Surprising Things You Can Learn From MOOCs

Check out the coolest classes you can take totally free.

Photo: Thinkstock

By Christopher Geno

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) started out as online computer science classes, and quickly expanded into many academic fields. College is a time to expand your interests and learn about topics you wouldn’t normally study, and taking Massive Open Online Courses are no exception. While you can’t take weird traditional classes like the Science of Harry Potter, taught at Frostburg State University or Underwater Basket Weaving at UC San Diego, there are still plenty of cool things to learn with MOOCs.

College is a time to expand your interests and learn about topics you wouldn’t normally study, and taking Massive Open Online Courses are no exception.

Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World

Taught by a University of Michigan professor, Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World discusses how fantasy from Alice in Wonderland to Superman and sci-fi from Frankenstein to Avatar grants insight into the human condition and our hopes, fears, and thoughts on the world.

Introduction to Computer Science (CS101): Building a Search Engine

What is particularly cool about Introduction to Computer Science (CS101): Building a Search Engine taught by a University of Virginia prof isn’t necessarily the subject matter (Intro to Computer Science is a common subject both in colleges and MOOCs), it’s how the subject is taught. Students learn computer science lessons through the goal of creating their own search engine. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make your own Google, this is the class to take.

Listening to World Music

Music lovers can study world culture and add new songs to their playlists with this class from a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Listening to World Music teaches music “as entertainment, political discourse, or artistic purpose.” Learn about your life through world music, from Paul Simon to throat singing to Australian aboriginal groups.

Knitting Socks

College professors with fancy degrees aren’t the only people teaching MOOCs. If you don’t mind being schooled by a random person with a skill to teach, head over to Udemy.com where anyone can create a MOOC and teach the world. The title Knitting Socks says it all. Brioche stitch, bamboo stitch and puffed rib are all topics in this class on knitting some fancy socks.

Game Theory

Economics doesn’t get much cooler than Game Theory. This course was originally taught at Yale University in Fall 2007 and recorded as part of Yale’s excellent Open Yale Courses online program that offers every lecture and course material from a variety of Yale classes completely free.

Game Theory will show you how the same economic principles can be used to analyze soccer and business partnerships, and as the course description states, the class will take you through, “ideas such as dominance, backward induction, Nash equilibrium, evolutionary stability, commitment, credibility, asymmetric information, adverse selection, and signaling.”

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Colleges with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
How MOOCs Can Help You Choose a Major
How to Use MOOCs to Get Your Dream Job
What is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)?

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