The upside to online courses

56939295Congratulations, you’ve graduated! Now what? Although you learned a lot during your many years in post-secondary education, you may still feel unprepared for the real world. Are you looking into furthering your education but don’t want to break your already-in-debt bank account?

Online classes are a great way to expand your portfolio and learn a new skill set. Speaking from personal experience, being a freelance artist is hard work. I need to understand how a business is run and make sure all my technical skills are up-to-date and at their best. Although I learned a lot in university, I still feel like there is much I’ve yet to acquire.

Many job postings ask their candidates to be efficient in different software programs, like Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop to name a few. We learn the basics in both secondary and post-secondary education, but usually the basics are not enough to compete with those who have a full working knowledge. Why not take a course in Photoshop, Excel, or even the dreaded Flash?

Want to travel? Many websites now offer free courses in a multitude of different languages. Many 20-somethings get the travel bug once they finish school and this may be the opportunity to explore (while keeping in line with your budget). Take a few courses in your favourite languages! You never know when you’re going to meet a future business contact or build a new relationship with that attractive person you meet on the train – all because you took the plunge and did something new.

Interested in making some extra money on the side? Many organizations offer courses in creative fields such as songwriting (lalala) and music production. Whether you want to pursue music as a career or a hobby, this could be a great way to push you and your creativity. Someone famous could need a hand writing the next greatest hit or a DJ for a special block party. The person they hire could be you!

Taking a course in corporate culture and entrepreneurship can help kick start your career. For those like me, starting their own business and trying to promote themselves as an independent brand, we need to understand what companies that want to hire freelancers or contractors are looking for.

Whether you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying to learn something new, or building on your current skills, online courses are often overlooked (even though many are free).

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Via: http://mcofinancialservices.com/mcotraining/e-learning/online-courses/

Coursera.org is a well-known education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide. Backed by their respective institutions, they provide experts and professors in their field to provide you with free online courses. Through short videos, interactive quizzes and peer-graded assessments, students can learn at their own pace and schedule while connecting with the instructors and fellow students. Upon completion of each course you are given a verified certificate.

Canvas.net is another well known organization where educators from all over the world offer lessons on the interweb! They provide a platform for students, teachers and institutions worldwide to connect and develop skills. Courses on canvas.net help chart a student’s personal growth, professional development and academic inquiry. Partnered with both educational institutions and community groups, experts expand their students’ minds and experiment with new technologies. Upon completion, students are given a certificate, too.

Alison.com is a global e-learning community offering free, high-quality resources to help students develop essential, certified workplace skills. Every one of their courses is standards-based and certified. Once you have completed your course, you can download a proof of accomplishment document and order a certificate.

With today’s resources and technologies, it is easier to take that next step to better ourselves – whether academically, socially, professionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. Whether you want to pursue your studies in the form of graduate education or in a specialized online course, the options are there for us youngins to be on our A-Games! I know I am considering looking into some of these options to push my career to where I want it to be.

I’ll let you know how that goes if you do :).

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