cdFRQn-check your local religious orgs, such as Catholic Charities for distribution info.