7 Free Online Harvard Courses to Unleash the Inner Nerd in You

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News of a free online Digital Photography class from Harvard has been circulating the online sphere and suddenly, a taste of a Harvard education is within reach. Harvard has been offering free online courses for quite some time now, and not just the basics like math and physics. On their website, you may find diverse and specific courses that are accessible to anyone after a short registration process. If you want physical proof of your participation, some courses provide the option of upgrading to receive a certificate at the end of the course’s completion for $75 to $150.

If you believe that education is a constant process and have downtime to spare, here are some interesting courses you may want to sign up for: 

1. Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science

Researchers at Harvard believe that an easy way to learn about basic principles of physics and engineering is by following events in the kitchen. Inspired by the techniques chefs use when creating their famous dishes, the course explains the science behind the recipes and what makes these techniques work. Topics include how molecules influence flavor and how to apply the principles of physics, engineering, and chemistry to cooking. The topics easily spark the interests of both home cooks and lovers of science.

2. The Fundamentals of Neuroscience: The Brain

Your initial thought might be to shun neuroscience for sounding like a snooze fest but David Cox actually makes the study of the brain worthwhile and even fun. The course allows you access to videos, animations, documentaries, and other DIY experiments that explore how brains perceive the world. Apart from learning the basic anatomy of functional areas of the brain, you will also discover how each of our five senses works. Each lesson promises to be media- and content-rich so you need not worry about heavy, very technical readings.


3. JuryX: Deliberations for Social Change

Is there a proper way to discuss politics and laws while remaining calm and logical throughout the argument?

While the Philippines is far from adopting the jury system, this course tackles proper discourse on social and civic issues, especially in the age of anonymity on the Internet. The professor uses online group activities to help students explore a deliberative system to facilitate dialogues with their own communities.

4. Digital Photography

The much-lauded photography course covers the basics and is ideal for those who wish to learn how to produce their photographs digitally. If you complete the 10 to 15 hour course and score above 80 percent, you may apply for certification. You’ll also be joining the ranks of 400,000 students who have already taken the course.

5. The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours

Novices on the topic of ancient Greek culture and literature will get to experience the era’s most beautiful works through the course’s plethora of classics. Through revisiting the works that span over a thousand years—touching on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, dialogues of Plato, songs of Sappho and Pindar—students will become acquainted with its profoundly humanistic message and the literature’s accomplished system of communication.

6. Masterpieces of World Literature

Bibliophiles, rejoice! The body of works that this intensive course covers include timeless pieces such as Voltaire’s Candide, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Lu Xun’s Diary of a Madman, and The 1001 Nights. Through these studies, the course aims for students to understand the pillars of today’s intertwined global cultures.

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7. Women Working

Feminists certainly will not disagree with this one. Boasting more than 500,000 pages of historical documentation as study material, the class chronicles the role of women in the United States economy.

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Hannah Lazatin
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