Top Courses to Help You Become a Better Global Citizen

Education has the power to change individuals, and individuals have the power to change the world. But where do you start? Forming educated opinions about today’s critical global issues is a valuable step you can take towards becoming a better global citizen—and a world changer. Whether you’re looking to get informed ahead of the U.S. election or want to start making a difference in your community and beyond, we have course options for you.

Browse our lookbook highlighting courses that will help you build your perspective on world politics and globalization, climate change, the justice system, public health, and the economy.

World Politics and Globalization

If you’re looking to get a broad perspective on the world today and don’t know where to start, consider a course in world politics. Explore major issues in world politics, dive into globalization and how it can shape your perspective of today’s challenges, or learn about the world’s shared plan to make the world a better place.

Course highlights:

Climate Change

From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production to rising sea levels that increase the risk of flooding, climate change brings challenges with far-reaching impacts on the world. Whether you want to learn about the science behind climate change, explore the solutions currently being implemented, or get strategies for communicating as a change agent, there’s a course for you

Course highlights:

The Justice System

The justice system in the U.S. has been thrown into the spotlight this year, and other countries around the world are facing their own justice challenges, too. To start forming educated opinions about your system, take a broad look at justice in the context of moral and political philosophy or take a deep dive into the improvements being implemented in one area.

Course highlights:

Public Health

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. However, it affects more than just you and your local community. It can have far-reaching impacts on a global scale, as we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Understanding those impacts is one of the first steps you can take to start building your perspective on this critical global issue.

Course highlights:

  • Build an understanding of the value of health as not just a benefit or right of individuals, but as a global public need in Global Public Health from SDGAcademyX.
  • Prepare to confront the opioid epidemic by gaining a broad perspective of the causes of, effects of, and solutions to it in The Opioid Crisis in America from HarvardX.

The Economy

From unequal development to the disruption technology has caused in the job market, there are a number of challenges facing the global economy today. Take a deep dive into one of these issues and explore the changes we can make to overcome them together.

Course highlights:

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The Secret to Successful Remote Teams Isn’t So Serious

Remote work culture is constantly changing. Unlike pants, humor is a necessity for dealing with this change. As companies continue to face the challenge of keeping their remote teams motivated and connected, a first-of-its-kind online learning experience reveals why there’s hope in humor and how you can use humor to transform your own virtual teams.

In a fun-filled Facebook live event, Naomi Bagdonas and Connor Diemand-Yauman, instructors for the Remotely Humorous: Build Joyful and Resilient Virtual Teams With Humor Professional Certificate program and leading experts who have taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, revealed some of the science behind why humor is such a superpower in the remote work world. Keep reading to learn more or watch the video below for the full talk.

Your Brain on Humor: A Powerful Cocktail of Hormones

When we laugh with colleagues, it turns out we’re not just having fun—our brains are serving up a powerful hormone cocktail that has unparalleled effects on our neurochemistry and behaviors.

“Humor is a superpower that literally changes our bodies and our brains,” Bagdonas said. “It changes the chemistry of our brains to make us more primed for connections, more creative and resourceful, and more resilient to stress, all of which are crucial for virtual teams.”

How Laughter Creates Bonds, Increases Creativity and Resilience, and Gives You Power

When we laugh, our brains release a cocktail of hormones that make us feel happier, less stressed, slightly euphoric, and more trusting. Bagdonas and Diemand-Yauman shared some of the greatest hits of the science and research behind how humor can improve our remote work world.

  • Form Bonds: Laughter’s power to create bonds is closely tied to the brain’s release of oxytocin, a chemical that creates feelings of closeness and trust.
  • Be More Creative: Laughter reduces the secretion of cortisol in our brains, which makes us more relaxed and creative. Cortisol is the body’s fight or flight mode and when we’re in that mode, we can’t access higher-order thinking. Researchers have found that even the anticipation of laughing has been shown to decrease cortisol by 39% and epinephrine by 70%, making us feel safer, calmer, and less stressed.
  • Boost Resilience: Laughter boosts our resilience, insulating us from stressors in our lives and allowing us to bounce back more quickly from setbacks. In a study where half of the participants were put in an eight-week program teaching skills related to using humor in everyday life, those in the skills group, as opposed to the control group, reported fewer instances of depression, lower stress, a higher proportion of positive to negative feelings, and even increased perception of control.
  • Power Up: Using humor well enhances others’ perception of our status and intelligence, influencing their behavior and decision making and making our ideas more memorable. In a survey of over 700 executives, 98% preferred employees with a sense of humor and 84% believed humorous employees do better work.

According to a survey of over 700 executives by Hodge-Cronin and Associates, 98% pf executives prefer employees with a sense of humor and 84% believe humorous employees do better work.

Late Night Comedy Meets World-Class Higher Education

What do you get when you combine behavioral science, sketch comedy, and best-in-class instruction? The never-been-done-before Professional Certificate program Remotely Humorous, perfect for companies looking to provide their teams and leaders with tools to make the best of this tough situation, or for individuals who could benefit from injecting humor into their professional development.

Through engaging content and interactive team building activities, the program transforms teams to become more joyful, bonded, and resilient. No trust-falls necessary! Learn more about this fun, highly interactive program tailored to this moment in history and created with a team of writers from comedy institutions like The Onion, Comedy Central, and Funny or Die.

Register now for HumorX’s Remotely Humorous Professional Certificate program and courses.

The post The Secret to Successful Remote Teams Isn’t So Serious appeared first on edX Blog.

New edX Survey Reveals Americans Are Conflicted About Education Decisions in the Wake of COVID-19

edX recently conducted a survey exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way that Americans think about their future education and career decisions, and found conflicting points of view. The pandemic has directly impacted 58% of Americans’ decisions to seek additional education. While respondents agreed that learning opportunities to advance their careers were best, they remained split on the need to invest in education during these times. Additional results highlight that now, when education may be needed most, there are barriers that prevent them from viewing or using education as a solution.

Education has always been linked to improved job and earning potential, and with the pandemic leading us into a likely economic downturn, cost is clearly top of mind. The majority of our respondents (56%) are interested in pursuing additional education but cannot due to cost (29%) or other factors such as limited time (23%). In contrast, just over a quarter (26%) said they are more likely to seek additional education because they want to find a recession-proof job.

Image of grad cap with text "over half are interested in pursuing additional education"

With many looking ahead to a summer of continued social distancing and fully remote work, educational opportunities that are affordable, flexible and relevant will be crucial. For Americans interested in taking an online course during this period, 45% are looking for a course that will help advance their career, compared to 30% who are interested in taking a course to explore a new interest. 

Past recessions have driven people to gain additional education and advanced degrees to better position themselves in the job market. This time around, the quality of online learning and the innovation of modular credentials means that traditionally perceived barriers like location, time, and a significant investment of money are less of an obstacle. With online learning, everyone has the opportunity to learn new skills to help future-proof their careers in what has become an economically unstable time period.

Developing programs and credentials that help people gain the knowledge and skills they need to advance their careers is in edX’s DNA. We offer an innovative suite of stackable, modular credentials – including MicroMasters® Programs, Professional Certificate Programs and MicroBachelors® Programs – that deliver meaningful career impact in a flexible and affordable way. Online learning has the power to unlock new and bigger opportunities for the restless learners, like you, that come to edX to achieve their goals.

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Learn at Home Lookbook: Explore Your Childhood Dream Job in These 8 Courses

As we navigate our new normal, we’re all looking for ways to spend our time at home. Whether you want to distract yourself with something fun, get up to speed on trending topics, or gain career-relevant skills, there’s a path for you with us.

Think back to when you were a kid. What did you want to be when you grew up? Even if the career path you’re following now isn’t what you dreamed of back then, there are ways you can get a glimpse of that world. If you’re looking for a way to have fun and keep learning, take a moment to dive into those topics you always wanted to learn more about as a kid.

Browse our lookbook highlighting eight courses that will let you explore your childhood dreamsor current passions!including video game designer, space explorer, meteorologist, chef, architect, archaeologist, musician, and animal behaviorist.

1. Video Game Designer

If you grew up with a video game controller in your hands, you may have imagined creating your own games. While your full-time job may not be video game designer, you can still join our quest to understand how video games are designed.

Course highlight: In CS50’s Introduction to Game Development from HarvardX, you’ll explore the design of your favorite classic games, including Super Mario Bros., Pokémon, Angry Birds, and more. By the time you’ve completed the course, you’ll have programmed several of your own games and gained a thorough understanding of game design and development basics.

Meet your instructors: You’ll learn from David J. Malan, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Harvard University, and Colton Ogden, a Technologist in the Division of Continuing Education at Harvard University. Malan is the professor for CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science, which is the #1 most popular course on edX.

2. Space Explorer

Did you dream of going to the moon or being the first person to walk on Mars? We can’t send you into outer space, but we can help you explore it from your couch.

Course highlight: In The Conquest of Space: Space Exploration and Rocket Science from UC3Mx, you’ll follow the birth of the Space Age, uncover the evolution of space exploration, and analyze current trends. Along the way, you’ll learn how to solve basic technical and engineering problems of space travel, rocket propulsion, space systems, and human space flight.

Watch the course preview and meet your instructors:

3. Meteorologist

The idea of predicting the weather and being on television may have sparked your interest in a career as a meteorologist. But even if you won’t be a star on the Weather Channel, you can still learn how to predict the weather at home!

Course highlight: In Backyard Meteorology: The Science of Weather from HarvardX, you’ll learn how to make a weather forecast just by looking out your window. As you explore the science behind weather systems, you’ll discuss the physical processes driving weather and examine the limits of different weather prediction methods.

Watch the course preview and meet your instructor:

4. Chef

Many of us have been forced to practice our cooking abilities more often lately. Even if you’ve been burning toast on a regular basis, it’s never too late to improve your culinary skills.

Course highlight: In Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science from HarvardX, you’ll join top chefs as they reveal the secrets behind their culinary creations. Then, Harvard researchers will explain the science behind the recipe. As you follow along in your own kitchen, you’ll learn how to think like a chef and a scientist—and make tasty dishes while you’re at it!

Hear from a learner: “I really enjoyed the course and have a new appreciation for food and cooking. I now make better scrambled eggs and French fries, a great molten chocolate cake and flan, and I love my new way of preparing salmon, using the Maillard reaction!”

5. Architect

If you were fascinated by all of the buildings that were so much taller than you, you may have wondered how they were designed. Keep that passion going by taking a course in architecture.

Course highlight: In The Architectural Imagination from HarvardX, you’ll learn how to understand architecture as both cultural expression and technical achievement. As you explore the idea of architectural imagination, you’ll get to put on your architect hat and complete hands-on exercises in drawing and modeling.

Watch the course preview and meet one of your instructors:

6. Archaeologist

Did Indiana Jones inspire you to go on adventures and treasure hunts? While “treasure hunter” isn’t a common career path to follow, the field of archaeology is still yours to explore.

Course highlight: In Pyramids of Giza: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology from HarvardX, you’ll embark on an online journey to ancient Egypt’s most famous archaeological site. There, you’ll uncover the history and significance of Giza, and use new digital techniques to unravel the mysteries of its ancient tombs and temples.

Watch the course preview and meet your instructor:


7. Animal Behaviorist

If you’re an animal lover, there’s no doubt you imagined choosing an animal-related career at some point during your childhood. Whether your actual career is related to animals or not, there are always opportunities to learn more about the animals that share our world.

Course highlight: In Introduction to Animal Behavior from WageningenX, you’ll broaden your understanding of animal behavior beyond nature documentaries or a typical high school education. Together with three top researchers from Wageningen University & Research, you’ll explore the complexities of wild animal behavior and how they’re studied.

Hear from a learner: “I have learned many cool things and was impressed by the wide broad of animals’ potential, illustrated with so many examples.”

8. Musician

If you’ve always had a passion for music but didn’t know how to get started, it’s never too late to find joy in creating and sharing music with others.

Course highlight: In Introduction to Musical Theory from BerkleeX, Berklee College of Music professor George W. Russell, Jr. will teach you the knowledge and skills needed to understand basic musical theory. Plus, you’ll hear from Berklee students about their own musical journeys and leave inspired to create music of your own and share it with others.

Watch the course preview and meet your instructor:

Keep Learning, Together

Together with our university partners and the millions of learners who make up our community, we want to support you in your learning journey in every way we can. Explore more fun courses and programs and check out our collection of tips for learning online.

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