11 popular Yale courses you can take online for free, including a class on how to be happier in your daily life

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Yale University is one of the best 15 schools in the world, but you don’t need to get into the 6.1% of accepted applicants in order to take one of its courses.

You can take Yale’s classes online without paying a cent – including The Science of Well-Being, an adaptation of the school’s most popular on-campus course ever. Barriers typically associated with Ivy Leagues – exclusivity, cost, location – don’t factor into massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Below, you’ll find a handful of free Yale courses from Coursera as well as Yale’s own Open Yale Courses platform. You can pay to upgrade for graded homework and certificates of completion through Coursera, but Open Yale Courses only gives you access to free lectures and readings.

11 free, popular Yale University courses you can take online:

The Science of Well-Being

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Free to enroll

Length: 19 hours

Based on the most popular course in Yale’s history, this class combines positive psychology with behavioral science to increase your own happiness using concrete, productive habits. 

Read our full review of The Science of Well-Being course here. For more tips on how to improve your happiness, read our interview with Laurie Santos, the course’s professor, here.

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus. It’s also eligible for financial aid.

Financial Markets

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Free to enroll

Length: 27 hours

Taught by Yale economics professor Robert Shiller, this course is an introduction to risk management and behavioral finance principles so students can better understand securities, insurance, and banking industries in the real world.

The class places an emphasis on “financially-savvy leadership skills” and is structured around the goal of using these industries effectively and in the service of a better society. 

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus. It’s also eligible for financial aid.

Introduction to Psychology

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Free to enroll

Length: 15 hours

This intro class (and the most popular psychology course on Coursera) provides students with a comprehensive overview of the scientific study of thought and behavior. Course topics include perception, communication, learning, memory, decision-making, persuasion, emotions, and social behavior.

Students look at how these aspects are affected by variables like development and illness while grappling with tough questions like “What makes us happy?”

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus. It’s also eligible for financial aid.

Introduction to Negotiation

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Free to enroll

Length: 31 hours

Designed to help students build a framework for analyzing and structuring negotiations, this class includes real-world opportunities to negotiate with other students using case studies that are based on common business and life situations.

Course topics range from negotiation preparation to making ultimatums, and students can receive feedback on their performance, as well as compare their arguments to those of their peers. The course also offers insight into more complex situations, such as negotiating when you have no power, negotiating over email, and the role of gender differences in negotiation. 

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus. It’s also eligible for financial aid.

Moral Foundations of Politics

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Free to enroll

Length: 45 hours 

“When do governments deserve our allegiance, and when should they be denied it?”

Ian Shapiro, a Yale political science professor, delves into how the modern West has responded to this question. Students survey the major political theories of the Enlightenment, as well as the later rejection of Enlightenment political thinking. The class also covers how democratic politics relate to Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment political thinking.

Students consider the practical implications of the diverse theories through debates on concrete problems such as economic inequality, affirmative action, the distribution of healthcare, and more.

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus. It’s also eligible for financial aid.

Everyday Parenting: The ABCs of Child Rearing

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Free to enroll

Length: 21 hours

In this course, Dr. Alan E. Kazdin, Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry, offers step-by-step instructions for building ideal behaviors in children and adolescents. He also addresses common parenting misconceptions and ineffective strategies.

Among many other techniques, students learn that simple modifications to tone of voice and phrasing can be highly effective.

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus. Subtitles are available in Chinese and Spanish.

A Law Student’s Toolkit

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Free to enroll

Length: 16 hours

Good for both aspiring law students in search of an advantage and advanced law students looking for a refresher, this class goes over foundational topics like terminology, concepts, and tools that lawyers and legal academics use to make their arguments. 

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus. It’s also eligible for financial aid.

The Global Financial Crisis

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Free to enroll

Length: 64 hours

Timothy F. Geithner, former US Secretary of the Treasury, and Yale professor Andrew Metrick examine the causes, events, policy responses, and aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, discussing lessons we’ve learned to any future crises.

Topics include housing and mortgages; safe assets and the global savings glut; anxiety, and more.

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus.

Moralities of Everyday Life

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Free to enroll

Length: 24 hours

This course delves into the psychological foundations of our moral lives. Topics include compassion, the origins of morality, how different cultures influence moral thought and action, and more. The class ends by exploring the paradox of being a moral agent when studies show that our moral behavior is powerfully influenced by the situations we find ourselves in. 

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus. It’s also eligible for financial aid.

Essentials of Global Health

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Free to enroll

Length: 70 hours

Essentials of Global Health is designed to be a comprehensive introduction to global health. The class has a particular emphasis on low- and middle-income countries, the health of the poor, health disparities, and how health matters in the context of global interdependence. 

Much of the course focuses on investigating five key questions. What do people get sick, disabled, and die from? Why do they suffer from these conditions? Which people are most affected? Why should we care about such concerns? What can be done to address key health issues as quickly as possible, and in sustainable ways?  

Note: This course is included in Coursera Plus, and it’s eligible for financial aid.

Introduction to Climate Change and Health

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Free seven-day trial

Length: 15 hours

This course was designed to get critical information on climate change into the hands of people who can take concrete steps to address its threat, including health and environmental professionals, changemakers, and the general public. 

Robert Dubrow, a Yale epidemiology professor, covers the science of climate change with an emphasis on health equity. Students learn how climate change affects human health, its adverse health effects (including those related to extreme heat, waterborne infections, and insect-borne diseases among others), and how measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can both limit future climate change and provide immediate health “co-benefits”.

Note: This course is eligible for financial aid. 

FAQ:

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Access to lectures and assignments depends on your type of enrollment. If you take a course in Audit Mode, you can see most course material for free. To access graded assignments and earn a certificate, you need to purchase the Certificate Experience, either during or after your audit.

If you don’t see the audit option:

  • The course may not offer an audit option. You can try a free trial instead, or apply for financial aid.
  • The course may offer a ‘Full Course, No Certificate’ option instead. This alternative lets you see all course materials, submit required assignments, and get a final grade. This also means that you will not be able to purchase a Certificate Experience.

Browse all courses from Yale University on Coursera here

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This free, online social work course from the University of Michigan inspired me to apply to grad school. Here’s why I recommend it to anyone considering a degree in social work.

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With the ongoing pandemic, everyday news of racial injustice, and general challenges of the world, it’s unfortunately not uncommon to feel helpless right now. Although I’m privileged to have maintained my physical and mental health over the past year, it’s also taught me just how much I value supporting others in any way I can.

Lately, I had been curious about how I could fuse my background in journalism with my passion for mental health advocacy. So I took to Coursera and discovered the University of Michigan’s Social Work: Practice, Policy and Research MasterTrack (one of the school’s many online offerings).

I enrolled in the free, self-paced introductory course to help me decide if I wanted to commit to the full MasterTrack, which takes about 6-8 months to complete. Three weeks later, I flew through nearly the entire intro course in two sittings – and felt ready to apply to part-time graduate programs in social work.

Coursera Mastertrack

I’d been entertaining the idea of grad school – and MSW programs specifically – since I graduated from U-M in 2019, and this course was the push I needed to finally submit applications to MSW programs. It was a small preview into the history and importance of social work, an opportunity for self-reflection and understanding my role in promoting social justice, and a test in balancing a full-time job with part-time learning.

If you’re considering a career in social work, I highly recommend taking this course. While working through it, I entered a much sought-after flow state of engagement, empowerment, and confidence that confirmed my suspicion that social work would be the right path for me.

Course structure

Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change breaks its instruction down into four main sections, with expanded versions of the following Coursera descriptions included in the syllabus:

All four modules include videos from practicing social workers, alumni, and faculty from Michigan’s School of Social Work. This, for me, was the selling point of the course: hearing firsthand how each speaker has used their experience in social work to better understand others’ perspectives, empower those they work with, and advocate for the communities they care so deeply about. Seeing them talk about their professions with such passion was what compelled me to finally look into part-time degrees in social work.

However, it’s important to note that the vast majority of the course is presented through these video accounts. The videos are accessible and include captioning, but there are far more of them than there are discussion opportunities, quizzes, or interactive materials (although there are multiple occurrences of these other learning tools as well). Since everyone learns differently, it’s understandable that much of the course taking place via video could be a pro for some and a con for others.

Timing and cost

The course is estimated to take about 12 hours to complete, and when I enrolled, it was suggested that I dedicate one week to each module – or three hours each week – to learning. In actuality, I completed two and a half modules in four hours on a Saturday night. The remaining modules were completed in two smaller chunks on weeknights. I’d carve out about 8-12 hours for the course, but it will depend on your learning style whether you’d rather spread it out over the course of a few weeks or fly through it in larger blocks.

Coursera Social Work certificate

The course is free to audit, though you can also pay $49 for a certificate of completion to add to your LinkedIn or resume. I appreciated having the graded quizzes and certificate for accountability and career development, and the assessments were pretty straightforward – I enjoyed the quizzes and didn’t find them particularly challenging.

If you’re looking to pursue the Social Work: Practice, Policy and Research MasterTrack, then the certificate is worth it because its cost can be applied to the MasterTrack. If not, then the value of the certificate will depend on your career ambitions and learning style – it might just be worth it to audit the course for free.

Enrolling in the MasterTrack and applying to the MSW:

If you finish the course and would like to take the entire MasterTrack, you can enroll directly through Coursera with no required application. The MasterTrack is $2,000, and a detailed FAQ page explains the enrollment process.

If you’d like to apply to Michigan’s School of Social Work, you can submit an Eligibility Review Request to the university before enrolling in the MasterTrack. This form, which requires uploading your resume, is used to assess whether you’d be eligible to apply the MasterTrack to an online or in-person Master of Social Work degree at UMich. It is not automatically supplemental to an MSW application and MasterTrack students are not guaranteed acceptance.

The completion of the MasterTrack certificate reduces the master’s degree from 60 credits to 45, potentially saving a significant amount of time and tuition costs. However, it’s important to note that the MasterTrack certificate is only applicable to Michigan’s MSW programs – it can’t be applied to other schools or programs.

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The bottom line:

If you’re curious about others’ professional experiences in social work, passionate about social justice, and considering social work as a career, I’d highly recommend this free course as a starting point. The engaging videos, varying perspectives, and powerful takeaways have already left a lasting positive impact on my future.

Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change (button)

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Coursera and edX both offer certificate programs at a fraction of the cost of grad school – here are the main differences between them

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To mitigate common economic and geographic barriers to getting a master’s degree, established online platforms edX and Coursera have special programs like edX MicroMasters and Coursera MasterTracks, which offer graduate-level courses for a fraction of the average on-campus price tag.

Ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, they can cover up to 50% of a university master’s program’s curriculum. On top of that, you can usually apply your MicroMasters or MasterTrack credits towards select full master’s programs to reduce costs and finish your degree faster. Since both platforms count top universities among their partners, that could eventually mean lower overall tuition costs at schools like MIT, Duke, the University of Michigan, Indiana University, Georgia Tech, and more.

Below, we compared the basic details for each bite-sized graduate program below. Ultimately, the best platform will be the one that offers the program closest to your particular interests and goals. But, in terms of services, edX may edge out Coursera – its offerings are cheaper, significantly more varied, and more lenient overall.

You can find detailed FAQs on Coursera’s MasterTracks and edX’s MicroMasters here, and learn more about Coursera and edX here, including how they compare to each other as e-learning platforms.

You can browse all of edX’s MicroMasters programs here.

You can browse all of Coursera’s MasterTrack programs here.

What is an edX MicroMasters?

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An edX MicroMasters is an online graduate-level program with courses that cover 25% to 50% of a university’s master’s degree curriculum for a lower cost. 

MicroMasters are designed as a stepping stone toward credit in a full master’s degree, or to strengthen stand-alone skills to help advance your career, offering a certificate of completion to add to your LinkedIn profile or resume. On average, they take roughly six to 12 months to complete.

Plus, every MicroMasters program on edX must be eligible for credit in a full master’s degree program, so you can take the MicroMasters on its own, or potentially apply it to a full degree online afterward. 

While every master’s program offered online through edX includes a MicroMasters program, some of these MicroMasters programs can also be transferred to an on-campus master’s degree, such as the Project Management MicroMasters which is designed to count towards a master’s degree in Professional Studies at RIT. If you’re accepted into an eligible master’s program, your MicroMasters program counts towards the degree requirements.

What is a Coursera MasterTrack?

Coursera Mastertrack

A Coursera MasterTrack is a portion of an on-campus master’s program that’s been adapted online at a lower price than taking the classes in person. On average, MasterTracks range from four to eight months.

Each MasterTrack is a stackable, for-credit program with several courses. In some programs, students are allowed to earn credit toward the full master’s degree program from which the MasterTrack certificate program is based.

For instance, you may apply to the MScA degree from the University of Chicago after the online Machine Learning for Analytics MasterTrack Certificate program and, if admitted, your MasterTrack Certificate will equate to the first two classes in the program (approximately 18% of course requirements), allowing you a headstart on your degree. Sometimes, the MasterTrack may even be “cashed in” to lower the cost of the full, on-campus master’s program.

You can check out a full review of a Coursera MasterTrack program here.

How much do they cost on average?

edX MicroMasters range from $1,000 to $1,500, and you pay all at once. You can buy MicroMasters courses on an individual basis, but if you bundle all the courses in the program at once, you’ll typically save 10% overall. 

All individual courses in edX MicroMasters programs are free to try, so learners can test them out before deciding to pay to upgrade to the verified track. 

Coursera MasterTracks range between $2,000 to $5,000. Some MasterTracks offer installation payment programs — otherwise, students can choose to pay upfront and get a 5% discount. You can’t buy individual courses within a MasterTrack, and you typically can’t try out any of the courses for free before signing up. 

Do they offer financial aid?

Coursera doesn’t offer financial aid or free audit access on its MasterTrack courses.

edX offers financial aid and trial periods for its MicroMasters programs. You can find more information here, though you’ll typically enroll in the course as an audit learner and complete a financial aid application here

How does academic credit work?

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edX MicroMasters

The edX MicroMasters credits you earn may be accepted by eligible on-campus or online Master’s programs to cover a portion of your master’s degree.

If you’ve successfully earned a MicroMasters program certificate, you can apply to the on-campus or online master’s programs that may accept credits from your MicroMasters program. Every MicroMasters program must be eligible for credit in a master’s degree program. To find your program’s specific details, search for “Certificate & Credit Pathways” or scroll to find this section in the FAQs at the bottom of the page. Once you’re accepted into the master’s program, you can apply your certificate toward a segment of the full master’s degree to reduce the tuition cost and potentially finish your degree sooner. 

Coursera MasterTrack

Coursera MasterTrack credits are often offered for the institution’s full master’s program, but not always. Sometimes, they may reduce the cost of the full-time program.

Once you’ve completed a university’s MasterTrack program, you can sometimes apply to the institution’s full master’s program. If admitted, your certificate will sometimes transfer and equate to a certain number of classes or credits in the program. The exact details vary by school and degree. To find your program’s specific details, search for “Accelerate Your Path to a Degree” or “Earn degree credit” on the page. 

However, some MasterTrack programs don’t offer credit exchanges. For programs like the Blockchain Applications MasterTrack Certificate from Duke, completion doesn’t give you on-campus credit. It does make you eligible to fast-track your application process and get a scholarship that covers10% of the cost of Duke University’s Master of Engineering in FinTech if you apply and are accepted to the program. 

The bottom line: Which one is better?

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It thoroughly depends on which platform has the best program for your career or educational goals, but edX may have better overall perks. 

edX lets you audit courses for free, gives you lifetime access to its materials, and can provide financial aid for its MicroMasters, while Coursera doesn’t. edX MicroMasters are also cheaper on average than Coursera MasterTrack programs, and edX offers significantly more post-graduate program options.

That being said, it all depends on what you want to study — Coursera has no shortage of great MasterTracks, including offerings from Yale, Duke, and the University of Michigan.

Browse all edX MicroMasters here.

Browse all Coursera MasterTracks here.

A few of the most popular edX and Coursera programs: 

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Free language-learning app Duolingo now offers Yiddish lessons

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If you’re just starting to explore a new language or want to easily build on what you already know, Duolingo is a fun, free, and low-key way to squeeze in a few minutes of practice every day. Using cute animations and short, gamified lessons, it’s one of our favorite apps for learning a new language, whether you’re brushing up on high school Spanish or French or learning Korean or Hindi for the first time.

And now, Duolingo just added Yiddish to its impressive roster of languages, which includes ones like Navajo, Swahili, and Scottish Gaelic.

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One unique part of Duolingo is that it uses volunteer contributors to develop new courses. For its Yiddish course, Duolingo used “a team of dedicated contributors representing the three major Yiddish dialects and from a variety of backgrounds – from a civil engineer who grew up speaking Yiddish at home as a former member of the Hasidic community, to three Gen-Zers inspired by their heritage to carry on the tradition,” according to the company.

By relying on a pool of Yiddish speakers across different age groups and regions, the lessons feature culturally significant phrases and examples on top of the core grammar and vocabulary basics of Yiddish – which can be especially useful if users are taking the course to connect more with their family or culture.

Duolingo is free to download and use, though Duolingo Plus ($79.99 for a year) offers perks like an ad-free experience and downloadable lessons.

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Over half a million people signed up for this free Princeton course on the science behind Buddhist meditation practices. I took it and came away with a better understanding of myself.

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  • Robert Wright, a lecturer at Princeton, teaches Buddhism and Modern Psychology on Coursera.
  • The class explores how Buddhist practices like meditation can scientifically improve mental health and wellbeing.
  • I signed up and learned how mindfulness and meditating can make me a happier and healthier person.
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One of the biggest aspects of Buddhism is meditation, a mindfulness practice that promotes awareness in the present moment. The purpose of meditation is to control your state of mind so your thoughts become more focused and peaceful, and the benefits of incorporating meditation into your daily life range from stress and pain reduction to higher self-esteem.

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But how does meditation actually work, and why is it so effective? That’s what Coursera’s Buddhism and Modern Psychology class, which has over 520,000 enrollments, aims to explore. Focusing on the science behind the mindfulness practices of Buddhism (rather than the overall religion), the course is taught by Robert Wright, a journalist and visiting lecturer in Princeton University’s religion department and their Center for Human Values. Wright also wrote “The New York Times” bestseller “Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment,” which combines evolutionary psychology and neuroscience to uphold Buddhist philosophy about the human mind.

The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment” by Robert Wright (medium)

As someone who has taken yoga and meditation courses (including one in India), this course really drew my attention with its focus on Buddhist principles through a philosophical and scientific lens. To see firsthand why so many people are so drawn to this course, I decided to sign up.

The course covers the following topics in six weekly installments:

  • The Buddhist Diagnosis
  • The Buddhist Prescription
  • Does Your Self Exist?
  • A New Model of the Mind
  • Mental Modules and Meditation
  • What is Enlightenment?

Included in the coursework are short lectures, readings, and pre-recorded office hour videos where Wright answers common questions about the course directly from students. It officially takes six weeks to complete the course, but just like most of Coursera’s courses, you can learn at your own pace and time.

What to expect from the class

The class makes more abstract concepts very digestible. It organizes material into weekly installments and further organizes sub-topics of those installments into short lecture videos that take about 10-30 minutes to watch. After each lecture video, there are a few short multiple-choice questions to instantly apply your knowledge. In the first week, you go from understanding the Buddhist perspective on existence and suffering to learning how enlightenment in Buddhism is supported by modern psychology.

The course only requires a commitment of a couple of hours per week for a total of six weeks, but you could also finish it in one week. There is absolutely no required reading or note-taking, but there are two essays: one during the middle of the course and one during the end of the course. The assignments have a specific rubric and are graded by other students taking the course, which makes the process very interactive. Not only will you get to review three other students’ essays, but also gain feedback on your own to see how you did.

Sign up for free here, or keep reading to learn about my experience.

My experience taking the class

Wright makes the course easy to follow, perfect for a beginner who is not familiar with the content. I was initially hesitant to take the course as it discusses a variety of philosophical abstract concepts, which I do not have prior knowledge of. However, Wright uses a lot of relatable examples that break down complex concepts with simpler terms and analogies. He also includes graphics or video clips of speaking to other experts in his lectures to emphasize or expand on a key idea.

The course centers on how natural selection has distorted our perception of reality, making us see things not the way they actually are. With that in mind, Wright emphasizes how a mindful attitude can be valuable because it can help you pick up subtle feelings that you may otherwise miss.

Can Our Feelings Be Trusted

One example he gives is that every time something bad comes to mind, you do not feel rage – your feelings can be subtler than that and it’s important to understand them before resorting to drastic measures. This idea really resonated with me and I learned how mindfulness meditation can be a helpful tool in being aware of what’s really going on in my mind, not what I think is going on. I now try to incorporate meditative practices in my daily routine, especially if I’m stressed (or just having a bad day).

Wright also provides insightful information about the benefits of meditation and other mindfulness practices to live happier and healthier lives. He doesn’t give many suggestions for actionable steps to apply to your life as much as provides a broader framework to help guide you towards healthier decisions. For example, he iterates how meditation can help drive self control by weakening desire, aligning with the scientific idea of operant conditioning to reinforce positive behavior.

Meditation cultivates a still mind, allowing us to enter a realm of consciousness and awareness. Wright highlights that when our mind is calm, we have the power to choose which thoughts are helpful, which ones are going to serve us, and which ones we can let go of. With this in mind, I strive to meditate when I feel upset or fixated on a certain outcome so I can detach myself and make decisions that aren’t based on impulsivity.

Here’s what I liked about the course:

  1. While watching the lecture videos, I felt like I was in a live classroom. Wright engages in a lot of storytelling, especially while explaining Buddhist thought that originated from the discourse that the Buddha gave to his disciples. Wright also uses a chalkboard to organize concepts and reference them during his lectures, which makes the content easy to follow.
    What Did The Buddha Mean_
  2. The course is not live, so you cannot directly chat with the lecturer. However, I really enjoy listening to Wright’s recorded office hours, where he provides additional insight and reviews material from each installment. He also shares analogies that students in the course made. One student described viewing thoughts as semi-independent actors in your brain, which you can listen to objectively and allow or dismiss, just as you may allow or dismiss the spoken thoughts coming from your neighbor.
  3. One aspect of the course that was really interactive was being able to communicate with other students through the discussion forum. It was really interesting to chat about course content and see different viewpoints on the material. Additionally, I was able to explore additional resources and articles suggested by others to expand my knowledge on the power of meditation.
  4. As with most Coursera classes, I enjoyed how I was able to take this course at my own pace and time. This course, in particular, did not have many assessments to showcase mastery of content, which made it stress-free and manageable. I did appreciate the creative aspect of the mid-term and final essays, where we could articulate information in whichever way we wanted, as long as we were hitting the points on the rubric for a passing grade.

The bottom line:

By the end of the class, you learn how meditative practices can transform how your mind operates and may be inspired to start a mindfulness meditation regimen of your own. Personally, I’ve ingrained more mindfulness practices in my life – such as meditating right before taking an exam or interview so I don’t let my nervousness affect my thoughts. I also meditate when I have any intense feelings I need to manage, such as disappointment or grief, to help me calm down or relax. Ultimately, this course not only teaches you how Buddhist thought and psychology are intertwined, but also how these time-tested principles can help us lead more fulfilling lives.

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19 Stanford courses you can take for free online, including a flexible class on designing your dream career

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  • Like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, Stanford offers online courses you can take for free.
  • Classes are available in topics from algorithms and game theory to designing your dream career.
  • All of the online classes are available on e-learning platforms edX and Coursera.

Along with prestigious schools like Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, UPenn, Cornell, and more, Stanford University offers a robust selection of online courses, many of which you can audit entirely for free. For some, you can also pay to get a certificate of completion to add to your resume or LinkedIn profile.

The free courses are available on e-learning platforms like edX and Coursera, and span across a wide variety of subjects, from game theory and algorithm design to training for healthcare workers. There are also classes designed to broaden your thinking in your current profession, including a class on using love as a force for social justice and a course on designing your ideal career. You can browse all of Stanford’s online courses on edX here and on Coursera here.

The 19 best online Stanford classes you can take for free:

Designing Your Career

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Length: 5 weeks

Put together by the Stanford Life Design Lab, this self-paced, non-linear course is perfect for those who are completely stuck as far as what they want to do in their careers. Learners go over how to break into a completely new field, network efficiently, and keep up professional contacts that can genuinely pay off later. 

Enroll on edX here

America’s Poverty and Inequality Course

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Length: 9 weeks

This is a crash course on the income inequality and poverty issues that face America today, exploring how they correlate with race and gender. One key feature of this course is that, while it brings in top scholars to discuss the issue, it breaks down the lectures into short, comprehensive videos. Each video is paired with readings and offers the most up-to-date findings and statistics.

Enroll on edX here

Giving 2.0

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Length: 4 weeks

For anyone and everyone interested in philanthropy, this course helps learners assess and beef up their non-profit strategy, use technology to their benefit, and volunteer more effectively. It also provides opportunities to meet up and discuss ideas with small virtual groups. 

Enroll on Coursera here

International Women’s Health and Human Rights

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Young woman reading from the computer and taking notes at her notebook.

Length: 10 weeks

No matter your line of work, this course can help deepen your understanding of the obstacles women face all over the world — including poverty, food insecurity, gender discrimination, unequal access to education, and violence, among others. Students cover topics such as HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, sex trafficking, war, refugee crises, and education while participating in engaging discussions about these issues.

Enroll on edX here

Love as a Force for Social Justice

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Length: 6 weeks

This class is designed to emphasize the importance of love not just in our personal lives, but as a force for good. In six weeks of classes, love is explored through multiple lenses, including biology, religion, and ethical beliefs. The course also discusses the importance of non-violent communication and ways to strengthen a community, so you can leave with a greater idea of how to utilize love in fighting for different social justice causes.

Enroll on Coursera here

Disaster Medicine Training

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Length: 8 weeks

This course was developed through SEMPER, the Stanford Emergency Medicine Program for Emergency Response, and provides a foundation of knowledge for all healthcare professionals involved in disaster medicine. It provides guidance for teams to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of a disaster, follow a consistent training curriculum, and pursue new research to strengthen their expertise in this area.

Enroll on edX here

American Prophet: The Inner Life and Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Person typing on computer on desk

Length: 11 weeks

While there have been countless books and movies made about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, few explore the deeper feelings of Dr. King himself. Using primary sources — including his unpublished manuscripts and sermons — and on-location videos of places King often visited, the course will provide students with a richer understanding of both MLK and his ideas. 

Enroll on edX here

Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers

Stanford online classes person typing on laptop

Length: 9 weeks

This course is for students with a prerequisite college-level understanding of physical science or engineering. It covers the core concepts and measurements of quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle, the hydrogen atom, and how to apply these ideas to solve problems in fields such as nanotechnology and photonics.

Enroll on edX here

*This course is currently archived, but some course materials are still available.

Language, Proof, and Logic

Stanford online courses woman sitting on floor with laptop on coffee table

Length: 15 weeks

Critical thinking skills are incredibly important, especially when combatting misinformation. This class breaks down the core of all reasoning — that one statement has to be the logical consequence of another. Beyond simply helping you debunk false claims or win arguments, these lessons can also help you navigate your life more efficiently by making more sound decisions.

Enroll on edX here

How to Taper Patients Off of Chronic Opioid Therapy

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Length: One week

This course covers potentially life-altering ground in a very short amount of time. Healthcare providers learn how to assess the risks and benefits of putting a patient on opioid therapy as well as methods for safely tapering them on or off the medication. They’re also provided with a guide on when to refer patients to addiction treatment. 

Enroll on edX here

Game Theory

Stanford online courses person on laptop in office chair

Length: 18 hours

Game theory is the “mathematical modeling of strategic interaction among rational (and irrational) agents,” and beyond applying to literal games, it’s used in fields such as economics and politics to make crucial (yet risky) decisions. This course covers the basics of game theory and strategies, applying them to real-life situations such as auctions or computer science problems.

Enroll on Coursera here

Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 1

Stanford online courses woman typing on laptop on table in front of window

Length: 6 weeks

Learners with even a little bit of programming or computer science experience can benefit from this crash-course in algorithms. Students learn about “Big-oh” notation, sorting and searching, divide and conquer, randomized algorithms, data structures, and graph primitives. They can also test their knowledge as they go along with programming assessments and quizzes.

Enroll on edX here

How to Learn Math: For Students

Stanford online courses using graphing calculator

Length: 6 weeks

If you’re someone who’s always struggled with math, this course is for you. It covers easy strategies for learning math more effectively and helps learners challenge their own negative misconceptions about math and their math-learning abilities, so they can exit the course more empowered to use math in their daily lives and professions.

Enroll on edX here

Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity

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Length: 81 hours

This course helps learners understand the famous theory of relativity by focusing on Albert Einstein himself. Students explore how he came up with his ideas as well as the core elements of the theory, including answering some of the most commonly asked questions about it. 

Enroll on Coursera here

Thinking Critically: Interpreting Randomized Clinical Trials (CME)

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Length: 1 week

This quick class goes over the possibilities of biases in clinical trials, and how to reduce them with techniques like randomization. Students watch videos and read samples of clinical research papers to learn how to more critically evaluate them.

Enroll on edX here

Defining the String Quartet: Haydn

Stanford online courses woman in hijab with laptop on bed

Length: 10 weeks

Composer Joseph Haydn is considered the father of the string quartet, and this course aims to explore both the history and technique behind some of the earliest string quartets. Students also complete an in-depth study of the form, language, and gesture behind Haydn’s String Quartet in F minor, opus 20, no. 5 from 1772, and are supplied with musical notations so they can follow along.

Enroll on edX here

Introduction to Probability Management

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Length: 10 weeks

All you need prior to starting this course is some general knowledge of Excel. You go over concepts like the Flaw of Averages and the Arithmetic of Uncertainty and learn how to create interactive simulation models in Excel.

Enroll on edX here

Machine Learning

woman working on computer

Length: 11 weeks

Perfect for beginners, this popular course covers the basics of machine learning, datamining, and statistical pattern recognition, providing examples on how they’re applied to creating smart robots, text understanding, computer vision, and more.

Enroll on Coursera here

Introduction to Food and Health

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Length: 5 weeks

For anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of nutrition, this documentary-style course covers the basics of healthy eating as well as common food trends. It also features an optional cooking workshop at the end. You can read a full review of the course here.

Enroll on Coursera here

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14 Cornell classes you can take online for free, from how to structure a business agreement to the ethics of food

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Cornell classes 4x3

Cornell is one of the most prestigious schools in the world. To set foot on campus as a student, you need to be in the 11% of applicants who had the test scores, extracurriculars, and je-ne-sais-quoi-factor to be accepted.

But, thanks to partnerships with e-learning companies like edX, you can also take a handful of Cornell courses for free – without relocating, adhering to strict class times, or spending a dime. You can also do the same with other Ivy League institutions and top schools including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, UPenn, MIT, Johns Hopkins, the University of Michigan, Duke, Stanford, NYU, and more.

Below, you can find 14 of the best free Cornell courses available online. Some have the option to pay a small fee for certificates of completion that you can show potential employers or add to your LinkedIn or resume.

14 free Cornell courses you can take through edX:

A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations

Cornell online courses person on laptop on table

A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations (button)

Length: 6 weeks

This hands-on intermediate engineering course teaches you how to analyze common problems involving different physics — structural mechanics, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer — using ANSYS simulation software.

Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom

Cornell classes

Teaching & Learning in the Diverse Classroom (button)

Length: 5 weeks

Learn how to create inclusive, student-centered learning environments with tools such as inclusive course design and student-centered pedagogical practices. Students listen and reflect on lived experiences — including their own — as well as explore key research on learning and diversity and its importance in education. 

Sharks!

cornell classes

Sharks! (button)

Length: 4 weeks

Learn about what makes sharks fascinating through activities — tracking the movements of a wild shark, observing shark habitats and behavior, diving into the fossil record — as well as their functional anatomy, biology, ecological role, impact on human behavior, and conservation efforts among other things.

Relativity and Astrophysics

Cornell classes

Relativity and Astrophysics (button)

Length: 4 weeks

This course combines relativity and astronomy to give students insight and quantitative skills to better understand the universe — from analyzing paradoxes in special relativity to pinpointing daily instances in which relativity is important.

This class is archived, which means you’ll have access to course materials but you won’t be able to upgrade for graded homework or earn a certificate of completion. 

Structuring Business Agreements for Success

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Structuring Business Agreements for Success (button)

Length: 5 weeks

Learn the laws, principles, and guidelines needed to structure business agreements and assess the merits and challenges of different choices.  

This class is archived. 

The Ethics of Eating

Cornell classes

The Ethics of Eating (button)

Length: 4 weeks

This course leads students into an exploration of the ethical issues at play every time we consume or purchase food. Using insights from a diverse group of philosophers, food scientists, activists, industry specialists, and farmers, you’ll consider the morality of food: how it’s produced, distributed, marketed, and consumed.

This class is archived.

An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching

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An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching (button)

Length: 8 weeks

Future STEM faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows learn about effective teaching strategies and supporting science, specifically for STEM classrooms, in this course. Students consider expertise from experienced STEM faculty, educational researchers, and university staff as they tackle course design, teaching strategies, and key learning principles. 

This class is archived. 

Advancing Learning Through Evidence-Based STEM Teaching

edX free Cornell courses man on couch with laptop

Advancing Learning Through Evidence-Based STEM Teaching (button)

Length: 8 weeks

This course prepares current and future STEM teachers in effective teaching strategies and accompanying research to create active, impactful classrooms — including the import of diversity and how to incorporate it into a classroom. This course builds upon the introductory course above.

This class is archived.

American Capitalism: A History

Cornell classes

American Capitalism: A History (button)

Length: 4 weeks

Take a close look at how economic development fueled the US’ rise to power In the end, you should be able to recognize and criticize public policies that interact with American capitalism and have a solid understanding of it as an ever-changing system, even if basic features remain unchanged. 

This class is archived.

Networks, Crowds, and Markets

edX free Cornell courses man with laptop and headphones

Networks, Crowds and Markets (button)

Length: 10 weeks

To understand the interconnectedness of modern life, students get into game theory, the structure of the Internet, social contagion, the spread of social power, and information cascades.

This class is archived. 

The Science and Politics of the GMO

Cornell classes

The Science and Politics of the GMO (button)

Length: 5 weeks

Learn the basics of genetic engineering and biotechnology in this introductory Food and Nutrition course. Students delve into the political debate surrounding GMOs, evaluate how social science concepts affect biotech development and usage, and learn to form good research questions and assess research reports, among other things.

This class is archived. 

The Computing Technology Inside Your Smartphone

Cornell classes

The Computing Technology Inside Your Smartphone (button)

Length: 10 weeks

Explore the powerful computer processor that enables smartphones to be so indispensable. Students start with the fundamentals of computing technology and then move into advanced performance techniques and details of processors. 

This class is archived.

Reclaiming Broken Places: Introduction to Civic Ecology

edX free Cornell courses woman with laptop by window

Reclaiming Broken Places: Introduction to Civic Ecology (button)

Length: 6 weeks

In this course, you use many lenses — psychological, sociological, political, educational, and ecological — to examine how people care for nature and their communities. Among other things, students learn how civic ecology can enable communities with limited resources to cope with disaster and struggle. 

This class is archived. 

Wiretaps to Big Data: Privacy and Surveillance in the Age of Interconnection

edX free Cornell courses woman sitting on couch with laptop

Wiretaps to Big Data: Privacy and Surveillance in the Age of Interconnection (button)

Length: 6 weeks

How does cellular technology enable massive surveillance? Do users have rights against surveillance? This social sciences course grapples with these big questions surrounding privacy issues in modern life and introduces students to related issues in WiFi and Internet surveillance. 

This class is archived. 

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Udacity’s online Nanodegrees are currently 75% off – here’s why they can be a great option if you’re pursuing tech careers like data science or programming

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Udacity E Learning 4x3

  • Udacity offers free online courses and Nanodegrees to build in-demand, technology-based skills.
  • Courses are available in subjects like AI, programming, cybersecurity, data science, and business.
  • Below, find answers to FAQ and information on the top 10 most popular Udacity Nanodegrees.

Table of Contents: Static

What is Udacity?

Udacity is an online learning platform that trains students for in-demand, technology-based careers. It offers both short online courses and Nanodegree programs in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, business, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science, and programming.

What are Udacity Nanodegrees?

Udacity Nanodegrees are online certificate programs that can typically last anywhere from 3-6 months, similar to edX MicroMasters or Coursera MasterTracks. They’re flexible and meant to work with your schedule, so you can learn at your own pace. All the programs also come with real-world projects for hands-on learning and technical mentors in case you get stuck.

One unique benefit to Udacity Nanodegrees is the career development resources students receive at the end, including help with optimizing resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and Github portfolios after completing the program.

Udacity

How much does Udacity cost?

Udacity’s Nanodegree programs normally cost anywhere from $1,017 to $2,084, depending on the program and length of training. There are flexible payment options available, such as paying per month instead of all at once.

There’s currently a 75% sitewide Udacity sale until April 13 with the code “INSIDER75,” which applies to month-to-month payment plans as well. With the sale applied, courses start at $254.25.

Additionally, Udacity offers several scholarships for its online programs. You can browse all available scholarships here.

Are there any free Udacity courses?

Yes. There are a number of free courses on Udacity such as Intro to Data Science and Google’s Front End Frameworks. You can browse all the free courses here.

Udacity

(Note: Free courses do not come with projects, mentor assistance, or career development resources).

What are some of the Udacity Nanodegrees available?

These are the 10 most popular beginner and intermediate programs on Udacity now:

Digital Marketing Nanodegree

Udacity overview Digital Marketing Nanodegree

Length: 3 months

Cost: $254.25 (normally $1,017) or $100 per month (normally $399 per month)

Learn everything from creating your own marketing content, using social media platforms to promote it, run fruitful Facebook ad campaigns, and use Google Analytics to measure and track your success.

Digital Marketing Nanodegree (button)
Product Manager Nanodegree

Udacity overview Product Management Nanodegree

Length: 4 months

Cost: $339 (normally $1,356) or $100 per month (normally $399 per month)

To help you design successful products, this program walks you through incorporating market analysis into product strategy and KPIs, designing a product within various realistic constraints, building a timeline, and creating tests to enhance the product over time.

Product Manager Nanodegree (button)
Business Analytics Nanodegree

Udacity review Business Analytics Nanodegree

Length: 3 months

Cost: $254.25 (normally $1,017) or $1o0 per month (normally $399 per month)

Learn crucial data skills that can be applied to a range of careers and industries, such as building data models with Excel, queries with the programming language SQL, and data visualizations with Tableau.

Business Analytics Nanodegree (button)
Programming for Data Science with Python Nanodegree

Udacity overview Programming for Data Science with Python

Length: 3 months

Cost: $254.25 (normally $1,017) or $100 per month (normally $399 per month)

Learn the core programming basics for a data science career, including how to code in Python and SQL to solve difficult business problems and create data structures and libraries.

Programming for Data Science with Python Nanodegree (button)
Data Engineer Nanodegree

Udacity overview Data Engineering

Length: 5 months

Cost: $423.75 (normally $1,695) or $100 per month (normally $399 per month)

In this program, you’ll learn how to design and build data models, data warehouses, data lakes, and data pipelines, as well as understand huge and complex datasets. The program ends with the completion of your own capstone data engineering portfolio project.

Data Engineering Nanodegree (button)
Data Analyst Nanodegree

Udacity overview Data Analysis Nanodegree

Length: 4 months

Cost: $339 (normally $1,356) or $100 per month (normally $399 per month)

For students with some background in Python and SQL, this program dives deeper into decoding challenging datasets, manipulating data for analysis, and creating data visualizations to tell a comprehensive story using data.

Data Analyst Nanodegree (button)
Intro to Programming Nanodegree

Udacity Overview Intro to Programming Nanodegree

Length: 4 months

Cost: $339 (normally $1,356) or $100 per month (normally $399 per month)

Perfect for students with no coding experience, this program covers the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and Python. By the end, you’ll be introduced to several possible career paths for further learning.

Intro to Programming Nanodegree (button)
Android Kotlin Developer Nanodegree

Udacity overview Android Kotlin Developer Nanodegree

Length: 4 months

Cost: $339 (normally $1,356) or $100 per month (normally $399 per month)

For those with object-oriented programming experience, this Google-partnered program teaches you how to become an Android app developer using Android Studio, Android Jetpack, and Kotlin.

Android Kotlin Developer Nanodegree (button)
Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree

Udacity overview Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree

Length: 4 months

Cost: $339 (normally $1,356) or $100 per month (normally $399 per month)

If you have prior experience with Python, HTML, CSS, and Git, this program teaches you how to build database-backed APIs and web applications so that you can build databases for software apps, manage access control for an application backend, and deploy a Flask-based web application to the cloud using Docker and Kubernetes.

Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree (button)
Front End Web Developer Nanodegree

Udacity Front End Web Developer Nanodegree

Length: 4 months

Cost: $339 (normally $1,356) or $1o0 per month (normally $399 per month)

Requiring a bit of prior programming knowledge, this program teaches students how to design and develop a wide range of responsive and interactive websites and applications using CSS, JavaScript, HTML, CSS Grid, and Flexbox.

Front End Web Developer Nanodegree (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 27 best beach reads to dive into this summer

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Summer beach reads 2021 4x3
  • Beach reads are highly entertaining books that you can’t put down.
  • No matter the genre, these beach reads are an immersive escape, whether you’re on vacation or not.
  • Below are our 27 best beach read recs, including YA, romance, thriller, and non-fiction books.

Beach reads used to be known as mindless, mass-market paperbacks with shirtless men on the cover that we’d throw in our bags, read for an hour, and never care about again. But now, beach reads are an escape, whether your toes are in the sand or not. They take us on vacation, into a new world away from our stresses.

My mark of a good beach read is one with a fully consuming story. Many of these books are ones I’ve read in a single day (or a single sitting), and every one of them pairs perfectly with a day off. Whether it’s a delightfully cheesy romantic comedy or harrowing nonfiction, every book on this list has the potential to whisk you away and make any day a vacation in the sun.

27 great beach read books:

Rom-com beach reads

A charming and sexy rom-com

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

“Take A Hint Dani Brown” by Talia Hibbert

First of all, every Talia Hibbert book belongs on this list. Her romances are known for their sensitivity and steam, but they’re also such enjoyable reads that any one of them is perfect for a relaxing beach day. Danika has no interest in a relationship but asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits. So when a video of sexy security guard Zafir carrying Danika out of a building goes viral, they decide to fake a relationship to promote Zafir’s charity (and help Danika secretly seduce him behind the scenes). I loved Dani’s intelligence and the anti-toxic masculinity storyline around Zafir. Have you ever teared up because a book was so naturally inclusive that it felt like a breath of fresh air? You might once you grab this.

Irresistible quality: The steamy romance.

A book that reads like a reality show

One to Watch by Kate Stayman London

“One to Watch” by Kate Stayman-London

Okay, I’ll admit it. I watch “The Bachelorette” every single week. If you love watching the show’s smart, strong leads who know exactly what they want and refuse to settle, then you will absolutely love this book. Bea is a plus-sized fashion blogger who gets asked to be on a “Bachelorette”-like show. She sees it as an opportunity to grow her brand and show that plus-size women deserve the spotlight, too. Between internet drama and conniving producers, this book is more entertaining than a reality show. 

Irresistible quality: The can’t-look-away drama.

An aptly titled read

Beach Read by Emily Henry

“Beach Read” by Emily Henry

Of course I had to include this one. It’s about two polar-opposite writers staying in neighboring beach houses for the summer, one a romance writer and the other trying to write the next Great American Novel. Faced with writer’s block, they decide to swap topics and spend the summer teaching each other the ins and outs of writing their genres, all while competing to publish their own book first. With plenty of romance, scenes that might make you cry, and an interesting (and accurate) inside look at the process of writing a book, this is an easy one to read in the sun. 

Irresistible quality: The enemies-to-friends-to-lovers storyline.

An emotional yet adorable romance

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abbi Jimenez

“The Happy Ever After Playlist” by Abbi Jimenez

This one starts out a little cheesy, but there’s something so endearing about it that got me hooked. Sloan lost her fiancé two years ago and is still struggling to get her life together when she finds a lost pup named Tucker whose owner, Jason, is on tour in Australia. The two exchange texts and calls, their connection growing as their meeting grows near. But being an international star, Jason might not have time for a relationship and Sloan could end up heartbroken again. This book is super dramatic and full of scandal, giving it all the summer romance vibes you need. 

Irresistible quality: A super cute dog — and a dog owner who’s not too bad looking, either.

The tale of an unexpected Hawaiian vacation

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

“The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren

Christina and Lauren (the co-authors) have written a bunch of fun rom-coms but this is my favorite because it’s absolutely hysterical. Olive (who thinks love is gross) and her sworn enemy Ethan put aside their mutual hatred for an all-expense paid Hawaiian honeymoon after food poisoning hits everyone in her sister’s wedding besides them. When they run into her boss, the entire vacation revolves around pretending to be loving newlyweds. It’s adorable and fast-paced because of the constant (and hilarious) complications that arise.

Irresistible quality: The witty banter.

Thriller beach reads

A brilliant and fast-moving thriller

Verity by Colleen Hoover

“Verity” by Colleen Hoover

The day I opened this book, I did absolutely nothing else besides get to the bottom of what the heck was happening in these pages. Lowen is a budding writer, brought to the Crawford home to finish writing Verity’s book series after a car accident left her in a waking coma. While doing research in Verity’s library, Lowen finds an autobiographical manuscript with haunting admissions, so devastating that she chooses to keep them a secret. This is a rollercoaster of lies that will have you trying to guess the truth until the last page.

Irresistible quality: The need to know the truth gets stronger with every lie.

A unbelievably creepy plot

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

“Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn

“Gone Girl” is undoubtedly the most famous of Flynn’s novels but “Sharp Objects” is my favorite to recommend as a beach read. It’s a bit shorter — and so twisted that you have to finish it in a day. Camille is an investigative reporter returning to her small town to cover the murder of a young girl. She’s staying with her hypochondriac mother in her childhood bedroom and must unravel some psychological twists in order to uncover the story. This is an incredibly suspenseful thriller and you’ll need the sun to balance out all the dark secrets.

Irresistible quality: A disturbing past that feels all too real.

A summer that turns deadly

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

“I Killed Zoe Spanos” by Kit Frick

Anna is spending the summer in the Hamptons on a nannying gig, in a community on edge after the New Year’s Eve disappearance of Zoe Spanos. Anna, who is constantly reminded of her resemblance to Zoe, begins to dig deeper into the unsolved case. Two months later, she finds herself charged with the manslaughter of a girl she’d never met. The book bounces between Anna’s confession and the summer as it unfolds, with an ending that will throw you for a loop — I really thought I had this one all figured out but the last 10 pages blew me away. 

Irresistible quality: The true-crime feel.

A shocking family drama

The Push by Ashely Audrian

“The Push” by Ashely Audrian

Blythe is determined to be the warm and loving mother she never had. She’s convinced that something is wrong with her daughter, even though her husband says she’s exhausted and just imagining things. When her second child is born, the connection between herself and her children is strong and beautiful, until their lives are forever changed. This is another one that demands to be read in one sitting as everything you’ve accepted is eventually overturned. The book’s short chapters have you turning the pages faster and faster as you navigate haunting memories, trauma, and the legacy of motherhood.

Irresistible quality: The ending that will make you want to throw the book in the ocean

Historical fiction beach reads

A page-turning exploration of one woman’s life

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

This was the first book I read in a single sitting and it’s one I recommend to everyone. Evelyn Hugo is an A-list Hollywood actress who is finally ready to tell her story, but only to one little-known journalist. In this book, we get to hear Evelyn’s story of rising to fame in the ’50s, leaving the business in the ’80s, and marrying seven husbands (all for different reasons) along the way. Taylor Jenkins Reid writes characters and stories that are so vivid, you can’t believe they’re not real. This book is fascinating and a little heartbreaking, and when everything comes together in the end, it might become your new favorite. 

Irresistible quality: The desire to know who the love of Evelyn’s life was.

A story of forgotten courage during the war

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

“The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

Just when you think you’ve read every World War II story there is to tell, this book comes into your life. It’s about French women’s role in the war — from secret messengers across country lines to wives forced to house German soldiers as bombs drop around them. While 600 pages might warrant a week-long beach stay, I read this in two days and cried twice. It is so achingly beautiful and so hard to pull away.

Irresistible quality: The constant action of women fighting to survive.

A historical tale set in Scotland

The Skylark’s Secret by Fiona Valpy

“The Skylark’s Secret” by Fiona Valpy

In 1940, Flora embarks on a forbidden romance that brings even more tension into a home rocked by devastating changes in the community. Many years later, Flora’s daughter, Lexie, returns to the village with her own daughter to learn about her mother, their past, and the sacrifices made in her name. This multi-generational story is about war, love, and learning from and about our past. The family dynamics — and facing that which lays hidden behind them — make this book so beloved by many. 

Irresistible quality: The connection between the generations of women and their homeland.

A fictional account of a real, often-forgotten woman

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

“Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell’s magical writing elevates an already fascinating book into one that you’ll hold close long after the summer is over. It’s historical fiction, based on the little known (but real) story of Agnes, found in the footnotes of “Hamlet.” In 1580s England, Agnes is a gifted healer, both feared and sought-after, who settles down with her husband and has three children. When her son, Hamnet, dies at age eleven, Agnes’ husband writes a play called “Hamlet.” You absolutely do not need to be a Shakespeare buff to love this story and appreciate its rightful place in history. 

Irresistible quality: Maggie O’Farrell’s lyrical writing.

Young adult beach reads

A story that will leave you feeling optimistic

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

“With the Fire on High” by Elizabeth Acevedo

The only place Emoni has to let go of her stress is the kitchen, making food that everyone agrees is unparalleled. With a dream to be a chef and an opportunity just out of reach, Emoni needs to find a way to balance her dreams and responsibilities. This one is about hardships: Young motherhood, the harshness of the world, and balancing everything you love. It’s a very character-driven novel, so prepare yourself to become emotionally invested in Emoni’s happiness and success. Elizabeth Acevedo might not be capable of writing anything that’s not incredible, as every book of hers I’ve read has blown me away. 

Irresistible quality: The food in this book will make you hungry in real life.

A queer enemies-to-lovers royal romance

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

“Red, White, and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston

Alex Claremont-Diaz is the first son of the White House with a lifelong nemesis — Prince Henry of British royalty. When Alex confronts Henry at a royal wedding, the story is leaked to the tabloids and the best solution is a publicity stunt: a fake friendship between the two. As Henry and Alex begin to fall in love, the truth threatens to destroy the President’s reelection campaign and even the relations between Britain and America. I love a good queer romance but the added royal aspect, the snarky wit between the boys, and the fun development of the relationship make this a must-read for the summer. 

Irresistible quality: The heart-swelling romance.

A competitive and sweet first-love story

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

“Today Tonight Tomorrow” by Rachel Lynn Solomon

For all four years of high school, Rowan and Neil hate each other, bitter rivals and complete opposites. When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan finds one last chance to beat him in a scavenger hunt/ninja assassin game played by all seniors after graduation. The plot spans 24 hours, which keeps this book moving quickly. It’s easy to laugh and root for these two as their faux-hateful banter turns quickly to friendship despite years of sworn rivalry. 

Irresistible quality: The balance between pure fun and deeper feelings.

A truly adorable, romantic high school adventure

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han

Lara Jean does not tell boys that she has a crush on them. Instead, she writes each one a letter and hides them all under her bed. Somehow, these letters have been mailed and all her past crushes, big and small, are confronting her about them. It’s highly amusing because of the reappearance of every crush — from her sister’s ex-boyfriend to her first kiss many years ago. The story is very cute and light, so you can relax in the sun as Lara winds through sisterhood and her past loves towards a romance that leaves you smiling. 

Irresistible quality: A light love story to make any beach day brighter.

A summer read set in picturesque Italy

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

“Love & Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch

After her mother passes away, Lina finds her mother’s old journal while spending the summer in Tuscany to get to know her father. Suddenly no longer focused on leaving, Lina begins to follow her mother’s writing through Italy’s streets and discover her secrets with the help of a charming local boy. It’s a summer story of family, first love, and discovery. My favorite quote is “People come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay it’s for the same two things… love and gelato.”

Irresistible quality: The adorable love story accompanying the uncovering of long-kept secrets.

Contemporary fiction beach reads

A novel of two very different journeys

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett

The Vignes sisters ran away from their small, southern Black community at 16 and moved on to very different lives; one sister moving back home with her Black daughter; the other passing for white, marrying a white man — and telling him nothing of her past. When their daughters’ lives intersect years later, they begin to uncover the decisions and lies of their mothers. This book is about race, but also exploration, identity, desires, and how our past influences it all. There is so much about this book to love that I read it twice. 

Irresistible quality: The stark differences of two sisters with the same upbringing.

A Californian story of love and friendship

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

“The Knockout Queen” by Rufi Thorpe

This is a coming-of-age story about the friendship between Bunny, a too-tall Olympic hopeful, and Michael, her closeted, home-schooled neighbor. Bunny is desperate to fit in and hide from her father’s alcoholism while Michael is trying to navigate his sexuality while meeting up with men on the internet, the two taking solace in each other’s company. With really intelligent writing that keeps you interested in the characters, it’s an unapologetic and unflinchingly honest telling of two teens seeking human connection. 

Irresistible quality: A tender look into the victories and downfalls of two misfits.

A light read on a thought-provoking topic

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

“Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid

This book gets interesting from the first scene, where Emira, a young African-American woman, is accused of kidnapping Briar, the white child she babysits, while walking around the grocery store. Alix, the blogger mom of the child, tries to right the situation that quickly gets farther and farther out of control. Emira and Briar are hugely loveable characters that contrast heavily with the supposedly well-intentioned Alix, making this an entertaining read as well as a broader commentary on race, class, and influencer culture.

Irresistible quality: How true-to-life the story feels. 

A story of fighting for what you love

Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

“Things You Save In A Fire” by Katherine Center

Katherine Center is so good at writing hardships that leave you feeling hopeful. This one is about Cassie, one of the only female firefighters in her firehouse. With rundown facilities, no funding to fix them, and an environment that borders on toxic, the men aren’t thrilled to have a woman join the crew, even though she’s more competent than most of them. When the handsome new guy is the only one nice to her, Cassie has to constantly remind herself that she doesn’t date firefighters. Katherine Center writes stories that have you rooting for the main character with every part of your heart and soul, and this one is true to form. 

Irresistible quality: The protagonist’s complete badassery.

A classic-feeling beach read with secrets galore

Winter In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

“Winter In Paradise” by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand is basically the ultimate beach read writer, churning out smooth reads that end in cliffhangers. After the sudden, tragic death of her husband, Irene travels to St. John to investigate the unusual circumstances in which he died, stumbling upon the secrets of a man she may not have known as well as she thought. I loved this for a summer read because the characters are easy to understand, the drama keeps you interested, and there’s just enough romance to have me rooting for love. 

Irresistible quality: The tropical tourist destination setting.

Non-fiction beach reads

A historical crisis told in an intimate way

The Splendid and The Vile  A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

“The Splendid and The Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz” by Erik Larson

This book is a highly researched history about Churchill’s actions and reactions in Britain during the WWII era. It follows him as well as his family and friends through the fear surrounding London as Hitler kills 45,000 Britains in a bombing campaign, having invaded Holland and Belgium on Churchill’s first day as Prime Minister. Erik Larson writes history like an unfolding drama, so you’ll find yourself learning and invested in the story.

Irresistible quality: The diaries and formerly classified intelligence reports.

A true story about the mothers of our heroes

The Three Mothers by Anna Malaika Tubbs

“The Three Mothers” by Anna Malaika Tubbs

This is the story of the mothers who raised and shaped Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. Faced with Jim Crow-era racism, little has been previously said of the incredible women who taught these men the beliefs of justice and equality that would change the world. The book is filled with love and compassion, the motherhood weaving through every page. It brings the experience of Black women and mothers into the conversation while truly demonstrating their vital significance in the ongoing fight against oppression. 

Irresistible quality: The untold stories of three extraordinary women.

A fact-filled presentation of a frustrating bias

Invisible Women  Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez

“Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men” by Caroline Criado Pérez

In nearly every aspect of our society, women are systematically ignored. From the way crash test dummies, voice recognition software, and even medicinal dosing have been designed, the data that drives nearly every aspect of our lives revolves around men. This book can be a little appalling as the well-researched case studies shed light on an unconscious bias in our society that might start to feel more and more obvious as you learn more about it. 

Irresistible quality: The data to back up every claim.

A true story about women who glow

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

“The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women” by Kate Moore

As soon as I found out about this phenomenon of “The Radium Girls” I dove headfirst into this book. During the First World War, they were working in factories to get radium — a newly discovered magical drug — into the hands of the public. The girls were covered in radium, literally glowing from the chemical all over their bodies after leaving their coveted jobs. But when they began to fall ill, the factories ignored their claims that it could be from the radium. It’s the story of a fight for workers’ rights, one that saved so many lives because the women demanded to be heard. It’s also such a remarkable story that it’s easy to forget it’s true.

Irresistible quality: The tension created from fighting for what’s right.

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12 online courses that teach design thinking – a soft skill that can help you find creative solutions and stand out in your career

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E learning Designing Your Life 4x3
  • Design thinking is a creative, human-focused process to problem-solving.
  • It’s about tapping into people’s true needs to create feasible innovations, products, and solutions.
  • Below are 12 design thinking online classes offered by schools like MIT and Stanford.

Design thinking is a concept that’s been gaining popularity over recent years. Broadly, it’s a way of taking a human-focused approach to design and problem-solving. Rather than collecting lots of conflicting data or making predictions without evidence, it encourages people to understand the true motivations of their audience, be it customers, students, or staff members. Design thinking principles can also be useful in your own life, such as figuring out which career you want or how to structure your life.

Below are 12 online design thinking classes, from schools like MIT and Stanford and companies like Microsoft and IDEO. Some are free to audit with an optional, paid certificate; others charge a fee but provide a certificate upon completion. Certificate costs range from $16.99-$599, depending on the class and platform.

Here are 12 online design thinking classes:

Design Thinking Fundamentals

Businessman reviewing project plans on office wall while working on digital tablet

Design Thinking Fundamentals (small)

School: Rochester Institute of Technology

Length: 6 weeks

Cost: Free; $299 for a certificate.  

Part of a longer edX MicroMasters program on Design Thinking, this class covers the basics of design thinking, teaching you how to use design to solve problems. It also debunks the misconception that you have to be artistic to implement design thinking and shows you how to think of it as more of a strategy. 

Stay Competitive Using Design Thinking

Design thinking

Try Stay Competitive Using Design Thinking on LinkedIn Learning here

Instructor: LinkedIn Learning and frog, a global design and strategy firm

Length: 11 hours and 38 minutes

Cost: Free with 1-month trial; $19.99 or $29.99 per month (depending on subscription) after trial ends

Comprised of short videos, this LinkedIn Learning Path is meant for graphic designers and covers the basics of design thinking as well as provides actionable steps to implementing its principles and mastering the process. You’ll get a certificate at the end of the course to add to your LinkedIn profile as well.

Designing Your Career

Man working from home

Designing Your Career (small)

School: Stanford University

Length: 5 weeks

Cost: Free; $50 for a certificate 

By one of the authors of the bestselling “Designing Your Life,” this course applies design thinking to find the right career path for you. It’s self-paced and offers different exercises to help you sort out what you actually like to do and create tangible goals around that information. 

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Designing Your Life Course Screenshot

Buy Designing Your Life from CreativeLive here

Instructors: Stanford lecturers Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Length: 4 hours and 39 minutes

Cost: $29

“Designing Your Life” authors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans teach a broader course that expands on the lessons from their bestselling book — and gives students a more hands-on way to put the ideas into practice through assignments and examples. You can read a full review of the course here.

Design Thinking of Innovation

Young woman writing on sticky notes

Design Thinking for Innovation (small)

School: University of Virginia

Length: 4 weeks

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

In this course, you learn how to use creativity to solve difficult business and organizational problems and come up with bold, new ideas. You follow a model that asks four key questions to prompt design thinking and learn from real-life organizations as examples. You can also take other courses in the Leading the Modern Day Business Specialization

Learning How to Learn

Man working on home computer

Learning How to Learn (small)

School: McMaster University and UC San Diego

Length: 4 weeks 

Cost: Free; $49 for certificate

One of the most popular Coursera courses, this class teaches you techniques to break up tough subjects and concepts. By emphasizing ways to make learning design easier and more effective, this class demonstrates the importance of a human-focused approach to learning. 

Gamification: Motivation Psychology & The Art of Engagement

Man at home attending to a video conference call

Gamification: Motivation Psychology & The Art of Engagement (small)

Instructor: Rob Sutcliffe, UI designer

Length: 3 hours and 7 minutes 

Cost: $14.99 (Normally $94.99)

In 46 lectures, you cover a crucial component of design thinking: human behavior. Using psychology, you learn what motivates people to act, using this knowledge to build community and motivate staff, students, or customers. You will get a certificate upon completion of the course.

Human-Centered Design: An Introduction

Use your smart watch to swipe your card to enter the subway station

Human-Centered Design: An Introduction (small)

School: UC San Diego

Length: 4 weeks

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

This class teaches you how to create technologies that people actually like to use, and helps you conduct fieldwork to get a better sense of what people want by asking the right questions in interviews. You can also take other courses in the Interaction Design Specialization

Design Thinking for Leading and Learning

Teenage girl studying with video online lesson at hom

Design Thinking for Leading and Learning (small)

School: MIT and Microsoft

Length: 6 weeks

Cost: Free; $49 for a certificate

Geared towards classroom learning, this course shows you how to apply design thinking to a variety of K-12 school settings. The end goal is to find innovative, pragmatic solutions to educational challenges, with the hope of improving schools and school systems. 

Design Thinking for the Greater Good

Woman in a video conference with her coworkers while working from home

Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector (small)

School: University of Virginia 

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: Free; $59 for a certificate 

This course focuses specifically on applying design thinking to nonprofit and volunteer work, using examples from governmental, educational, and healthcare institutions to show you how to create new solutions that can help more people. 

From Ideas to Action

Chinese businessman making display in office

From Ideas to Action (small)

Instructor: IDEO U

Length: 5 weeks 

Cost: $599

IDEO is a leading design thinking firm and IDEO U offers certificate courses on the subject. This one in particular teaches you the steps from designing a plan to implementing and testing it, as well as how to learn from failure. You will get a certificate upon completing the course. This course is part of two longer certificate programs, Foundations of Design Thinking and Advanced Design Thinking.

Design Thinking in 3 Steps

young businessman sitting outdoors in the city working on laptop

Design Thinking in 3 Steps (small)

Instructor: Alan Cooper, founder of Designit Strategic Design

Length: 1 hour and 42 minutes

Cost: $189.99

This fairly-quick class focuses on the three pillars of design thinking: understanding your target audience, envisioning an innovative solution, and testing out an idea. Through 55 short lectures, you learn to thoroughly plan out your research methods and storyboard your design ideas. You’ll also get a certificate upon completion of the course.

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