5 free courses you must check out on Coursera

The world of online courses has blossomed in the last few years with Coursera taking the top spot as the leading platform. Here are five free courses from Coursera that everybody should sign up for.

Back in October 2011 when three online courses taught by Stanford professors were launched for free, online education got a massive boost, as more than 100,000 students signed up for all three. Soon after platforms like Coursera and edX launched and the media started calling the courses of these providers “MOOCs”: Massive Open Online Courses.

Founded by two Stanford professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Coursera is the leading online-learning platform on the internet today with more than 28 million registered users. The venture-backed, education-focused technology company works with universities and other organizations to offer online courses, specializations, and degrees in a variety of subjects.

Engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and more.  Likewise, Coursera has more than 2,000 courses which last approximately four to ten weeks, with one to two hours of video lectures a week. The courses provide weekly exercises, peer-graded assignments, and sometimes a final project or exam.

Here we pick five of them which are absolutely free and which we believe can be essential for every one of us. Potentially life-changing lectures, these are not to be missed. Make sure you give them a go.

1. Learning How to Learn:  Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

One of the most popular courses in the world with more than a million enrollments, Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects, has been created by the University of California and is taught by Dr Barbara Oakley, Dr Terrence Sejnowski, and Linda Walker.

This course gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. You will learn how the brain uses two very different learning modes and how it encapsulates information. The course also covers illusions of learning, memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects.

2. A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment

With an almost flawless user review score of 4.8/5, A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment created by the Indian School of Business answers one of life’s biggest questions. What are the determinants of a happy and fulfilling life?

Based on the award-winning class offered both at the Indian School of Business and at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, developed by Prof. Raj Raghunathan (aka “Dr. Happy-smarts”) draws content from a variety of fields, including psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral decision theory to offer a tested and practical recipe for leading a life of happiness and fulfillment. By the end of the course, not only will you have a deeper understanding of the science of happiness, but also be significantly happier.

3. Seeing through Photographs

Created by the Museum of Modern Art and taught by curator Sarah Meister, Seeing Through Photographs is a course for anyone who is interested in photography, which is aimed at addressing the gap between seeing a photograph and truly understanding it.

Although taking, sharing, and viewing photographs have become second nature for many of us, our regular engagement with images does not necessarily make us visually literate. By looking closely at photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, through introducing a diversity of ideas, approaches, and technologies that inform the making and by listening to a variety of perspectives on what a photograph is and the ways that photography has been used throughout its nearly 180-year history.

4. Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential

Taught by the very same Dr Barbara Oakley and Dr Terrence Sejnowski, Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential is a course that has been created by McMaster University.

Mindshift is designed to help boost your career and life in today’s fast-paced learning environment. Whatever your age or stage, Mindshift teaches you essentials such as how to get the most out of online learning and MOOCs, how to seek out and work with mentors, the secrets to avoiding career ruts and general ruts in life, and insights such as the value of selective ignorance over general competence.

5. Buddhism and Modern Psychology

Can meditation make us not just happier, but better people? Created by the Princeton Universty and taught by Robert Wright, Buddhism and Modern Psychology explores the science behind meditation.

The Dalai Lama has said that Buddhism and science are deeply compatible, and has encouraged Western scholars to critically examine both the meditative practice and Buddhist ideas about the human mind. A number of scientists and philosophers have taken up this challenge. This course will examine how Buddhism is faring under this scrutiny and in the process, shed light on the workings of the mind and how meditation can truly make us better, happier people.

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