The Top 15 Harvard
MOOCs in 2021

Harvard is one of the world’s most renowned and reputable university colleges. Harvard is a private Ivy League institution located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The school focuses on research and innovation in an array of subjects.

This article covers the 15 best free online Harvard courses available. Whether you want to further your career, or just develop new skills for fun, Harvard’s free online courses can be a fantastic way to fortify your resume. Harvard University’s free online courses can also boost your credentials and help you land better positions in your field.

What Is Software Engineering?

A paralegal is an expert in legal science. They are in charge of assisting with legal procedures, either as a freelancer or while working for a law firm. Paralegals must have a degree and certifications before they can begin working.

Usually, someone who works as an assistant at a private company is called a paralegal, whereas a legal assistant might instead work for a government agency. The two positions are very similar and require the same academic training.

What Is a MOOC?

MOOC stands for massive online open course. MOOCs are available through quite a few learning platforms across the Internet. MOOCs can help you learn new skills or specialize in particular topics of interest. These courses cover a wide range of topics, from computer programming to gardening.

MOOCs started to gain prominence only in the last decade. In the 2010s, several providers emerged, such as edX and Khan Academy, which offer not-for-profit MOOCs. There are for-profit MOOCs as well, such as Udacity and Coursera.

MOOCs can be short courses or entire degree programs. In 2013, Udacity launched the first MOOC degree in collaboration with San Jose State University. The program costs $7,000, which is substantially cheaper than the in-person degree. Harvard offers a set of courses free of charge across online platforms such as edX and Harvard’s learning portal.

How Does a Harvard MOOC Work?

Harvard MOOCs are entirely online. You can complete any course and get a certificate from the comfort of your own home. Learning is asynchronous; the content is video-based with supporting text-based materials. Each module concludes in a set of quizzes and exercises to make sure students fully understand the content.

Harvard MOOCs also have discussion forums, which allow students to share resources and interact with each other. MOOCs last anywhere from four to 12 weeks, with students studying three to five hours per week as the workload is never excessive.

Courses Offered via edX

One popular nonprofit MOOC provider is edX, which offers courses to students across the globe. The platform boasts over 3,000 courses, which are free to audit. However, you’ll have to pay a one-time fee to obtain a certificate. edX also caters to businesses that want to upskill employees.

Courses Offered via Harvard’s Learning Portal

Subject areas in Harvard’s learning portal include art, design, computer science, business, education, humanities, and social sciences. Courses can be expensive, but some are free to audit. It’s a great platform to get your certificate because topics vary and cater to almost all professions.

Getting a Harvard Certificate

Harvard offers both graduate and undergraduate certificates. All certificates have grade requirements and need to be completed three years after enrollment. To see what’s available, head over to the Harvard learning portal. Note that certificates are expensive. Harvard does have scholarship options, so make sure to check if you are eligible.

15 Great Free Harvard Online Courses

We’ve gathered 15 great Harvard courses for your consideration. This guide should help you get an idea of what’s available and to decide if a Harvard online course is for you.

Duration: 11 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $199 fee

The course is designed to help students get a better grip on algorithms and problem-solving. The certificate starts with an entry-level course taught by David J. Malan. Topics covered include algorithms, encapsulation, data structures, resource management, and software engineering.

The course also covers the foundation of coding languages. You’ll learn about HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. After that, you’ll move on to more complex languages like Python and PHP. CS50 is a shorter version of Harvard’s larger computer science course.

This is a fantastic course to take if you’re looking to add a computer science credential to your resume. You must pass the final exam with a certain score to be eligible for the certificate.

Duration: 12 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $139 fee

There are no prerequisites for this course. If you would like to learn more about how the justice system works in the US, this is perfect for you. It’s important to know the foundations of law if you go into business or any public sector position.

Justice is a popular course available for anyone interested in legal mechanisms and social sciences. The course is taught by one of Harvard’s renowned professors, Michael Sandel. Throughout this 12-week course, you’ll cover the foundations of contemporary and classical theories of justice.

The course also incorporates aspects of law and social science. It covers same-sex marriage, human rights, property law, affirmative action, and more. Be prepared, this course does require a lot of reading. You’ll read texts by Aristotle, Kant, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill, among others.

Duration: 5 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $169 fee

This curriculum is divided into five lessons. They include Resting Potential, Passive Membrane Properties, Action Potentials, Action Potential Propagation, and DIY Labs. The final lesson is all about putting theory into practice. The lesson encourages students to perform experiments in real-life using a SpikerBox, which you can buy for yourself without breaking the bank.

This five-week course is the perfect way to get into neuroscience. It’s designed for neuroscience enthusiasts and has no prerequisites. It aims to help you understand how electricity works within your brain.

Duration: 4 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $249 fee

This course covers the fundamentals of statistical inference, p-values, and confidence intervals. R is a very complicated language; the course provides plenty of easy-to-understand examples to make sure you know how to use R in practice. Modules cover random variables, distributions, exploratory data analysis, non-parametric analysis, and more.

This course is designed for students with a background in computer science. The curriculum is all about how to use the R programming language in the context of statistical data. You do not need a lot of experience with R to enroll. However, a background in programming is highly recommended and almost essential. The course is self-paced and asynchronous.

Duration: 5 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $169 fee

This course is a great way to upgrade your Python skills. As an intermediate-level course, you’ll need a strong foundational knowledge of Python. The curriculum focuses on using Python in a research setting.

A key component of this course is the emphasis on statistical learning. The modules include Python concepts and syntax, Python research tools, and case studies. The statistical learning module uses the scikit-learn library tool.

Duration: 8 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $149 fee

This course is all about the fundamentals of the R programming language. This is an excellent opportunity for data science enthusiasts who want to know more about R. The course looks at data science through the lens of crime in the US. This will enable you to get hands-on experience using R in a practical context.

You will master the art of performing operations in R such as sorting, making plots, and handling data using dplyr. This course is associated with Harvard’s professional certificate in data science.

Duration: 8 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $99 fee

This course will take you through the basics of machine learning and computer-guided processes. It’s part of Harvard’s professional certificate program in data science. The crux of the curriculum is to enable you to figure out predictive relationships.

The course is taught by Rafael Irizarry, a prominent Harvard professor of biostatistics. Over eight weeks, you’ll cover the basics of machine learning, including cross-validation and algorithms, and you’ll learn why regularization is useful.

This is a great course to explore machine learning, especially if you have a background in math or computer science. There are no prerequisites, so anyone can enroll.

Duration: 5 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $99 fee

Technology Entrepreneurship: Lab to Market is all about the logistics of turning invention into innovation. The curriculum was constructed by Karim Lakhani from Harvard and Vish Krishnan from the University of California San Diego.

The goal of this course is to teach students how to come up with successful strategies within the technology sector. If you are a business enthusiast or have innovative ideas about technology, this course could be for you. The syllabus is divided into five sections: Systematic Innovation, Matching Needs and Seeds, Generating Business Models, Determining Market Fit, and Financing Your Venture.

Duration: 7 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $149 fee)

This course explores the term “digital humanities” in different contexts. You will learn the various uses of digital tools, and how they can improve business and educational methodologies.

This course, designed by Peter K. Bol (a Harvard professor of East Asian languages and civilizations), comes at a time when information and cultural artifacts are increasingly digitized. If you want to make sense of how to use new digital sources, this course can help. The syllabus is structured in five sections: Digital Humanities and Data, Projects and Tools, Acquiring and Cleaning Data, The Command Line, and Working With Tools Such as Voyant.

Duration: 4 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $139 fee

This course will sharpen your leadership acumen by strengthening your communication and business skills. The curriculum covers how to approach conflict and unbundle complex problems. The four-week course has been designed by Harvard professor Ronald Heifetz.

The syllabus is divided into eight sections, including Identifying Work to Be Done, Leading With and Without Authority, Thinking Politically, Building Trust, Orchestrating Conflict, Anchoring Yourself, and Staying Alive. This is a great course whether you’re looking to build a start-up or join an existing business.

Duration: 7 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $139 fee

This course is all about understanding probability and logic in a variety of contexts. It’s a great course if you don’t have any experience with probability, or if you’re planning on taking a statistics course in college.

The syllabus is structured in seven units: Basic Counting, Advanced Counting, Basic Probability, Expected Value, Conditional Probability, Bernoulli Trials, and The Normal Distribution. This seven-week course has been designed by Benedict Gross and Joseph Harris, Harvard professors of Mathematics, as well as Emily Riehl, an assistant professor in Johns Hopkins University’s Mathematics department.

Duration: 10 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $199 fee

The Architectural Imagination is designed to give you an overview of the correlation between culture, social values, and aesthetics. Throughout the course, you’ll explore subjects like cultural expression, technical prowess, and history. The curriculum also covers the interplay between technology and architecture.

By the end of the course, you will have gained a deep understanding of different forms of cultural representation. You’ll also be expected to try your hand at drawing and creating your own architectural models. The syllabus merges theoretical tools with practical exercises.

This class is divided into 10 sections, including An Introduction to the Architectural Imagination, Hegel and Architectural History, Aldo Rossi and Typology, The Dialectics of Glass and Steel, Le Corbusier’s Machines for Living, and Presenting the Unpresentable. The curriculum has been designed in part by Harvard professors Erika Naginski and K. Michael Hays.

Duration: 10 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $139 fee

This course is designed for anyone with a keen interest in energy-related topics, from infrastructure engineering to global warming. The curriculum revolves around environmental science, engineering, and the economics of our energy system. It does a superb job at explaining how energy solutions must work to protect the environment.

Rather than giving you answers, this course is designed to help you ask better questions. It is divided into 10 modules, including Energy Overview, Estimating Costs, Environmental Impacts, Fossil Fuels, The Electric Grid, Solar Power, Nuclear Power, and Demand Reduction and Efficiency.

Duration: 4 weeks
Platform: edX
Certificate: Yes, $149 fee

This course can help you make sense of inference and modeling within the context of data science. Inference is an essential tool for data scientists as it permits them to analyze how data is affected by chance. The course uses the R language, so prior experience of R is highly recommended.

The curriculum covers subjects such as error rate controlling procedures, exploratory data analysis, false discovery rates, and q-values. The course has been designed by Harvard professor Rafael Irizarry and Michael Love of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Should You Enroll in a Free Harvard Online Course?

Yes, you should. Completing a course from Harvard’s online catalog can be a huge boost to your career. All lessons are created and taught by Harvard professors, and the quality of teaching is a major plus. Over 150 Nobel prize winners have either attended Harvard or are otherwise associated with the school.

Free Harvard online courses are a fantastic way to improve your resume. More importantly, free online courses can help you hone your skills or develop new ones. If you have a background in a particular topic, a free Harvard online course can help you progress in your field.

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