Over 400 Ivy League courses are free online right now

With the coronavirus pandemic upending summer plans, now's the perfect time to learn something new.

  • Although states are reopening, coronavirus has already canceled many summer plans.
  • Ivy League universities and other course providers are offering online courses for free.
  • Free online courses cover a range of academic and personal-growth topics.
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    Why we must teach students to solve big problems

    The future of education and work will rely on teaching students deeper problem-solving skills.

    • Asking kids 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' is a question that used to make sense, says Jaime Casap. But it not longer does; the nature of automation and artificial intelligence means future jobs are likely to shift and reform many times over.
    • Instead, educators should foster a culture of problem solving. Ask children: What problem do you want to solve? And what talents or passions do you have that can be the avenues by which you solve it?
    • "[T]he future of education starts on Monday and then Tuesday and then Wednesday and it's constant and consistent and it's always growing, always improving, and if we create that culture I think that would bring us a long way," Casap says.
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    Learn a new language—super fast. Here’s how.

    According to a man that knows more than 20 languages, the key is to start in the middle.

    • Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann says there is indeed a fast track to learning a new language. It involves doubling down on your listening and reading.
    • By taking the focus off grammar rules that are difficult to understand and even more difficult to remember, you can instead develop habits by greater exposure to the language. Kaufmann likens the learning process to a hockey stick.
    • In the beginning you make major progress as you climb the steep hill of the hockey stick, whereas the long shaft of the stick is the difficult part. Because you're not seeing day-to-day changes, you might lose motivation. So, stay the course by consuming content that interests you.

    Imagine learning empathy at school. Global Oneness Project does just that.

    To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.

    Photo: Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller / Global Oneness Project
    • Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
    • Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
    • Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
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    The world and workforce need wisdom. Why don’t universities teach it?

    Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?

    Photo: Take A Pix Media / Getty Images
    • Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
    • The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
    • These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
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