Stuck in Quarantine? Better your skills with these 8 online courses

1. Cognitive Fitness, Harvard University
This may not necessarily qualify as a professional course but even you’d agree that staying sharp as you age gets more and more difficult as you age. This course on Cognitive Fitness from Harvard Health Publishing brings information from Harvard experts on how to stay mentally sharp as you grow older. The course focuses on foods that help protect you against dementia, the importance of exercise and how it helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of sleep as well as how to manage stress, what makes certain foods comforting and challenges your brain with puzzles and board games. Great course to motivate you to keep your memory and mind sharp.

2.Basic French Language Skills for Everyday Life, Alison
If you’ve found yourself at a loss among your French-speaking colleagues, this course is a great place to start. Basic French Language Skills for Everyday Life focusses on the basic phrases and introduces you to different aspects of the French language. The 6 to 10-hour course will also help you correctly use the past, present and future tenses and become comfortable in conversational French. If French doesn’t hold your interest, Alison hosts multiple courses in half a dozen other languages including Mandarin, German, Arabic, Spanish, Swedish and Japanese.

3. iPhone Photography Secrets, Udemy
Photography, as a hobby, has come a long way from dark rooms of the past. Gone are the days when you’d have to get to the end of a film roll, wait for it to be processed and receive a bunch of un-edited, oftentimes distorted pictures. Mobile cameras have since changed the game for the better and the sheer number of hacks that can make each model work better for you, is mind-boggling. iPhone Photography Secrets on Udemy teaches you different tools and techniques and offers handy tips to get great pictures on your iPhone. Starting with basic settings and functions and managing photos on your Camera Roll to building a creative eye and using appropriate apps for editing and special effects, this 8.5-hour course comprises 80 short video lessons to make the most of the camera that’s always with you. The course is great for creative types, sure, but also helpful if you’re the kind of suit who rakes in FF miles with a creative leaning.

4.  MBA Essentials, London School of Economics
Like it or not, MBA-ready skills are bound to set you apart from your peers in the job market. Whether you’re starting out or have found yourself plateaued mid-career, an MBA often helps you push yourself ahead (or indeed keep yourself) in the running. MBA Essentials is an online certificate course from London School of Economics that helps bring you up to speed with basic business skills that are required to thrive in any business environment. The course equips you to think differently and offers practical skills that you’ll need to rise up in your organisation. The MBA Essentials course has been developed by LSE academics from the Departments of Management and Accounting and is a 10-week course requiring 8-10 hours of dedication each week.

5. Diploma in Social Media Strategy, ALISON
If you’re senior enough in your company’s pecking order, you’ve likely palmed off your social media to that new intern (whose name you probably don’t know). Sure, we get that handling social media is probably the last thing on your daily to-do list but even you’ll agree that leaving your (or your company’s) social media at the mercy of an intern is probably not the best strategy. Instead of dismissing social media as “a young man’s game <insert eyeroll here>” it may be advisable to actually learn about “Instagram” and “Twitter” and… well you get the drift. This 20-hour diploma in Social Media Strategy will not just educate you on the basics of email marketing, blogging and creating a Facebook page that gets you/your company noticed but also take you through affiliate marketing and the different methods to help you increase your online visibility.

6. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills, Coursera
Yet another skill that’s more essential than you’d think, is negotiation. No matter what your profession is, negotiation skills are essential to you at every step of the way. Whether it’s asking for a salary when you’re joining an organisation, drawing up a contract or, indeed, asking for a hike in your current organisation – negotiation is part of your everyday life. Coursera hosts this University of Michigan course in successful negotiation by taking you through four important stages in six lessons that span 8.5 hours.

7. Machine Learning: Practical Applications online certificate course (London School of Economics)
Whether you’re a content writer, an MBA graduate, or an engineer, machine learning is going to be one of the major prerequisites in your professional life (if it isn’t already one). Machine Learning is an important tool that enables businesses to extract meaningful information from raw data. This 75-hour course focusses on putting principles of Machine Learning to practical use and equip you to use the techniques to real-world business problems. How far you go in your career will depend on how well you can solve problems for your organisation. It so happens, ML teaches you just that.

8. Communicating Strategically, edX
If there’s anything we’ve learnt from these last few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic it’s that strategic communication will always triumph over technical jargon or emotional appeals. We’ve seen that in addresses by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and, more importantly, Anthony Fauci, the director of the American National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This edX course is specifically for engineers, scientists and other technical professionals who may find it difficult to get their point across to a larger, non-technical, audience. The course will help you communicate better not just with people outside of your department but also those above you. This free course is about 30 hours long and is free. However, for a 50-dollar fee, you can add a PurdueX Verified Certificate on completing the course.