Why You Should Take A Free Online Class While at Home

E.C. Power
Posted by in Career Advice

While your days may currently be blending together there may be some silver linings to being home. Who hasn’t, at some point thought to themselves, “I’d love to do this, I just don’t have the time?” If you have a smart device and internet access, the time has come. Whether you’ve recently found yourself in a holding patten, back in the job market, or are working from home, there are hundreds of online sites offering courses and opportunities for personal and professional growth. When things start to open up and we head back out into the world your competitive edge from online courses could be a difference-maker.

Where can I find classes?

Websites like edX and Coursera provide access to thousands of classes offered by hundreds of universities, including such reputable institutions as MIT, Harvard, and Stanford. Offerings are far-ranging including everything from Chinese for Beginners to Managing the Company of the Future to Analyzing Big Data. Learn about global financial markets "at" Yale University. Improve your negotiation skills with the University of Michigan. The possibilities are endless.

What are classes like?

Most course offerings are free, providing full access to all class materials and allow you to peruse the materials at your leisure. Most courses alternatively offer the option to pay to receive peer feedback and quizzes to deepen your study. Certificates are often offered for the paid courses, providing concrete additions to your resume. For those looking to make a major change or just expand on their current knowledge base, there are Associate, Bachelor, and Master’s programs in nearly every industry. 

What can I do if I don’t want to take a whole class?

Colleges and universities aren’t the only options for personal development. Sites like Masterclass require a fee but provide video lectures from industry masters (think: storytelling lectures from James Patterson or cooking lessons from Gordon Ramsey), provide opportunities to delve into their techniques and confer with other Masterclass students on both material and results. If that still doesn’t appeal, or you simply don’t have the time between juggling work, homeschooling, and/or elderly parent care, don’t despair. Instead, catch up on that huge to-be-read list, multi-task and ‘read’ while you do yard work or clean thanks to an audiobook, or read elite summaries (like CliffsNotes) of hundreds of personal and professional development books for maximum impact. 

Many of us have extra time on our hands at the moment so use that time wisely. Look into an online course in your industry, earn an advanced degree, and explore your potential!


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @William Fuller thanks for your comment. That's a shame that your employer doesn't acknowledge certification of completion on courses taken on your own. If you were looking for a new job, the certificate of completion will mean something to a new employer - as long as it's in line with the position you are seeking. And you never know when things might change in your work area and the course that you just completed will come into play.

  • William Fuller
    William Fuller

    Knowledge is knowledge and no one can take it away from you once you have it. That said, a certificate of completion comes with an attached cost, and none of my employers seemed to acknowledge that the new knowledge has value to them and their customers, nor did it count for much at review time.

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