There are a ton of free courses available online, even more if your local library includes paid subscriptions to sites like Lynda or CreativeBug. But with so many options, how do you choose? We’ve narrowed it down to our top 10 favorite online courses to learn something new this summer. These free online classes are perfect for keeping your mind sharp over the summer or just keeping busy on a rainy day.
Online Learning For Social Justice Advocates
Feminism and Social Justice
Offered by University of California, Santa Cruz
Using feminism as a frame for historical events, this course takes roughly 8 hours to complete and centers on 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.
From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement
Offered by Emory University
Led by Civil Rights leader Bernard LaFayette, Jr., this 15- hour course offers an expansive look at the history of nonviolent resistance in the American Civil Rights Movement. After completing this free online course, you can expect to be able to identify the role of nonviolence in modern activism as well as recognize the application of nonviolence theories to activism, current issues, and everyday life.
Free Courses For Sustainability Seekers
Offered by University of East Anglia
This 20 hour free online course will help you understand how injustice is a common feature of many environmental problems. Over 5 weeks, you’ll look at deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change and other environmental issues, through the framework of environmental justice.
From Climate Science to Action
Offered by World Bank Group
This action-oriented MOOC gives you the opportunity to learn about regional climate change impacts and sector-specific strategies to increase resilience and move towards a low-carbon future and takes roughly 15 hours to complete. You’ll have the opportunity to explore these issues in depth and tailor your learning experience to a specific region.
Online Learning For Digital Marketing Minds
In this super short (4 hours total) course, you’ll explore what digital marketing is, why it’s important and look at some digital marketing strategies including display advertising, pay per click advertising, search engine optimisation and email marketing. Plus, you’ll learn the importance of balancing and integrating these different digital marketing strategies.
Social Media Marketing Course: Get Certified in Social Media Strategy
Offered by Hubspot
Hubspot offers a ton of free resources, courses, and training for anyone interested in digital marketing. This course only takes about 4.5 hours to complete, and you leave with the ability to build an effective social media strategy, set up social listening and moderation, create social content, extend your reach, excel in digital advertising, measure ROI, and more.
Free Online Classes For Creatives
This short class (1 hour +) is the perfect introduction to watercolor painting: the papers and surfaces you can use, the brushes and the different types of paints available and what to have in mind when choosing one over the other, and some basic watercolor painting techniques and precision exercises that will give you all you need to get started painting. Skillshare offers a limited number of free classes, but if you spot a premium class you’re dying to try, keep an eye out for their free trials.
Lettering in Color: Colorful Brush Lettering with Fudenosuke Colors
Offered by Skillshare
Want to level up your planner layouts with some colorful brush hand lettering? This hour-long class is for you! You’ll design creative, colorful lettered pieces using easy, but impressive techniques. There’s a hard push to purchase Tombow brush pens (the hidden cost of free content) but don’t feel pressured; any brush pen will work with these techniques.
Online Classes For The Poli-Sci Major
This online course can be completed in about 13 hours and covers the nature and development of global diplomacy. You’ll finish the course with an understanding of changes in diplomatic practices and the relationship of those changes to contemporary politics, plus a working knowledge of issues in global diplomacy in historical and contemporary contexts.
The Supreme Court & American Politics
Offered by The University of Baltimore School of Law
This course, while more rigorous (roughly 32 hours to complete) than the others recommended here, offers a comprehensive history of the Supreme Court’s impact on American politics and the evolution of Supreme Court vacancies as political prizes. You can expect to learn how to evaluate the importance of the Constitutional framework and its impact on the Court’s procedures, traditions, and independence.