Coronavirus Facts First

Staying sharp with free online courses

Education

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — College Campuses are closed, libraries are shutters and Americans are stuck at home. But now, many are tuning to online courses to prevent coronavirus “brain drain.”

Dahwal Shah runs a site called ClassCentral which he describes as a “trip advisor” for online courses offered by top universities worldwide.

“As soon as the U.S. went into lock down last Sunday, we saw a huge surge in traffic,” Founder of ClassCentral Shah said. The site lists thousands of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCS. The vast majority are free, like one about the coronairus outbreak itself.

Many courses require hours of online class time and can take a month or longer to compete. But for those looking for a source of meaningful self improvement, the options are endless.

“They’ve really tried to replicate what you would get in a traditional university classroom,” online course student Laurie Pickard said. She found so much value in the free online courses that she built the equivalent of an MBA, for a fraction of the price. It took her three years to finish her coursework and she wrote a book about her experience.

Pickard said even taking one course can make anyone more valuable to a future employer, “I forced myself to take some courses that were harder or that weren’t in an area that I felt naturally comfortable in.”

Free courses aren’t purely academic. Guitar company Fender is offering three months of free online guitar, bass and ukulele lessons to hundreds of thousands of people.

Although most of the courses are free, there are fees for students hoping to get a certificate or for some online exams.

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