100 Free Cutting-Edge College Courses For the Unemployed

100 Free Cutting-Edge College Courses For the Unemployed

Just because you are unemployed doesn’t mean your day can’t be filled with productivity and learning. With so many college courses available free of charge, there are plenty you can be taking to improve your skills and expand your knowledge to help you become a prospective employee that managers are scrambling to hire. Choose from these classes that can improve writing, communication, teaching, and technological skills or help you learn about web design, business, and entrepreneurship. There are even classes that will help you become a better thinker and expand your horizons by offering fun and useful information.

Improve Your Writing Skills

These writing classes include improving writing techniques through practice writing essays, studying the mechanics of writing, and more.

  1. Writing and Experience: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace. Practice writing about American culture and learn about online publishing too. [MIT]
  2. Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers. Those writing online can learning about defamation, privacy, and copyright as it pertains to online publishing. [News University]
  3. Advanced Essay Workshop. Strengthen your non-fiction prose and essay writing skills in this class. [MIT]
  4. Cleaning Your Copy. This class focuses on teaching writers to correct grammar, spelling, and stylistic mistakes in their work. [News University]
  5. Expository Writing – Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about Food and Culture. Strengthen your writing skills while studying the impact of food on culture through reading contemporary works and writing essays. [MIT]
  6. Beat Basics and Beyond. Find out the basics about working a beat while learning from veteran reporters in this course. [News University]
  7. Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues. Studying both traditional and contemporary nature writing, students will create a blog featuring their own nature writing. [MIT]
  8. Understanding media: the celebrity in the text. This class analyzes the idea of celebrity in-depth and explores how the information about celebrities is disseminated. [The Open University]
  9. Expository Writing: Social and Ethical Issues in Print, Photography and Film. Explore social and ethical issues through readings and your own writing in this course designed to teach students to use well-reasoned arguments and a polished product. [MIT]
  10. The Science Essay. Learn how to write science essays that are clear and understandable to those without a science background in this class. [MIT]
  11. Consumer Culture. Explore the role of Americans as consumers over being citizens while polishing your writing skills here. [MIT]
  12. New Media Literacies. This class looks at the role of literacy throughout history and into the present day with online social networking, videogaming, collective intelligence, and other forms of media. Weekly reading and writing assignments are included. [MIT]

Improve Your Communication Skills

Learn to be a better communicator through written and oral methods with these classes that range from online communication to technical communication to academic communication.

  1. Understanding Online Interaction. Communicating online is a major part of society today. Get a better understanding of how it works so you can use it to your advantage. [Utah State University]
  2. Communicating Across Cultures. Globalization has brought new experiences to many, but has also brought a few challenges, including communicating across cultures. Learn how to manage this communication issue in this class. [MIT]
  3. Common Sense Reasoning for Interactive Applications. Learn how common sense varies from culture to culture, then find out how to harness understanding to increasing communication through technology. [MIT]
  4. Seminar in Deep Engagement. Explore human engagement, why people seek deeper engagements, and how to design products with this in mind. [MIT]
  5. Intro to Tech Communication. Those with a more technological background can polish up on writing and communication skills with this course. [MIT]
  6. Principles and Practice of Science Communication. If you plan to with anyone in a scientific field, this communications class is a must. [MIT]
  7. Communicating in Technical Organizations. This class teaches the form of writing used in technical organizations and also explores technology-assisted communication. [MIT]
  8. Introduction to Technical Communication: Explorations in Scientific and Technical Writing. Learn how to communicate effectively in technical and scientific documents as well as strengthening oral communication skills. [MIT]
  9. Introduction to Technical Communication: Ethics in Science and Technology. Explore ethical dilemmas in technology and how these issues are handled and communicated. [MIT]
  10. Communication Skills for Academics. Focus on learning how to craft well-written academic papers as well as other communications important in academia. [MIT]

Improve Your Technology Skills

Learn about blogs, search engines, online security, and gender in technology with these classes.

  1. Natural Language Processing. Find out current concepts, ideas, and research in the field of natural language processing with these lectures. [Stanford]
  2. Blogs, Wikis, New Media for Learning. Learn how to use blogs, wikis, and other forms of new media such as bookmarking tools and social media. [Utah State University]
  3. Information Technology Essentials. This class is a business class designed to teach the basics about technology, including information about the Internet, hardware, software, and technology concepts and trends. [MIT]
  4. Information technology: a new era?. Study the evolution of technology and its impact on economy, productivity, and more in this course. [The Open University]
  5. Search Engines: Technology, Society and Business. This class provides lectures from a distinguished group of professionals discussing Internet searches and the impact on business and society. [UC Berkeley]
  6. Technology for Professional Writers. Writers who need a boost in the field of technology can expand their working knowledge with this class. [Utah State University]
  7. Practicum in Enterprise Security. This course from Carnegie Mellon University lets students learn first-hand about securing an online business. [Sofia]
  8. Technology and Gender in American History. Explore the relationships of women and men in the shaping of the history of technology. [MIT]
  9. From Print to Digital: Technologies of the Word, 1450-Present. Learn how printed texts have evolved into the current digital texts from 1450 to the present. [MIT]
  10. The Anthropology of Computing. Study the history and evolution of computing up to the present day. [MIT]
  11. Finding information in technology. Students will learn how to find the information they need via several methods on the Internet, evaluate the quality of information found, and learn how to stay current with technology. [The Open University]

Learn about Web Design

Take these classes to learn everything from HTML basics to more abstract artistic concepts to help you build creative and well-designed websites.

  1. HTML Basics. Learn how to create and link together HTML pages with this class. [University of Washington]
  2. Flash. Discover the basics of Macromedia Flash and create one fully-functional Flash project. [Utah State University]
  3. Learn and Apply HTML. This class teaches you to learn and apply HTML so that you can do your own coding on websites. [Utah State University]
  4. Blender 3D Design. Learn to use Blender software to create 3D designs in this class. [Tufts University]
  5. Fundamentals of Computational Media Design. Study 20th century art and design from the perspective of one using technology to boost your design skills. [MIT]
  6. Affective Computing. Learn about the relationship between human emotion and computing in this class to help you learn about what emotions are elicited and how. [MIT]
  7. Media Art I. Learn the basic concepts of media art in this class that starts with sound and video. [Capilano University]
  8. Media Art II. The second course in this series studies black and white photography, digital imaging, and public art. [Capilano University]
  9. Media Art III. Deepen you studies in media arts while learning digital sound, digital video art, and performance art as it pertains to the visual arts. [Capilano University]
  10. Media Art IV. The last class in this course series develops technical and conceptual skills and provides students an opportunity to complete a project. [Capilano University]
  11. Special Topics in Multimedia Production: Experiences in Interactive Art. Discuss history of interactive digital art as well as current issues in the field in this class. [MIT]
  12. Art of Color. Study the use of color in visual arts, the psychology of color, the historical use of color in art, and interaction between colors. [MIT]

Improve Your Teaching Skills

Teachers looking for employment can spend their extra time taking these classes that help with everything from concept-centered teaching to understanding dyslexia to exploring how you work with other educators.

  1. Promoting Positive Development Among Youth. Study human development while also putting together a unique community program to help youth. [Tufts]
  2. Concept-Centered Teaching. Learn to combat student misconceptions and foster student understanding of the science concepts you teach with this class. [MIT]
  3. Using visualisation in maths teaching. Discover how you can implement visualization in teaching math to your students in order to boost their capacity to learn. [The Open University]
  4. Understanding dyslexia. Learn how to recognize and manage dyslexia in your students with this course. [The Open University]
  5. Autism Theory and Technology. If you work with students on the autism spectrum, you will want to take this class that is about working with autistic students and current technology that provides educational opportunities for autistic students. [MIT]
  6. Accessibility and eLearning. Technology has changed the educational experience of students with disabilities. Find out more on this topic with this class. [The Open University]
  7. Exploring K-12 Classroom Teaching. Study everything from methods of instruction to addressing the needs of diverse students to teaching student-led classes. [MIT]
  8. The Nature of Constructionist Learning. Discover the theory and philosophy of constructionism and its applications in the classroom. [MIT]
  9. Gender Issues in Academics and Academia. Explore gender differences in learning and in education with this course. [MIT]
  10. Thinking about how I work with other professionals. Take a look at how you work with other teachers and administrators while exploring ways to improve these relationships. [The Open University]
  11. Teaching for good behaviour. The quality of teaching directly affects behavior in the classroom. Find out how you can engage students to promote both learning and positive behavior. [The Open University]
  12. Educational Theory and Practice I. Get the basics of the core skills and knowledge required to teach in secondary schools in this class. [MIT]
  13. Educational Theory and Practice III. Look at more complex aspects of teaching such as educational psychology and differentiated instruction in the final installation of this series. [MIT]

Improve Your Business Savvy

Take these free classes to get a good foundation for a business education with classes on economics, marketing, leadership, and more.

  1. Introduction to Marketing. Learn the basics of marketing including the famous 5 C’s of marketing strategy. [MIT]
  2. Enterprising Women Exhibition . Explore 250 years of women in business with this class. [Harvard]
  3. Financial Management. Study corporate finance and capital markets in this class that is designed to help guide managerial decisions. [MIT]
  4. International Economics. Learn the basics of international trade theory, policy, and international finance in this class. [Utah State University]
  5. Organizational Leadership and Teamwork. Examine management principles and techniques to help leaders and corporations to succeed. [UC Berkeley]
  6. Competitive Decision-Making and Negotiation. Focus on 12 negotiation exercises designed to polish your negotiation skills through hands-on experience. [MIT]
  7. Too unimportant to fail? Innovations and competitive selection in markets. Study the effects of innovation and creativity on businesses. [Gresham College]
  8. Game Theory. Get an introduction to game theory and strategic thinking in this class taught by Professor Ben Polak. [Yale]
  9. Globalization, Migration, and International Relations. Learn about the effects of globalization on businesses aw well as the effects of international policies. [MIT]
  10. Marketing, Microchips and McDonalds: Debating Globalization. Students will learn the definition of globalization while exploring its impact economics, cultural, and more. [MIT]
  11. Government Regulation of Industry. This course examines various market structures and government intervention. [MIT]

Learn to Think Like an Entrepreneur

Maybe you are taking this time between jobs to consider going out on your own. If so, then you will want to check out these classes designed specifically for entrepreneurs.

  1. Entrepreneurial Marketing. Examine basic marketing and new-venture issues important for entrepreneurs to gain a better understanding. [MIT]
  2. Entrepreneurial Finance. Learn about raising money for technology-based companies and the early stages of development. [MIT]
  3. Managerial Economics. This course covers the basics of microeconomics as it pertains to management decisions and is designed to create strong business leaders. [Utah State University]
  4. Applied Economics for Managers. This course teaches ways economists study consumer reactions to limited resources as well as the markets’ response to these reactions. [MIT]
  5. Special Seminar in Management The Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans. Discover the basics of creating a business plan with this course designed for entrepreneurs. [MIT]
  6. Pricing. Learn about pricing strategies and tactics by examining case studies. [MIT]
  7. Designing and Leading the Entrepreneurial Organization. Find out what it takes to build, run, and grow a business through an exploration of four themes of entrepreneurship. [MIT]
  8. Entrepreneurial behavior. Discover the function, qualities, and style common among entrepreneurs in this course. [The Open University]
  9. Management Communications for Undergraduates. Develop writing, speaking, teamwork, and interpersonal relationship skills important for an effective manager. [MIT]
  10. How to Develop “Breakthrough” Products and Services. This course teaches innovation based on systematic development methods. [MIT]
  11. Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager. Students will learn how to use good judgment in their roles as entrepreneurs in this class that teaches basic legal issues from start-up to going public. [MIT]

Become a Stronger Thinker

These classes will improve your thinking processes with classes that include strengthening your logical thinking skills to exploring topics such as mythology, human rights, and gender.

  1. Logic & Proofs. This class provides an introduction to modern symbolic logic with an emphasis on strategic argumentation. [Carnegie Mellon]
  2. Topics in Philosophy of Mind: Perceptual Experience. Study the philosophy of perception in this class. [MIT]
  3. Contemporary Biosocial Problems in America. Biologists are often faced with ethical decisions, and this class studies some of those instances. [Tufts]
  4. The Creative Spark. Learn how the creative spark works, how artists and thinkers alike ignite it, and more in this course. [MIT]
  5. Greek Mythology. Explore the important Greek deities as well as the ancient literary sources that have served to teach generations about Greek mythology. [University of Washington]
  6. Psychology of Gender. Study current research and theory on gender differences while examining gender roles in a variety of societal circumstances. [MIT]
  7. Violence, Human Rights, and Justice. This class looks at political violence and its impact on human rights. [MIT]
  8. Moral Problems and the Good Life. Explore current issues such as gay marriage, euthanasia, and racial profiling in this philosophy class. [MIT]
  9. Decisions, Games, and Rational Choice. Look at the actions of groups, institutions and societies while studying how rational players react in a game. [MIT]

Fill Your Mind with Fun and Useful Information

While these classes may not directly affect your employability, they will certainly expand your knowledge base and provide you with a productive use of your time while you are unemployed.

  1. Kitchen Chemistry. Learn chemistry from this hands-on class that studies applied chemistry through cooking. [MIT]
  2. Advanced Kitchen Chemistry. Take the second course in the Kitchen Chemistry series to explore chemistry through cooking. [MIT]
  3. Producing Films for Social Change. This class will teach you how to create a film promoting positive social change teaching skills from researching to production to editing. [Tufts University]
  4. Wheelchair Design in Developing Countries. Explore ways to develop wheelchairs in developing countries where materials and social stigma may hinder development along traditional lines. [MIT]
  5. Introduction to Sculpture. Study the relationship of sculpture to its audience, common materials used, and more in this class. [MIT]
  6. Picturing the family. By studying family photos of bygone eras, learn about culture, the process of photography of the past, and what is conveyed in these photos. [The Open University]
  7. Furniture Making. Students will learn about the history of furniture-making as well as how to hand-craft their own furniture. [MIT]
  8. Lego Robotics. Use Legos as a tool to explore robotics, mechanical systems, electronics, and programming. [MIT]
  9. Critical Analysis of Popular Diets and Dietary Supplements. This class explores the science behind many popular ways people try to lose weight. [Johns Hopkins]
  10. Hip Hop. Examine the political and aesthetical roots of hip hop in this class. [MIT]
  11. Women’s Novels: A Weekly Book Club. Read a novel written by an influential woman writer every two weeks with both classics and contemporary works included. [MIT]


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