Week 4, or is it 5? Are you are still adjusting to the lockdown? Struggling to remember what day of the week it is, or even what month? Have you become an expert in Zoom, House Party, Google Duo and TikTok? This could be a good time to upgrade your skills, to research the variety of free on-line courses that are available. You could learn something new, or develop your existing skill set so that it becomes a valuable addition to your CV. Perhaps even more importantly, it may help to provide some structure and motivation in the challenging times we all find ourselves in.
This is the Warwick Career Blog guide to just some of the free courses that are available. There are obviously many other courses leading to a qualification that require a fee – but they can often be very expensive. If you are considering enrolling on one of these courses it may be worthwhile booking a careers appointment to discuss your objectives and expectations, just to make sure you are making a realistic and informed investment.
Older blog readers will remember the days when the Open University used to broadcast for insomniacs on BBC 2 in the middle of the night. Lectures were invariably delivered by bearded, professor spectacle wearing men in white coats. But did you know that the Open University (OU) has consistently scored over 90% in the National Student Survey? One of only 4 UK HE institutions to have done so. Over 70% of its research was also recognised as ‘world leading on internationally recognised’ in the most recent survey. The OU was the world’s first distance learning higher education institution and offers a variety of free courses at introductory, intermediate and advanced levels. Courses vary in length, from 1 to 100 hours and are available in the arts, sciences, humanities and health/medicine.
The OU has also developed a MOOC (massive, open, on-line course) called Future Learn. The first MOOC was developed by MIT and these flexible courses are now studied by millions all over the world. There is often no formal accreditation but a MOOC can be an opportunity to access teaching and learning materials from some of the world’s most prestigious institutions Courses starting in the next few weeks for example, include genomics, financial market analysis and Java programming. You could be engaged in on-line debate with over 50,000 students on some courses!
Kanopy has been described as an ‘academic Netflix’, with over 30,000 hours worth of documentaries and films. You can stream for free if your university has subscribed. The service has received generally favourable reviews and if you are a business, health, media, languages or science student you may well find some engaging and informative content.
Although not a specific requirement for every employer, languages are nonetheless highly valued and could be an impressive addition to your CV. Memrise and Duolingo are just two of the numerous free apps that you could use to become more proficient.
Technical aptitude always tends to feature in the list of the employability skills required by graduate recruiters. Don’t underestimate the importance of Excel for example, to employers in a variety of different sectors . Developing your technology skills could also create opportunities that you hadn’t anticipated because some employers in the tech sector recruit from a range of subject areas, not just computer science.
There has been a lot of publicity around how we can maintain our well-being in the lockdown and there is evidence that learning is good for our mental health. So whether it’s a course that leads to formal accreditation or just a topic you are interested in and would like to explore, there could be a free course on line to suit your needs. What are you waiting for?