The University Network

How To Learn New Skills For FREE! – Free Online Classes

Want to acquire new skills to boost your resume without having to pay hundreds of dollars? Here’s a handpicked list of free online courses to help you learn and save money!

Animation

Pixar in a Box

Created and offered by Pixar through the Khan Academy, a non-profit organization that provides online courses for free, this online course provides not only an insider’s peek into one of the world’s best animation studios and its workflow, but also a comprehensive overview of creating a 3D animation. Taught by the very people who made your favorite films, the program offers short clips and exercises on basic theories, such as the principles of storytelling, and all of the technical skills, such as rigging, environmental and character modeling and rendering. 

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: Free
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 70 hours
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Khan Academy  

Architecture

The Architectural Imagination 

Offered by Harvard University, this course will help you understand both the aesthetic and technical features of architecture. Through lectures and hands-on exercises in drawing and modeling, you will gain not only the theoretical, but also practical understanding of architecture. 

  • College credits: NO — Verified Certificate only
  • Price: FREE, but in order to receive a certificate, you need to pay $99
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 10 weeks (3–5 hours per week)
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: edX

Sustainability in Architecture: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

Offered by the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, this course offers an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability in architecture. You will learn how to evaluate the sustainability performance of buildings made of different types of materials, assess energy use, and ultimately develop a conceptual neighborhood model adequate for analysis and urban policy assessment. Note that this course is for intermediate level students. 

  • College credits: NO — Verified Certificate only
  • Price: FREE, but in order to receive a certificate, you need to pay $50
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 4 weeks (3-4 hours per week)
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: edX

Fundamentals of 3D Architectural Visualization 

As more architects are relying heavily on 3D modeling software to visualize their conceptual spaces, this program offers the basic concepts of architectural visualization. Using Blender, a free and open source computer animation software, this course will explain and demonstrate basic concepts and practices very thoroughly that even complete beginners will be able to follow through immediately. 

  • Number of courses: 2 courses
  • College credits: NO — Professional Certificate only
  • Price: FREE, but in order to receive a certificate, you need to pay $98
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 4 weeks per course (4–6 hours per week)
  • Languages: English 
  • Vendor: edX

Excel

Introduction to Data Analysis Using Excel

Offered by Rice University, this Excel course is designed both for those with very little knowledge of Excel and those who use Excel regularly but wish to enhance their skills. Throughout the course, you will learn the fundamentals, including how to format rows and columns and how to use basic functions in Excel. And, gradually, the course content will get more difficult. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to analyze data, you’ll know various Excel functions, and you’ll be able to create advanced graphs and charts that illustrate the data you’ve entered, among other things. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Course Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 12 hours 
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English and Arabic
  • Vendor: Coursera

Drawing

Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101

Offered by The University of Newcastle in Australia, this course teaches how to draw nature. You will not only learn the principles of natural history illustration, such as sketch development and proportion, but will also be guided step-by-step by two instructors teaching at the university. You will learn how to observe both artistically and scientifically and replicate it on paper by hand. 

  • College credits: NO — Verified Certificate only
  • Price: FREE, but in order to receive a certificate, you need to pay $49
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 6 weeks (3–6 hours per week)
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: edX

Graphic Design

Graphic Design 

Offered by the University of Colorado Boulder, this Graphic Design course is the second course included in the Effective Communication: Writing, Design, and Presentation Specialization. Upon completion, those who take this course will develop the skills to effectively create graphics that could be added to and improve the quality of presentations displayed on PowerPoint and other mediums. 

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: Free to enroll, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarships: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 7 hours
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Italian, and Arabic
  • Vendor: Coursera

Graphic Design Specialization 

Offered by the California Institute of the Arts, this Graphic Design Specialization is a 5-course path structured to teach you the foundational tools that you will need to grow as a graphic designer. Upon completion, you will understand how to “communicate through image-making and typography,” and you will learn “everything you need to know to work in interface design, motion graphics, and editorial design,” among other things. 

The 5 courses: 

Course 1:Fundamentals of Graphic Design

Course 2:Introduction to Typography

Course 3:Introduction to Imagemaking” 

Course 4:Ideas From the History of Graphic Design

Course 5:Brand New Brand” — A capstone project 

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: Free to enroll
  • Financial aid or scholarships: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 14 hours
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Coursera

Java

Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization

Offered by Duke University, this Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization is a 5-course path structured to teach you the basics so that you can take your “first step towards a career in software development.” Specifically, you can expect to learn core programming concepts, how to write programs to solve complex problems, how to test and debug your programs, and much more. Upon completion of the specialization, you will earn a certificate which you can show to prospective employers!

The 5 courses: 

Course 1: “Programming Foundations with JavaScript, HTML and CSS

Course 2: “Java Programming: Solving Problems with Software” 

Course 3: “Java Programming: Arrays, Lists, and Structured Data” 

Course 4: “Java Programming: Principles of Software Design

Course 5: “Java Programming: Build a Recommendation System

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Course Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 128 hours 
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English and Korean
  • Vendor: Coursera

Object Oriented Programming in Java Specialization

Offered by Duke University and the University of California San Diego, this 4-course specialization is designed for those who already have programming experience in at least one other language, such as Python, JavaScript, or something similar. Throughout this specialization, you can expect to learn how to design programs that can manage large amounts of data, how to program with graphical user interfaces, and you’ll gain experience with BlueJ and Eclipse, which are two common Java development environments. Additionally, once you complete this course, you’ll be eligible to receive a certificate that can increase your employment perspectives. 

The 4 courses: 

Course 1: “Java Programming: Solving Problems with Software

Course 2: “Java Programming: Arrays, Lists, and Structured Data” 

Course 3:Object Oriented Programming in Java” 

Course 4:Data Structures and Performance

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Course Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 140 hours 
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Korean, German, and Chinese
  • Vendor: Coursera

Photography

Photography Basics and Beyond

Offered by the Michigan State University, this beginner program teaches the most fundamental concepts of photography, such as image composition and control of exposure. Regardless of the type of your camera, whether a smartphone or DSLR, this course will prepare you for both practical and creative works. 

  • Number of courses: 5 courses 
  • College credits: NO — CEU (Continuing Education Units)
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarships: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 7 months (suggested 4 hours per week) 
  • Languages: English with English subtitles
  • Vendor: Coursera 

Web Development

Introduction to Web Development

Offered by UC Davis, this Introduction to Web Development course is designed to start you on a path toward future studies in web development and design, no matter how little experience or technical knowledge you currently have. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to create dynamic web pages using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, apply essential programming language concepts when creating HTML forms, select an appropriate web hosting service, and publish your webpages for the world to see.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Course Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 15 hours
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English & Spanish
  • Vendor: Coursera

Web Design for Everybody (Basics of Web Development and Coding) Specialization

Offered by the University of Michigan, this Web Design for Everybody Specialization will teach you how to write syntactically correct HTML5 and CSS3, and how to create interactive web experiences with JavaScript. Mastering this range of technologies will allow you to develop high-quality web sites that work seamlessly on mobile, tablet and large screen browsers. 

  • Course load: 5 courses
  • College credits: NO — Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Hours needed for completion: Approximately 3 months (7 hours/week)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English & Serbian
  • Vendor: Coursera