12 fun, free summer classes for techies

MOOCs from EdX, Coursera and newcomer Kadenze tackle superheroes, science of cooking, alien worlds and more.

summer moocs
Summer school… for fun

Take a break from your day job and immerse yourself in baseball analytics. Or, escape to alien worlds, soak up superhero culture, and study the science of happiness. MOOCs are an easy way to feed your brain without draining your wallet. This summer, check out some fun, free, tech-friendly options from EdX, Coursera and newcomer Kadenze.

superheros edx smithsonian
The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

Comic book legend Stan Lee is teaming with the Smithsonian to explore the history of the comic book and the influence of superheroes.

The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture
Platform: EdX
Institution: Smithsonian
Timing: Starts August 12

science and cooking edx
Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science

Chefs reveal the secrets behind their culinary creations, and Harvard University researchers explain the science behind the recipes.

Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science
Platform: EdX
Institution: Harvard University
Timing: Starts June 17

sabermetrics
Sabermetrics 101: Introduction to Baseball Analytics

Boston University's course will cover how data science applies to the study of baseball; the fundamentals of R and SQL; how to compute and communicate statistical analysis of baseball data; and the history of baseball analytics and sabermetrics as a field of study. 

Sabermetrics 101: Introduction to Baseball Analytics
Platform: EdX
Institution: Boston University
Timing: Starts July 7

popularity1
Psychology of Popularity

University of North Carolina delves into a topic that’s not just relevant to kids and adolescents. Popularity affects adult life, too, and this course aims to explain how the psychology of popularity informs how we behave as adults.

Psychology of Popularity
Platform: Coursera
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Timing: Starts June 22

online jamming kadenze stanford
Online Jamming and Concert Technology

Stanford University’s upcoming class will teach students how to set up city-to-city and studio-to-studio audio links for near-synchronous musical collaboration. Students will experiment with distributed rehearsing, production, and split-ensemble concerts.

Online Jamming and Concert Technology
Platform: Kadenze
Institution: Stanford University
Timing: Coming soon

geodesign coursera penn state
Geodesign: Change Your World

What’s the best way to design our built environment? Geodesign brings together people from multiple design and geographic fields to address complex resource and land-use problems. Penn State’s MOOC will introduce participants to the core concepts of geodesign through case studies that showcase how geodesign has worked across the globe.

Geodesign: Change Your World
Platform: Coursera
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Timing: Starts July 8

math sports edx notre dame
Math in Sports

Want to improve your fantasy football picks? Notre Dame’s online course will explain how probability and statistics can be used to analyze sports; how to use equations to model physical systems, such as a golf swing; and how to use ranking theory to help determine team performance.

Math in Sports
Platform: EdX
Institution: University of Notre Dame
Timing: Starts June 15

cameralies2
The Camera Never Lies

Or does it? University of London takes a look at photos and films and how they’ve been used as historical evidence. The course tackles issues of authenticity and manipulation, and examines the place of film and historical adoptions as public history.

The Camera Never Lies
Platform: Coursera
Institution: University of London
Timing: Starts June 22

unsolved mysteries edx
Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe

This course from Australian National University will cover nine unsolved problems of modern astrophysics, including why the Big Bang happened, how planets form, and where the first stars have gone. It’s the first of four ANUx courses that comprise the university's first year astrophysics program.

Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe
Platform: EdX
Institution: Australian National University
Timing: Starts June 23

dracula edx berkeley
"Dracula" by Stoker: BerkeleyX Book Club

Read, discuss and write about Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic vampire novel, Dracula --which is famous for introducing Count Dracula -- in University of California, Berkeley's EdX book club.

"Dracula" by Stoker: BerkeleyX Book Club
Platform: EdX
Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Timing: Starts August 3

happiness edx berkeley
The Science of Happiness

What makes us happy? This MOOC from University of California, Berkeley, teaches the science of positive psychology. Participants will learn research-based principles and practices for a happy and meaningful life. 

The Science of Happiness
Platform: EdX
Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Timing: Starts September 8

alien worlds boston univ
Alien Worlds: The Science of Exoplanet Discovery and Characterization

Explore the techniques used to discover and characterize the thousands of planets known outside of our solar system. Boston University's course will discuss how stellar properties affect exoplanet detection techniques and influence planetary formation and habitability.

Alien Worlds: The Science of Exoplanet Discovery and Characterization
Platform: EdX
Institution: Boston University
Timing: Starts June 2