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Clear Winter Brain Fog with a Free Online Class

Who doesn’t make a few New Year’s resolutions? We claim we’ll do everything from losing weight to saving more money and, statistically, most of us abandon those plans within months. Perhaps it’s time to try something new that could actually make a difference.

To combat the brain fog that cold winter days inevitably deliver, consider taking a free, online course. Websites like Class Central, Coursera, and Open Culture offer tips and guidance on how to sign up for these courses featuring hundreds of topics.

Class Central

The Class Central team compiles extensive lists of free certificate courses available online. Certificates often motivate learners to complete online courses. When the modern online course movement began, platforms like Coursera and edX offered free certificates, but many of those have now been replaced by paid courses.

Fortunately, universities like Harvard and Stanford still offer some free certificates as do some other platforms. Companies like Google and Microsoft have also started offering free certificates to promote their products.

Class Central aggregates courses from many providers to help you find the best courses on almost any subject, wherever they exist. Classes range from science to writing to humanities, sustainability and more. While some may be interested in learning or relearning the ins and out of calculus, others may want something more relatable to everyday life.

For example, outdoor enthusiasts may be interested in Mountains 101. This course provides a broad and integrated overview of the mountain world. This 12-lesson course covers an interdisciplinary field of study focusing on the physical, biological, and human dimensions of mountain places in Alberta, Canada, and around the world. Specifically, the curriculum studies the geological origins of mountains and how they’re built up and worn down over time. You’ll learn about their importance for biodiversity and water cycles, globally and locally. The course explores the cultural significance of mountains to societies around the globe, and how that relationship has evolved over time. It also delves into how mountains are used, how they’re protected, and how they are being affected by climate change.

At the end of each lesson, Mountains 101 also provides learners with some smart tricks, or Tech Tips, to safely enjoy time in the high alpine environment including how to pick the best footwear for hiking to making smart decisions in avalanche terrain.

Open Culture

Supported through donations, Open Culture scours the web for the best educational media. This includes lists of free courses, audio books, language lessons and educational videos. On the Open Culture website, you’ll find 1,700 free online courses from universities including Yale, MIT, Harvard, Oxford and more. The site also features collections of Online Certificate Programs and Online Degree & Mini-Degree Programs. Note: If you choose a certificate or degree program, there may be a fee involved. However, if you simply want knowledge, you’re certain to find it in the vast array of courses presented.


While Coursera explores an extensive selection of online degree programs, the website also highlights free online classes. Free classes offered include topics like The Science of Well-Being from Yale University, English for Career Development from the University of Pennsylvania, What is the Metaverse by Meta and many more.

The tutorial below shows you how to sign up for free Coursera classes. While some certificate courses require fees, the same course can be taken for free if you opt for the no certificate version. You’ll still have the knowledge—just not the certificate to prove it.

With hundreds of class offerings, the possibilities are virtually limitless. Here’s a list of classes to consider based on your interest and goals:

  • Google: 600+ free certificates and badges on technical topics such as Android Development, Google Analytics, and Google Cloud

  • LinkedIn Learning: 800+ hours of online courses with free certificates on topics such as business, design, and technology

  • Microsoft: 3,500+ modules and 750+ learning paths with free badges on technical topics such as business apps and data

  • Harvard University: Eight free certificate courses on academic topics such as computer science and programming

  • Stanford University: 300+ medical courses with free certificates and CME credit

  • Open University: 800+ free certificate courses on varied academic topics including business, law, and science

  • Digital Marketing: 1000+ free certificates and badges on digital marketing topics including SEO, social media marketing, and advertising.

Just think, your winter blues will be sidelined, and you’ll emerge even wiser. That’s a win-win!

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