10 easy ways to quickly improve your grammar, from affordable online courses to a free Chrome plug-in

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Online grammar resources 4x3
  • Knowledge of grammar is important in the world of professional emails and job applications.
  • Online resources can help you improve your punctuation, writing style, and sentence structure.
  • The list below includes 10 online classes, books, and free apps to sharpen your grammar skills.

Whether your job prospects actively involve a lot of writing or you find English punctuation rules confusing, understanding grammar can make your sentences stand out. It’s an increasingly important skill to have, considering how much our careers usually revolve around written text – be it in cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, emails, or presentations.

While learning more about grammar can seem like a daunting endeavor, there are plenty of accessible ways to do it, whether you take a short online course, consult a reference guide, or install a free grammar-checking app.

10 affordable resources to improve your grammar:


Grammarly 4x3

Cost: Free for basic plan; $11.66 a month for Premium.

If you consider yourself more of a hands-on learner, you can download Grammarly, an AI-powered writing Chrome extension and mobile keyboard. It’s essentially like the spellcheck tool, but gives more detailed feedback so you can learn more about grammar as you go. It’s free to download, but the paid version gives more personalized guidance on style, such as avoiding excess words like “really” or “I think,” using more inclusive language, or tweaking your tone. You can read a review of the free version of Grammarly here.

Available on Grammarly.

“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

"The Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White 4x3

Length: 96 pages

Cost: $2.98 on Kindle; $7.89 paperback

This style manual is a staple of many high school and college classes and is regarded as a must-have by many writing and English instructors. It includes commonly misspelled words and expressions, making it a handy reference guide for when you get stuck on an essay or writing assignment. If you’re planning on expanding your grammar knowledge, you can’t go wrong with this classic.

Available on Amazon.

English Grammar and Style

English Grammar and Style 4x3

Length: 8 weeks

Cost: Free

Offered by the University of Queensland in Australia, this course devotes each week to one section (such as verbs or punctuation) so that you’re not overwhelmed. The class comes with video interviews from grammarians to guide you through the lessons, plus virtual quizzes and writing activities so that you can practice everything you learn right after you learn it.* 

Available on edX.

*This course is archived, but you can still access all the materials

Editing and Proofreading Made Simple

Editing and Proofreading Made Simple 4x3

Length: 39 minutes

Cost: Free with 1-month trial; $29.99 a month or $19.99 a month (annual fee) after trial ends

Not everyone has the money or time for a personal proofreader, so this speedy course is meant to help you edit your own work quickly and effectively. You go over the five keys of good editing for things like emails, presentations, and blog posts, so that you can apply these lessons to your daily professional life. This course comes with a LinkedIn certificate of completion at the end.

Available on LinkedIn Learning.

Grammar Foundations

Grammar Foundations 4x3

Length: 2 hours and 11 minutes

Cost: Free with 1-month trial; $29.99 a month or $19.99 a month (annual fee) after trial ends

This relatively short beginner course isn’t about memorizing an endless list of rules that you know you’ll eventually forget. Rather, it’s focused on quickly teaching you the most basic principles you can apply to avoid the most common mistakes. It provides you with tricks for using words that sound alike (like “affect” and “effect”) and understanding parallel sentence structure. As a bonus, you automatically receive a certificate of completion by the end of the course, which you can add to your LinkedIn profile.

Available on LinkedIn Learning.

Tricky English Grammar

Tricky English Grammar 4x3

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $49 a month to keep learning after trial ends

Designed for both native and nonnative English speakers, this UC Irvine course is built around the things that can trip you up. Through a combination of lectures and practice quizzes, you learn whether to put “a” or “the” in front of certain nouns, or how to navigate confusing rules about infinitives. Completion of the course earns you a certificate to put on your resume or LinkedIn profile. The course is also part of a larger Coursera specialization in Intermediate Grammar.

Available on Coursera.

Writing and Editing: Word Choice and Word Order

Writing and Editing  Word Choice and Word Order 4x3

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $39 a month to keep learning after trial ends

Beyond understanding grammar, knowledge of syntax (or the order of words) can help you make complex information easier to read. On top of covering crucial grammar rules, this engaging University of Michigan course teaches you how to simplify your sentences and consider your word choice, so that you can present your ideas in a more effective way. Completion of the course gets you a certificate to put on your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Available on Coursera.

Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Lab)

Purdue University's OWL (Online Writing Lab) 4x3

Cost: Free

Purdue University’s online writing lab (OWL) offers a wealth of written resources to answer all your grammar and style questions as they come up. It has specific examples as well, like explaining the difference between “that” and “which,” and provides detailed guidance on sentence mechanics, punctuation, and style. 

Available on Purdue University’s OWL.

How to Write an Essay

How to Write an Essay 4x3

Length: 5 weeks

Cost: Free; $169 for a certificate

In a little over a month, this UC Berkeley class teaches you how to structure a convincing essay, with a strong focus on grammar and style. This is great if you want to get better at longer-form writing, such as academic writing, or sharpen a personal statement for a college application. You can take this course free or pay to get a shareable certificate. 

Available on edX.

“Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English” by Patricia T. O’Conner

"Woe Is I  The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English" by Patricia T. O'Conner 4x3

Length: 320 pages

Cost: $9.99 for e-textbook

Written by a former “New York Times” book review editor, this tome is full of funny, light-hearted examples of grammatical errors, with clear (and judgment-free) instructions on how to avoid common mistakes. The tone of the book is geared toward reminding you that everyone — including bestselling authors — can find English grammar confusing. You can order as a book or e-textbook, which lets you annotate the text and create digital flashcards.

Available on Amazon.

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I learned how to crochet during the pandemic – here are 8 online courses, books, and kits that are perfect for beginners

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Crochet Cute Critters: 26 Easy Amigurumi Patterns Paperback - August 20, 2019 Lifestyle Image (28)

  • Like knitting, crocheting boasts many mental health benefits including stress-relief and higher concentration.
  • While slightly more challenging than knitting, crocheting is great for making clothes and 3D projects like stuffed toys.
  • Below are 8 online classes, books, and videos to learn how to crochet.

If your screen time has skyrocketed during the pandemic, you may be searching for a hobby to keep your eyes – and hands – away from your phone. For many, the answer is crafting. Activities like knitting and crocheting are all experiencing a renaissance (especially within the younger generations) as a wholesome, calming and productive way to pass the time.  

Crocheting in particular has hooked itself into pop culture, from Hilary Swank taking up the hobby during the first lockdown to Harry Styles’ legion of TikTok fans recreating his cardigan. And, of course, we can’t forget Bernie’s famous crocheted mittens (which you can make all on your own).

Crocheting is often compared to knitting, but the main difference is the use of one hook to create small crochet knots instead of two needles. Knitting is slightly easier to pick up as it involves only two stitches: knit and purl. However, crocheting is great for 3D projects like cute stuffed toys

With the help of online courses, I’ve picked up both crafts over the past year. I appreciate the challenge of learning a new skill, and I love the sense of satisfaction I get when I unhook the final stitch on a project. 

So if you’re ready to pick up a needle, these 8 crochet courses, books, and kits will help you get started – or take your skills to the next level.

8 online courses, books, and resources to learn how to crochet:

Beginner level: 63 Piece Crochet Kit with Yarn Set (Amazon)

63 Piece Crochet Kit with Yarn Set

Looking for the ultimate starter pack? This beginner crochet kit has absolutely everything you need to get started: 9 various-sized crochet hooks, 24 acrylic crochet yarn balls, 6 needles, 10 locking stitch markers, 1 thread cutter, and more. Don’t know what any of that stuff is? Don’t fret. There’s a link to download an e-book that teaches basic stitches, fancy stitches, how to change colors, and more.

63 Piece Crochet Kit with Yarn Set (button)
Beginner level: Crochet Basics Udemy

Crochet Basics - Learn to Crochet Within a Week!

If you’ve never picked up a crochet hook, this highly rated Udemy course is a great place to start. Offering 2.5 hours of video and downloadable resources, you learn how to make simple designs such as a heart, granny square, triangle, filet blocks, circle, flower, and a spiral shell. The instructions are clear and easy to understand. Plus, as it’s all self-paced, you can review sections at your own speed.

Beginner level: Absolute Beginners Crochet Lessons (YouTube)


Over five videos, crochet expert Bella shows you the basic stitches you need to know in order to learn to crochet. Practice each one, one at a time to build your skills. With almost 4 million views of the first video alone, this series is no doubt creating a whole generation of quarantine-crocheters dreaming of creating their very own multi-colored Harry Styles sweater.

Absolute Beginners Crochet Lessons (button)
Beginner level: Crochet kits (Jonah’s Hands)


12-year-old crochet prodigy Jonah Larson released his very own crochet kits, filled with everything you need to get started on a project. Choose between 10 different projects, from practical beanies or coasters to cute cats or koala figures. Each kit contains balls of yarn, a 5mm hook, yarn needles, instructions, and any other tools you may need. They are perfect for both adults or kids who want to try crochet for the first time.

Beginner level: Crochet Sampler: A Daily Practice (Creative Bug)

Crochet Sampler: A Daily Practice

Make crochet a daily habit with this 30-day crochet series which teaches you how to whip up a collection of colorful swatch samples using various techniques. At the end of the month, you can seam up your squares into coasters, a blanket, or a decorative wall hanging. The course includes 32 video lessons, a detailed supply list, and step-by-step instructions by crochet artist Twinkie Chan. As a bonus, the friendly community can connect you with other crochet students to ask questions and show off your new skills!

Creative Bug offers a 7-day free trial, with plans starting from $7.95/month after that.

Crochet Sampler: A Daily Practice (button)
Intermediate level: Modern Crochet 101: Create a Pair of Fingerless Mitts (Skillshare)

Modern Crochet 101: Create a Pair of Fingerless Mitts Lifestyle Image

If you gain a great feeling of satisfaction from making your own clothes, you’ll love this Skillshare course that teaches you how to make your very own pair of fingerless gloves. Over one hour, the engaging class shares basic advice around picking the right needle and yarn before moving into more detailed instructions around knit and chain stitches. Within a few days, you’ll be able to show off your finished mittens!

Modern Crochet 101: Create a Pair of Fingerless Mitts (button)
Intermediate level: The Ultimate Course for Beginner and Intermediate Crochet (Udemy)

The Ultimate Course for Beginner and Intermediate Crochet

Navigate from basic stitches to more complicated patterns in this top-rated Udemy course. Through her personable teaching style, the instructor inspires you to work harder on your craft while using your imagination to create your very own designs. This is especially perfect for those crocheters who may have hit a wall with progress.

New students can get the course for $14.99 (normally $59.99).

The Ultimate Course for Beginner and Intermediate Crochet (button)
Advanced level: “Crochet Cute Critters: 26 Easy Amigurumi Patterns” by Sarah Zimmerman (Amazon)

Crochet Cute Critters: 26 Easy Amigurumi Patterns Book Cover

This bestselling crochet book will give you itchy fingers as you flip through all the adorable creatures waiting to come to life. Create your very own crochet zoo, starting at Alex the Alligator through to Zina the Zebra. Based on Amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting stuffed toys, this book is great for those who want to create special gifts for family or friends. While you will need to know some basic techniques to get started, the animals all follow similar head and body patterns, allowing you to build on your skills for each project.

Crochet Cute Critters: 26 Easy Amigurumi Pattern (button)

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Learning how to knit during the pandemic improved my mental health – here are 9 online knitting courses, kits, and books to help beginners get started

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Knitting projects
  • Hobbies that help you reach a flow state (where you’re relaxed while also engaged) have wonderful mental health benefits.
  • I started knitting during the pandemic and it helped me de-stress, keep my brain active, and feel more connected to loved ones.
  • Below are 9 online classes, books, kits, and resources to learn how to knit.

Getting into a state of flow – complete focus on whatever you’re doing that you lose track of time – has been long regarded as a reliable way to boost positive mental health. One way to enter a flow state is through fun hobbies that are challenging, provide a sense of achievement, and lead to greater self-discovery. 

Knitting, as it turns out, boasts some incredible benefits such as stress relief, relaxation, creativity, higher concentration, and even a stronger sense of community, according to one 2020 survey.

Like millions of others, I picked up a pair of knitting needles for the first time when the pandemic began. For almost a year, my new hobby has helped me unwind, keep my brain active, and avoid doomscrolling for hours on my phone. 

Knitting a scarf

But perhaps the greatest benefit has been a deeper connection to the people I’m knitting for. As an Australian living overseas, it’s been over a year since I’ve seen family or friends, many of whom have had new babies I haven’t had the chance to meet yet. As I knit and purl my way through a baby beanie, I imagine one day being able to place it on that tiny head, and it makes me feel closer to the people I miss the most. Plus, completing a cute handmade project at the end of the week provides a sense of accomplishment and pride many of us may crave.

So, if you’re ready to try your hand at a new hobby, below are 9 resources to learn how to do it, whether you’re a true beginner or looking for a more advanced challenge.

9 online courses, kits, videos, and books to learn how to knit:

Beginner level: How to Knit a Scarf for Total Beginners (Sheep & Stitch)

how to knit a beginner scarf pin

Scarves are the launch pad for most new knitters. They are super simple as you don’t need to follow a pattern, and sizing is not important. The free scarf pattern tutorial from Sheep & Stitch is really easy to follow and starts at the absolute beginning for anyone who has never picked up knitting needles before. 

It also walks you through choosing needles to casting-off, and the video is perfect for visual learners who want to follow along. All you need to get started is a ball of wool and some needles, and you can wear your new scarf by the end of the weekend.

How to Knit a Scarf for Total Beginners (button)
Beginner Level: How to Knit: Easy for Beginners (YouTube)

RJ Knits Merchandise

RJ Knits is an incredibly helpful YouTube channel run by Ryan, a writer by day, knitter by night. With over 126k subscribers, it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about knitting.

Start at the beginning in this two-part knitting for beginners series. Once you have a handle of the basic knit/purl stitches, check out his other beginner projects such as knitting on the round, cable knitting, and knitting with two colors.

How to Knit: Easy for Beginners (button)
Beginner Level: Beginner Knitting Kit (Etsy)

Beginner Knitting Kit

If you love a chunky winter scarf, you can learn how to make your own with this beautiful pack which includes just the right amount of bright white or charcoal wool for an adult-sized creation. Earning hundreds of 5-star reviews, this beginners kit includes clear written and video instructions. 

Beginner Knitting Kit (Etsy) (button)
Beginner Level: Cozy Knit Stockings (The Crafters Box)

Cozy Knit Stockings

Another perfect beginner project is an oversized knit holiday stocking (because it’s never too early to think about Christmas!). All orders are bundled with the pattern and just the right amount of wool per stocking so you can choose between Christmas-themed colors (white, green, gray, or cranberry). Get started now and hang them with pride on your mantelpiece by the holidays.

Cozy Knit Stockings (button)
Intermediate Level: Luca Pom Hat Knitting Kit, (Amazon)

Stitch & Story Luca Pom Hat Knitting Kit, Navy with Dust Pink Pompom

This knitting kit includes everything you need to make an extremely cute contrast beanie with a big fluffy pom-pom. Simple instructions are included, but the swirl pattern can be a bit tricky, which is why we’ve classified it as an intermediate-level option.

While it may not be the cheapest kit, it includes extremely soft, 100% Merino wool and high-quality bamboo knitting needles that will last you a long time.

Luca Pom Hat Knitting Kit (button)
Intermediate Level: Learn Advanced Techniques with a Trendy Headband (Skillshare)

Intermediate Level: Learn Advanced Techniques with a Trendy Headband (Skillshare)

Join almost 1,000 students for the fourth and final class in this series, where expert knitting Davina will show you how to keep your ears warm with a comfy headband. With two slightly different patterns to try, you can knit one for a friend and keep one for yourself. We think this is one of the best intermediate choices — it’s challenging, yet quick!

Free with a 14-day Skillshare trial, then $13.99/month or $32/month.

Knitting IV: Learn Advanced Techniques with a Trendy Headband (button)
Intermediate level: 10 Rows a Day (Patreon)

Patreon Lifestyle Image

When you’re ready to take it up a notch, expert knitter Maryna is there to guide you. Her website 10 Rows a Day is full of simple tutorials, patterns, and handy sizing charts. Subscribing to her Patreon account gives you access to ad-free knitting video tutorials weekly, plus practical tips for everyday problems such as “Quick Way to See How Yarn Colors Work Together.”

Subscribe for $5 per month.

10 Rows a Day (button)
Intermediate Level: “Getting Started Knitting Socks” by Ann Budd (Amazon)

Getting Started Knitting Socks (Getting Started series) Hardcover

Who doesn’t love cozy, woolen socks on cold, winter nights? Make your own with this bestselling book, complete with detailed photo instructions, handy tips, and 16 patterns for feet of all sizes to help you whip up a perfect pair in no time. 

Getting Started Knitting Socks (button)
Beginner to Advanced level: The Complete Guide to Knitting | Beginner to Advanced (Udemy)

Lily Love Knitting Instructor Lifestyle Image (18)

Over nine self-paced hours, this 5-star Udemy course starts with scarf-knitting basics and ends on the expert techniques needed to finish a pair of gloves. The instructor is warm and engaging as she explains various techniques in a succinct and easy-to-understandway, covering the circular knitting technique, how to increase and decrease stitches, and a number of pretty patterns.

The Complete Guide to Knitting | Beginner to Advanced (button)

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Coursera Plus grants unlimited access to almost all of the site’s online courses for $399 a year, and can be a great option if you want multiple professional certificates

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Coursera New Logo E Learning  4x3
  • Coursera Plus is a $399 annual subscription that grants members unlimited access to over 90% of the e-learning platform’s online courses (over 3,000 classes) for a year.
  • Members can also earn unlimed professional certificates to add to their resumes or LinkedIn profiles.
  • Below is everything you need to know Coursera Plus, including how payments and refunds work.

Coursera, a popular e-learning platform with thousands of varied online courses, offers an annual subscription called Coursera Plus.

Members pay an upfront annual fee of $399 to get unlimited access to 90% of Coursera classes. For anyone looking to learn a new skill, take multiple classes per year, or earn a certificate they can add to their LinkedIn profile, it could be a good investment (and a cheaper alternative to grad school, depending on your interests).

Below is everything you need to know about how to sign up, which classes are included, and how to get a refund if it’s not for you.

What is Coursera Plus, and what’s included with the subscription?

Coursera Plus is Coursera’s unlimited annual subscription. It’s $399 for the year and gives members unlimited access to over 90% of the platform’s course catalog. You can access more than 3,000 classes taught by top instructors of prestigious universities (like Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, the University of Michigan, or UPenn) and companies (Google Cloud, Goldman Sachs, and VMware, to name a few). Specializations and professional certificates are also included for everything from data science and business to health and personal development.

Once you’re a member, a Coursera Plus badge appears on all the classes included in the subscription. You can browse a few of Coursera’s most popular courses here, or skim the list of classes included with membership.

Coursera Plus does not include degrees or MasterTrack certificates, and some professional certificates are excluded, such as those offered by Amazon Web Services and IBM.

How many certificates can you earn with Coursera Plus?

According to the company, you earn a certificate for every course, specialization, or professional certificate you complete. You can share your certificate on your LinkedIn profile, with your employer, and on your CV and resume.

Does Coursera Plus save you money?

It depends. Without a membership, you can audit Coursera courses either completely for free or only during their seven-day trial, but you won’t get access to all of a class’s features, such as graded homework and verified certificates of completion that you can add to your CV, résumé, or LinkedIn profile. To get full access, you need to pay either a one-time or monthly fee, depending on the course.

So if you plan on paying for full access to multiple courses, Coursera Plus may save you money depending on what they are and how much each individual course costs. But, if you only take one or two paid courses per year, you may be better off without it.

If you’re enrolling in a specialization, which is essentially a bundle of related courses designed to help you master a specific topic, Coursera Plus may save you money – especially if you take longer to complete your specialization than its estimated time frame (which is three months on average) or plan to enroll in multiple specializations and/or other classes in the same year. 

Most Coursera specializations charge a monthly fee for access to all the courses within the specialization until you’ve completed every one or you’ve canceled the subscription. When you pay for a specialization and finish it, you get a certificate as well as course certificates for each course you completed within it.

Comparative price breakdown: Coursera Plus subscription vs. specialization subscriptions

A Coursera Plus subscription is $399 for the year, which breaks down to $33.25 a month. On average, a specialization ranges from $49-$79 a month and takes three months to complete, according to Coursera. The average cost is $147-$237 for a specialization without Coursera Plus; you’d pay $99.75 over the same three-month time frame with Plus. 

But if you don’t plan on taking other courses and complete the specialization’s courses in three months, you may save money by doing it à la carte. If you want to take your time completing a course, enroll in multiple courses throughout the year, or choose a specialization subscription with a longer time frame (some can take up to a year to complete), you’re probably a good candidate for Coursera Plus. 

What happens to any specialization subscriptions you’re already enrolled in when you subscribe to Coursera Plus?

You need to cancel those subscriptions so you aren’t charged twice; they won’t be automatically canceled. Find step-by-step instructions for canceling an existing subscription here

According to the company, none of your progress will be impacted by canceling previous subscriptions.

Can you get a refund? 

You can receive a full refund within 14 days of your payment, but if you earned a certificate using Plus during those 14 days, it would be revoked.

To get a refund, visit your My Purchases page within 14 days of purchase and submit a refund request. The company says your refund will be processed immediately and without questions.

Can you ask your employer to reimburse your Coursera Plus fee?

If your employer offers educational reimbursements that include online-learning programs, you should be able to. You’ll receive an email receipt that you can submit to your employer for reimbursement. But you should check with your employer before purchasing to be sure. 

Sign up for Coursera Plus here for $399 per year.

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11 Johns Hopkins online courses you can take for free, including a COVID-19 contact tracing class with an automatic certificate

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Johns Hopkins classes 4x3
  • Like Harvard, MIT, and Columbia, Johns Hopkins University offers many free online courses, with free or paid certificates.
  • Johns Hopkins also has longer programs and multi-course specializations to earn certificates of completion to show future employers.
  • Below are 11 free online courses offered through Coursera and FutureLearn, in subjects ranging from public health to web programming.

Ranked as the 10th best college in the world, Johns Hopkins University is famous for its top-notch programs in research, medicine, and engineering. Whether you’re interested in science, health, or coding, there are probably many classes at JHU that could be helpful to your career growth or personal development. 

Luckily, through platforms like Coursera and FutureLearn, a good number of courses are available completely for free online, with optional certificates ($0-$79) to add to your LinkedIn or resume. 

There are also paid programs and specializations (multiple courses bundled together) offered by Johns Hopkins, such as Data Science or Foundations of Global Health, that cost a fraction of what a master’s degree would and also offer certification upon completion.

11 online Johns Hopkins courses you can take for free:

COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Woman holding a phone in the street using the contact tracing app

Length: 7 hours

Certificate cost: Free

For those interested in contact tracing jobs, this introductory course covers the science of SARS-CoV-2, how contact tracing works, the ethical implications of tracking COVID-19 cases, and some of the most common contact tracing obstacles. As part of a special promotion, the fee for the certificate is waived, meaning you will automatically receive a certificate of completion.

at John Hopkins University on Coursera (button)
Measuring and Maximizing Impact of COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Shot of a group of people wearing masks in the city with circles around them indicating Covid-19 tracing and transmission

Length: 3 hours

Certificate cost: Free

Intended for managers and developers of contact tracing programs, this course provides helpful metrics and strategies to improve contact tracing efforts through Contact Tracing Evaluation and Strategic Support Application (ConTESSA). Like the COVID-19 contact tracing course, this one also provides automatic certification.

at Johns Hopkins University on Coursera (button)
COVID-19: Effective Nursing in Times of Crisis

Nursing students wearing protective face masks attending class

Length: 2 weeks (2 hours per week)

Certificate cost: Free

This course covers the current challenges nurses are facing during the pandemic and shares tips on how to provide the best care possible to COVID-19 patients in low-resource environments and crisis settings. Like the contact tracing courses, this one also provides certification upon completion, free of charge.

at Johns Hopkins University on FutureLearn (button)
Psychological First Aid

Man having a cognitive behavioral therapy video call with mental health professional

Length: 6 hours

Certificate cost: $49

Using the RAPID model (Reflective listening, Assessment of needs, Prioritization, Intervention, and Disposition), students learn how to help those dealing with mental trauma and injuries, whether at school, work, home, church, the military, or anywhere else.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for Web Developers

GettyImages 1171809405

Length: 5 weeks (40 hours total)

Certificate cost: $79

Aspiring web developers and programmers go through the beginning steps of learning HTML and CSS before moving on to more advanced coding and building web applications in JavaScript.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
Chemicals and Health

Cropped shot of a female scientist drawing up a molecule

Length: 11 hours

Certificate cost: $49

This course explores how chemicals in our environment impact our health, including how our bodies get exposed to them, what to do when they get there, how to measure them, and the bigger picture of what they mean for our collective and individual health.

at Johns Hopkins at Coursera (button)
Design and Interpretation of Clinical Trials

Student learning during isolation period

Length: 12 hours

Certificate cost: $49

Clinical trials evaluate new treatments for diseases, and how they’re constructed makes a crucial difference in their effectiveness. This course covers the basic design and mechanical principles of randomized clinical trials, as well as how they’re analyzed and reported. 

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health

woman working on laptop with headphones

Length: 6 weeks (24 hours total)

Certificate cost: $49

Led by staff from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, this course covers how food in the US intersects with equity, public health, and the environment. Students learn the politics and history behind how food is consumed and distributed throughout the country.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change

learning from doctor online

Length: 6 weeks (18 hours total)

Certificate cost: $49

This course covers the scope of gun violence in the US, individual state standards for gun ownership, evidence-based gun violence reduction programs, and how public opinion differs on gun control and how to best reduce shootings in America.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
Introduction to the Biology of Cancer

Teenage girl with face protective mask having online school class at home

Length: 8 hours

Certificate cost: $49

Meant for anyone who wishes to have a better understanding of cancer, this course goes over the molecular biology of cancer, the risks factors of major types of cancers worldwide, and how different cancers are screened and treated.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
Foundations of Health Equity Research

Girl cooperating with her clients while working from her home office

Length: 5 weeks (15 hours total)

Certificate cost: $49

For anyone interested in health equity research, this course covers the core fundamentals, along with insights on where health inequalities occur as well as how to engage community stakeholders to push for change.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)

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If you want to learn American Sign Language, here are 10 free or cheap online courses, apps, books, and resources to start with

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

ASL Learning IPhone 4x3

If you want to help make the world more accessible for Deaf people, learning sign language can be both an exciting and worthwhile challenge. There are many different types of sign language – even countries with a shared spoken language (like the US, UK, and Australia) might have variations in their sign language. American Sign Language (ASL) is used by roughly one million people as their main form of communication in the US and Canada.

I have mild to moderate hearing loss, and I recently started to learn how to fingerspell in ASL because I want to communicate better with other members of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community who do not use spoken language. It’s been very helpful to start small with free resources that I can use at my own pace.

If you’re looking to learn American Sign Language, there are many affordable classes, apps, and books to help you learn how to fingerspell, remember key vocab words, and get meaningful practice with other people.

The 10 best online courses, apps, books, and resources to learn American Sign Language:

For learning vocabulary and fingerspelling


ASL Connect (Gallaudet University)

If you’re going to learn ASL, you may as well start with Gallaudet University, the first university in the world specifically founded to accommodate Deaf and hard-of-hearing students. (It’s also featured in its alumnus Nyle DiMarco’s Netflix series “Deaf U.”) Gallaudet’s ASL Connect is free and has videos that go over core vocabulary to express emotions and basic needs. ASL Connect also has four practice modules that will walk you through the fundamentals of ASL, such as introducing yourself.

American Sign Language University (Lifeprint)

American Sign Language University, created by UC Sacramento ASL instructor Bill Vicars, teaches its users a plethora of crucial vocabulary words and even offers online quizzes for free. A really neat part of this website is its First 100 Signs section, which teaches you 100 common signs used between parents and young children. This is a great place to start if you want to learn American Sign Language but don’t know where to begin. If you like ASL University, you can access additional lessons for $9.95 a month (or $59.95 a year) here.

ASL Fingerspelling Practice

If you want to learn how to fingerspell – signing the letters in a word instead of using the sign for the word – this free app is a great place to practice. Fingerspelling can be helpful while you’re expanding your sign language vocabulary and spelling out people’s names. There are two modes on this app: expressive and receptive mode. With expressive mode, you fingerspell the word seen on screen. With receptive mode, you watch the fingerspelling and type the word you see.

American Sign Language “Basics” (Udemy)

In this course, you’ll learn fingerspelling, basic greetings, and even a little about Deaf culture. In addition to about two hours of instructional videos, there are lab practices where you can try using what you just learned. And even after the course is over, you have unlimited access to all the instructional materials.

For screen-less learning

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Signing Illustrated: The Complete Learning Guide

For those who want to learn American Sign Language while taking a break from never-ending online time, a copy of “Signing Illustrated: The Complete Learning Guidemight be a good first step. It has over 1,350 signs to practice and includes vocabulary review exercises.

The American Sign Language Phrase Book

Once you know the basics, learning how to sign different phrases is the clear next step to communicating with other people in American Sign Language. With over 500 phrases, this book focuses on a range of topics, from travel to religion. The phrases in this book also range in difficulty — as your signing improves, you can always try to give more detailed responses that are outlined in the book.

For immersive learning

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Start ASL 

If you’re looking for a self-guided way to progress from beginner-level to intermediate ASL, this free, three-level course might be right up your alley. Start ASL provides learners with access to 170 video lessons by nine different signers — and 1,100 videos for specific vocabulary words and phrases.

Sign School

Sign School not only provides different ASL resources for free, but also makes learning fun. At Sign School, you can learn sign language through videos and also engage in interactive learning exercises, quick lectures, and reviews. You can also play games to test your knowledge and receive a short “Sign of the Day” video sent to your inbox. 

For one-on-one attention



The language learning platform italki connects instructors with learners over video chat, and you can meet with instructors to learn or improve your American Sign Language skills. There are 11 ASL teachers on italki, with each one charging a different fee. Of available teachers, trial lessons start at $5 an hour and regular lessons start at $8 an hour. 


SignOn was created with the intention to teach people American Sign Language while also exposing students to Deaf culture. In 30 minute one-on-one lessons, Deaf ASL ambassadors work with students to improve their ASL skills, whether through practicing basic vocabulary or engaging in conversation. SignOn sessions range from $25 for one session, $45 for two, or $100 for five, although there are also free practice topics available on the website.

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