Learn Something New

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.com

Learn Anything

Coursera has always been a favorite, offering challenging courses by universities. Some are free, they offer a scholarship program and some can earn you certificates that can help you in career advancement. Here’s a roundup of certificates you can earn free during the pandemic.

Also check out Class Central for free courses.

Great Courses is offering a one-month free trial and monthly plans (although quarterly is more reasonable for the frugal-minded). Udemy courses are reviewed by other students and you can select courses individually to meet any interest and you are supporting individuals that are creating educational content.

Consider creating your own exploration course, starting with any idea you are interested and Google Scholar, creating a reading list, and then finding ebooks and articles for free.


Hubspot Academy offers many free marketing and sales courses. As does Google which aims their courses towards business concerns onlines. Udacity is also offering free access for 30 days to learn higher-paying employable skills. Also check out Parade’s round up of 28+ Free Online Courses.

Both YouTube and Roku offers a roundup of educational videos and channels. Some are associated with fees, but some, like Roku’s TedTalks are free.

Young & Young at Heart

If kids or your inner child needs entertaining, how about the illustrator Wendy MacNaughton’s new Instragram daily half-hour series on learning to draw, or Asheville Science Museum’s Daily Science online offering which includes videos, activities and lessons?

An excellent round up of educational resources (that is being updated) can be found here at Amazing Educational Resources. Of note, we found 20 Virtual Field Trips that included a link to the New York’s Metropolitan and a Coco Chanel exhibit and her influence on modernism.

Fitness & Wellbeing

If you’ve been wanting to try yoga, this could be the time! Purna Yoga 828 has shifted to online/virtual classes. They are offering these classes as seva (service) to our community until March 31st, after that they will be moving to a sliding scale payment system. Asheville Community Yoga has been taking their classes online – from Meditation and Mantra, Vinyasa Flow, to Yoga for Seniors and more. They have always provided their services as donation–whatever you feel like you can pay and their online classes offer the same option. Namaste In Nature is offering several free guided mediation and yoga videos as well.

Although gyms are closed, yours might be offering something online. YMCA is offering its members virtual classes free for 30 days. Planet Fitness is offering free daily live streams from its United We Move program on Facebook.

Roku has a round up of fitness channels that are free and that are extending free trials – as always be sure to cancel prior to end dates if you don’t want to be charged.

If you don’t have gym equipment, we found a well laid out one-month exercise program using inexpensive resistance bands.

And, of course YouTube is always worth exploring for anything you’ve ever wanted to try. Belly Dancing maybe (all shapes welcome – learn along with new beginners)? Or, how about an African Dance series for something more energetic and with some great beats, or here is one of our staff’s favorite Qigong video demonstrating the Eight Pieces of Silk Brocade.

Finally, if you need a course on how to be happy, how about Coursera’s offering of Yale’s The Science of Well-Being?

Cooking & Herbs

In addition to exercise, this might be a good time to try your hand at cooking–whether you are raiding the pandemic pantry for those unusual grains that was the last box on the store shelf or trying to figure out what to do with the three pound bag of kale you committed to because you had no more room in the freezer for frozen dinners. Food and Wine keeps an updated list here of cooking classes (both free and paid) by well-known chefs. And if you need help when something goes wrong, Food52 offers a discussion forum hotline for those questions that invariably come up when trying a new recipe.

If you are interested in herbs, Asheville’s Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine offers serious in-depth online courses, but have also made suggestions for the novice to explore herbalism for free. They include signing up for a free mini-course (although it’s on a waitlist right now) and offers 25% off their spring course tuition.

If you don’t want to wait, going further ‘afield’, The Herbal Academy offers a free online mini class, and the well-established Mountain Rose Herb offers a fascinating series of podcasts and blog articles.

Also, don’t forget to also check Udemy for inexpensive herb crafting classes, and Coursera’s more indepth free herbalism course.