I am one of the early beneficiaries of free courses on Coursera and must confess that my career and personal development have been influenced positively to a large degree by the programs offered by some of the best schools in the world. While most courses on Coursera are no longer free, there are still some great courses you can take for free.
In this new series, I will attempt to share some information about these free courses in different subject areas like health, business, Science Technology Engineering & Maths (S.T.E.M), Personal Development, Data Science and Arts/Social Science/Humanities, hoping that you would find them useful either in your career or enterprise. The courses have not been listed in any order of priority, so feel free to take a look at the ones that might be of interest to you.
Why are Online Courses Important?
You can set your own learning pace based on a schedule that suits you. The pressure of having to work based on the school or faculty’s time table is eradicated and you have the freedom to choose what works best for you.
You can study from anywhere in the world! There’s no rigid schedule to follow, no traffic to deal with or flights to catch resulting in considerable savings in terms of time and money. You also don’t have to sacrifice your job or time in pursuit of education.
3. Unlimited Program Choices
There is an infinite amount of courses and skills to learn with just the click of a mouse. You can access virtually any school or program anywhere in the world. You have the opportunity to get an official diploma or certificate from that dream school without having to set a foot on the university campus. What about the fear of visa rejection? You don’t have to worry about that any more.
4. Customized Learning
Closely related to flexibility, most programs offer beginner, intermediate and advanced level options. The classroom size is sometimes smaller, giving room for more interaction with your tutors. You also have the freedom to and access to different materials like videos, e-books, etc. from your mobile phone or laptop.
Perhaps the most attractive part of online learning is the fact that in costs less and in some cases, it’s completely free for the same quality and value you would get in a traditional brick and mortar setting.
Having said these, here are some of the best free health courses on Coursera based. I will share the link to the courses and a short “About this Course” note to give you some flavor concerning the program.
This is a big subject in the world today, ranging from managing mental health, depression, fitness, exercise, food, nutrition, etc. I will focus on just the 5 of these courses and you are free to visit Coursera to explore some more based on your interests.
- Introduction to Psychology – offered by Yale University. What are people most afraid of? What do our dreams mean? Are we natural-born racists? What makes us happy? What are the causes and cures of mental illness? This course tries to answer these questions and many others, providing a comprehensive overview of the scientific study of thought and behavior. It explores topics such as perception, communication, learning, memory, decision-making, persuasion, emotions, and social behavior. We will look at how these aspects of the mind develop in children, how they differ across people, how they are wired-up in the brain, and how they break down due to illness and injury.
2. Stanford Introduction to Food and Health: Around the world, we find ourselves facing global epidemics of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and other predominantly diet-related diseases. To address these public health crises, we urgently need to explore innovative strategies for promoting healthful eating. There is strong evidence that global increases in the consumption of heavily processed foods, coupled with cultural shifts away from the preparation of food in the home, have contributed to high rates of preventable, chronic disease. In this course, learners will be given the information and practical skills they need to begin optimizing the way they eat. This course will shift the focus away from reductionist discussions about nutrients and move, instead, towards practical discussions about real food and the environment in which we consume it. By the end of this course, learners should have the tools they need to distinguish between foods that will support their health and those that threaten it. In addition, we will present a compelling rationale for a return to simple home cooking, an integral part of our efforts to live longer, healthier lives.
View the trailer for the course here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7x1aaZ03xU
3. Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us: The vital signs – heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiration rate, and pain – communicate important information about the physiological status of the human body. In this six-part course we explore the anatomy and physiology underlying the vital signs so that you will develop a systematic, integrated understanding of how the body functions. Relevant body systems are reviewed including cardiovascular and respiratory, followed by explanations of how the function of these systems affects vital signs. We discuss normal ranges, normal variants, and the mechanisms that underlie changes in the objective measurement of vital signs. The course also includes demonstrations of appropriate techniques for measuring vital signs in yourself and others.
The course is designed for a broad, general audience but will be particularly interesting for individuals working in healthcare, those considering a career as a healthcare professional, lay caregivers, those with an interest in personal health and fitness, or anyone who simply wants to understand how the body functions.
4. Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health: The University of Sydney offers this online program. It states that “In today’s world, mental illness and distress are common and these account for a significant burden of disability within our community. At the same time, there is a growing interest in understanding and enhancing positive mental health and wellbeing; particularly from developments in the fields of positive psychology and mental health promotion. Positive Psychiatry is a new term (Jeste et al 2016) that describes a dual approach to mental health, where we build strengths, supports and healthy lifestyles as well as treating illness and distress.
In this course, we will explore different aspects of good mental health as well as provide an overview of the major kinds of mental disorders, their causes, treatments and how to seek help and support. The course will feature a large number of Australian experts in psychiatry, psychology and mental health research, and we will also hear from “lived experience experts”, people who have lived with mental illness, and share their personal stories of recovery. We take an evidence-based approach to a range of strategies that anyone can use to enhance their own mental health and that of others, from exercise and relaxation techniques through to the role of love, relationships and ‘good’ types of work. We cover topics from creativity and yoga through to psychiatric medications and psychotherapies.”
5. Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During Covid-19: Offered by University of Toronto. Never in the history of humanity have so many people been feeling intense anxiety related to COVID-19 and the world it will leave in its wake. The intent of this course is to give you a deeper understanding of the anxiety reaction as it relates to various aspects of our current life, ranging from our consumption of news to the way we talk to our children about this. I will also give you clear strategies for managing and, in fact, turning off the anxiety response at least for short periods. My sincere hope is that you will leave this course with a better understanding of how your brain reacts to crises, along with some powerful tools for managing it before it manages you. The course covers areas like Understanding Anxiety Response, Achieving Relaxing, Art of Mental Distraction, Effects of Isolation, Strategies to Manage Isolation, Guarding Against Depression amongst others.
That’s all for today. In subsequent posts, I will explore other areas like business, STEM, personal development, and so on. Till then, keep reading and developing your potential.