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Free Online Courses That Are Favorites for Senior Citizens

 The mind is like any other muscle in the body. It needs exercise or else it will atrophy. With intermittent lockdowns in effect and a general sense of fear lingering over our heads every time we leave the house, it's important to make good use of our time at home. And the best way to do that is by learning new things, things you've probably been wanting to learn for years - like how to use certain types of tech or the history of certain cultures - but just never had the time or money. 

The good thing is, if you want to learn today, you don't need money. There are free online courses available at just the click of your mouse. You can become a certified expert on nutrition, technology, and even Greek Art without spending a dime! It can be hard to choose an appealing subject to learn. That's why we've gathered a list of the most popular courses that senior citizens all across the country have been taking and truly benefitting from with zero expense!

1. Genealogy 

Best online free courses, classes, and lessons for seniors, Image of an empty family tree

If you’ve ever wondered who your ancestors were and how the lineage of your family developed, this may be the perfect course for you. Entitled "Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree", this completely free and fully-online course is offered by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. 

This course requires only 4 hours of study per week. Within 6 weeks, you will have a better understanding of different genealogical techniques, the application of DNA testing in genealogy, the historical context of your lineage, and how to build your own family tree. 

While there are various paid versions of the course available, the free version is the most popular. Over 100,000 people have enrolled in this course and left with a greater knowledge of how genealogical research is conducted. 

2. Introduction to Classical Music 

Best online free courses, classes, and lessons for seniors, Violinists in an orchestra playing

Modern music is all well and good, but have you ever wanted to go backward in time and feel the power of master musicians like Mozart and Beethoven? This free course offered by Yale entitled “Introduction to Classical Music” has drawn in nearly 200,000 thousand enrollees precisely for that reason. Starting with the basics of what music is, this course dives into the profundity that classical music brings us. 

Professor of Music Craig Wright uses a combination of videos, quizzes, and research papers to explain the nature of how music works to create the magic we enjoy. His course covers numerous innovators and inventors that changed the course of classical music and the different instruments of various time periods. 

This course brings with it a lot of sophisticated content and is one of the top-level and highest rated free courses available online. The time allotted for completing the course is flexible so it can be done at your leisure so you can soak in every bit of musical knowledge this well-crafted course provides you. 

3. Transferring Media From iPhone to Windows PC 

Best online free courses, classes, and lessons for seniors, Multiple iPhones on table with screen facing down

Learning how to use certain technology is one skill you just can’t avoid in the current age, especially with smartphones in every person’s hand. One of the many benefits of high-tech marvels like the iPhone is the 12 Megapixel cameras they come with. Out of 100 free classes offered by TechBoomers on “Basic Computer Skills”, one of the most popular is the quick lesson on “How to Transfer Pictures and Videos from iPhone to Windows PC”.

This quick course describes, using clear instructions and pictures, 4 different and easy methods to transfer your videos and photos, making use of email, iCloud, and third-party software. So no matter what the situation, you will be able to easily access and store all of your media on multiple devices. So you won’t have to worry about losing your photos if something happens to your phone. 

This is just one of many extremely useful skills covered in the TechBoomers courses. Each lesson is short and quick, and also provides the requisite links for other related lessons. By brushing up on one skill, you may find yourself learning about many others which could prove to be useful in the future, or at least make life a little more fun.

4. How to Download a GIF 

Best online free courses, classes, and lessons for seniors, Screenshot of numerous puppy GIFs

This is one of the more fun lessons provided by TechBoomers that may also come in handy when you’re trying to show off your tech skills. GIFs are images that can support media in a static form or animated form. The internet is filled with funny short videos and pictures that go haywire, and while some are in normal video or image format, most are GIFs and need to be downloaded in order to be shared. 

Anyone who has spent time texting a younger relative will have certainly been on the receiving end of these mini-videos. This course on “How to Save a GIF on Your Computer” provides pictures and information on how to identify a GIF, where you can find them, and how to download or save GIFs from social media platforms like Facebook. 

GIFs are a great way to emote over text and also capture hilarious moments. Like with the other 99 lessons made available by TechBoomers, the class is completely free, totally flexible, and provides its syllabus in an easy-to-understand format. And any new terms or processes you come across will likely have a link to the corresponding lesson.    

5. Drawing

Best online free courses, classes, and lessons for seniors, Drawing of a hand holding a pencil to draw 

If you enjoy drawing but find yourself unsatisfied with the final product, then it’s just a sign that you need to perfect your skill. This course is entitled “Learn to Draw Online” and it provides free drawing lessons for beginners. So you don’t need to be able to draw well to take this class, you just need to have the interest to learn. 

The course is conducted by instructor John C. Kline, a professional artist and graduate of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. His course provides 14 drawing lessons, each of which are described and displayed in a video, so you can learn while watching. 

Each video is only between 2 to 10 minutes long which makes the course quicker to complete. The lessons become increasingly advanced as you complete old ones so you will be a fairly skilled artist by the end of the 14 lessons. There are also lessons provided to learn how to speed draw various objects, in case normal drawing becomes too easy!

6. Nutrition in Ageing 

Best online free courses, classes, and lessons for seniors, Old Woman putting milk in man's coffee

Nutrition is the need of the hour for old and young people. However, there is definitely a greater burden on the elderly to ensure that the body is receiving all the necessary nutrients it needs to stay strong and functional. That’s precisely what this course from Imperial College in London discusses. It is entitled “CARE: Nutrition in Ageing”.

Eating nutritiously entails far more than simply eating recognized healthy foods. The course is an introductory guide to what eating healthy actually looks like, keeping in mind the nutrients we need. It only requires 2-4 hours of study per week and can be completed within a short span of 4 weeks. 

The lessons are provided largely in video format with the information presented by multiple experts. If you’re doing the course for free, you can browse the information for free. For an added fee, you will receive a certificate specifying your successful completion of the course within the designated time frame.

7. Intro to Greek History 

Best online free courses, classes, and lessons for seniors, Ancient greek building ruins in Acropolis 

What’s better than learning about Greek History. Oh, I know. Learning about Greek History from a professor at Yale University. This course, entitled “Introduction to Ancient Greek History”, follows the development of the Ancient Greek civilization by tracing the various political and innovative achievements made by this growing society. 

The course is taught by Donald Kagan, a professor at Yale with a wealth of knowledge and resources. It is divided into 24 lectures, all available for free on a Youtube channel. Each lecture allows students to make use of not only modern texts that describe historical events, but also translations of original historical texts. 

This course is likely to be one of the best online courses, particularly out of those available on YouTube. This course has gained immense popularity because of the creative manner in which the lectures are divided and explained, as they give you incredible and accurate details of the history of Ancient Greece.   

8. Diabetes

Best online free courses, classes, and lessons for seniors, Various medical equipment for diabetics

Here is another excellent free course offered by Coursera which also comes with a shareable certificate on completion. This is an especially helpful course if you or someone you know is affected by Diabetes. This course is offered by the University of Copenhagen and is called “Diabetes - the Essential Facts”. 

The course is a part of the European health program, EIT health. In just 10 shorts video lectures taught by various instructors, this course outlines what diabetes is, who is at greatest risk of developing it, and how it can be managed with the right balance of nutrients and exercise. The course takes only 10 hours to complete and can be done at your leisure. 

The instructors of the course are experts and researchers from numerous different universities, including the offering school as well as Emory University in Atlanta and Imperial College London. This course also comes with additional optional reading materials that can truly expand your knowledge of how to prevent diabetes. 

Be sure to share these free courses with anyone that can benefit from them! 

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