We’re still in back-to-school mode in my household as we iron out the ‘wrinkles’ of new schedules, teachers and extracurriculars. Around this time three years ago I was stuck in a rut of sorts in that everything felt stale and samey. Sound familiar? I think we’ve collectively reached this point seven months into the pandemic.
One thing that helped me shake things up was signing up for a few classes that I could do virtually. With two small children, it seemed the only feasible way to feed my love of learning. What I wasn’t prepared for was the breadth of topics on offer and I felt like a kid in a candyshop. I took classes ranging from mindfulness, design thinking and textile design (which was the seed for the Storied House) to a photography masterclass with the great Annie Liebowitz. My friends and I joked that I had embarked on the “PhD of Me.”
Over this past summer, my children participated in several virtual classes and camps that ranged from Black History in the U.S., Latin, immersion French to The history of civilization. I found that I would linger nearby to take in some of the fascinating information and I was reminded that there is a plethora of topics to explore. I challenged myself to find a class that felt REALLY exciting and fun. The logic behind that being that if I was super enthusiastic about it, it is more likely that I’ll follow through on enrolling and actually engaging with the course.
Below is some of my research combined with additional digging from my team. As one who has an appetite for information that is WAY more than her free time, I decided to focus on just one. (Not easy for me!) Come October, I will be studying art history.
Sharpen those pencils and crack those binders and enroll in something fun!
- A free course about the value of play for all ages that includes virtual tours of museums and outdoor spaces
- MoMA’s free “Fashion as Design” course, which studies 70+ pieces alongside designer and historians for a full picture of the process and impact of fashion design
- “Social Psychology”, a free course from Wesleyan University, focuses on social perceptions, persuasion, group dynamics, and compassion
- This free course from the University of Reading uses 3D digital models and current footage to study ancient Rome
- Cornell University’s “Digital Photography” certificate program focuses on fundamentals of photography, as well as photography style, portfolios, and business
- “Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance” is a free four week course that works through an introduction, mindful stress reduction, improving work and study performance, and finally mindfulness as a way of life
- The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has dozens of online courses, including upcoming “Color Theory”, “Frame Loom Weaving” and “Sewing Techniques: Fundamentals”
- The Royal College of Art’s free lecture series “In Session” has hour-long talks on topics including inclusion in design, design as it relates to communities, and sustainable design
- An online course from The New School teaches how to use SketchUp 3D interior design software
- Harvard University’s free “CitiesX” course studies urban planning as well as the history and economic theories related to cities globally
- Skillshare has both free options and a paid subscription- for a free course check out “Learn Adobe Lightroom in 30 Minutes”, or “Writing for Self Discovery” for the paid option
- Google’s free “Analytics for Beginners” is an introductory course on digital marketing
- A free 5-day digital storytelling challenge sends a daily video on basic smartphone videos for social media
- CodeAcademy’s basic subscription is a free coding course for people with any or no experience