10 non-tech MOOCs you can complete during lockdown

Till 14th April?and most likely for longer?we are in a lockdown. Many of us are working from home, even prior to that.

While we hear many stories of enhanced productivity and quick adaptation to the new life, the fact is that confinement to home with no socializing whatsoever will take its toll unless we do a variety of things, that we do in our normal life. Professional work, food, sleep and Netflix is a combo that we cannot sustain for too long a period.

Unless we have an active hobby that can be pursued at home?such as painting or singing?we are likely to develop anxiety and depression, if we do not engage ourselves in a multitude of activities that include, but is not restricted to, work, physical exercise, mental exercise other than professional work, according to psychologists.

The lockdown will have an impact on the mental health of people, according to Sir Simon Wessely, a psychology professor and Chair of UK?s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act, reported The Telegraph, UK. The newspaper quoted Sir Wessely saying that humanity has never faced a challenge like this. ?Even during World War II, people could still go out to restaurants and spend time with their loved ones,? he was quoted as saying.

One of the best ways to get out of that is to take to activities that are challenging to some extent, yet not taxing and at the end, there is a sense of accomplishment.

One does not have to look beyond MOOCs (massive open online courses) to find such engagements. Many of the courses are interesting, engaging, fun and at the end gives you a sense of accomplishment and sometimes, even a certificate.

However, there is a caution. Anything that is too much about your core work may not be the mental deviation that we are looking at. While you may still do that, given you have time, that may not be the ?fulfilling escape? of ?creative balancing factor? that we are seeking.

For example, try learning about history of Western Classical Music or The Gandhar Art or Brazilian Customs. They would be a complete deviation, and should be done.

We recommend here a set of MOOCs that are more middle-of-the-road.

The reason for doing that is two-fold. One, you all have different hobbies and interests and we do not know them. Even if we do that, we can never create a list of ten such courses.

Second, while the topics are different enough from what you do every day in your profession, they will still create some value for you at the end, which you can, in future, apply to your career. That will give you sense of accomplishment.

We screened courses in six platforms – Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, iversity, Swayam and Udemy. None of the courses from edX and Swayam, however, have made it to the final list.

All the ten recommendations here are selected applying the following basic filter:

  • They must be fairly different from your regular work. So, technology, data science, project management, finance are out.
  • They must have some value to you as a professional/leader, in the future, if not immediately. They may not be for doing your job better or for getting a promotion, but for being more respected and appreciated.
  • They must be interesting enough to sustain your interest.
  • They should make you use your mental agility and not be just for passive consumption.
  • They must be available to pursue now. We are not giving you a career guidance. It is for completing in this period.
  • And yes, they must be short enough to be completed within two weeks.

The above are the basic filters, but while selecting the ten courses, we have given importance to four factors when selecting one from the other. They are:

  1. Relevance for IT leader
  2. Rating of the course
  3. Organization/University (not the platform) offering the course and certificate, and
  4. Cost of the course

So, here is our Top 10, in no particular order. Click on the course title to go to the course on the respective platform.


1. Design Thinking for Innovation

Platform: Coursera

Course Offered by: University of Virginia

Start: 29 March 2020

Duration: Flexible Deadlines (approx. 10 hours to complete; suggested: 5 weeks of study, 1-3 hours/week)

Certificate: Available

Fees: INR 2780


2. Business Metrics for Data-Driven Companies

Platform: Coursera

Course Offered by: Duke University

Start: 29 March, 2020

Duration: Flexible Deadline (approx. 14 hours to complete, suggested:4 weeks, 3-5 hours per week

Certificate: Available

Fees: INR 3493 per month after trial period


3. Digital Skills: User Experience

Platform: FutureLearn

Course Offered by: Accenture

Start: Available now (Started 2nd March 2020)

Duration: 3 Weeks, 2 hours/week

Certificate: Available

Fees: Free


4. Getting Started with Agile and Design Thinking

Platform: FutureLearn

Course Offered by: University of Virgina

Start: Available now; Starts again on 13 April

Duration: 4 Weeks, 4 hours/week

Certificate: Available

Fees: Free to learn, pay USD 74 for certificate and unlimited access


5. Effective Delegation

Platform: Udemy

Course Offered by: LearnSmart

Start: Any time

Duration: Self-paced, 1.5 hours of on-demand video

Certificate: Available

Fees: INR 2880


6. Fifteen Great CTO Leadership Hacks: All the skills you need to become an outstanding CTO

Platform: Udemy

Course Offered by: Udemy

Start: Any time

Duration: Self-paced (2 hours on-demand video)

Certificate: Available

Fees: INR 700


7. Spiritual Insights for Businesses, Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Platform: Udemy

Course Offered by: Sadhguru

Start: Anytime

Duration: Self-paced (5 hours on-demand video)

Certificate: Available

Fees: INR 700


8. Cyber Expression: Be an Emotionally Intelligent IT Leader

Platform: Udemy

Course Offered by: The Cyber Leadership Coach

Start: Anytime

Duration: Self-paced (4 hours of on-demand video)

Certificate: Available

Fees: INR 700


9. Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Platform: Coursera

Course Offered by: ESSEC Business School

Start: 29 March

Duration: Flexible Deadline

Certificate: Available

Fees: INR 2067


10. Thinking Complexity

Platform: iversity

Course Offered by: Toulouse Business School

Start: Anytime

Duration: Self-paced

Certificate: Available for a fee

Fees: Free to learn, pay EUR 29 for certificate

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