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My Top Website Recommendation for Free Online Courses

Anyone who has ever paid tuition or student loans knows that education is not cheap. In UK turf,annual tuition cost is the highest in Europe, going for as much as £16,000. If you factor in other expenditures such as meals, transport and food, the costs are easily not for the faint-hearted and the faint of wallets.

Fortunately, there are many resources available online where you can take classes for free, starting from introductory lessons to more advanced topics. It could be anything from algebra, photo editing, business management to statistics, computer programming, neuroscience and more. The choices are vast and impressive. I highly recommend these websites to anyone who wants to flex their brain muscles, right from the comfort of your own computer and without spending a single quid! Whether you are just looking into getting refresher courses, maybe updating your skills or getting into more intensive learning programmes, these wonderful resources are definitely worth checking out — all free and yours for the taking.

I recommend these top five free learning resources to top up your knowledge base:

Khan Academy

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Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organisation that operates by the mission of providing free world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Since being founded in 2008 by Salman Khan starting from just making videos to help his cousins with their math homeworks, it has since then reached all corners of the world with courses translated to over 35 languages and teaching 27,538,080 learners to date. Khan Academy offers thousands of free educational videos that you can learn on your own pace. It is a good starting point for subjects like math, science, art history, history, economics and computer programming among many others.

 

Coursera

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Coursera is an educational platform that partners with top universities and organisations from around the globe, offering free online courses that are open for anyone to take. Along with the video courses are interactive quizzes, peer graded assessments and the ability to connect with both fellow students and instructors. For most of the courses offered in Coursera, you have the option to acquire certificates as proof for completing the course requirements. Coursera is by far the best resource for high-level academic materials with subjects available in departments like medicine, physics, software engineering, law, music and film. Coursera is also available as an app, perfect for mobile and self-guided study.

 

EdX

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EdX is an open-source online learning platform, an initiative by two of the best universities in the world, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University. The platform not only offers online courses from universities, but also from global member partnerships  including NGOs, businesses and foundations. While EdX’s learning modules are free, professional education courses are an exception. Upcoming lectures that might interest you include Introduction to Finance and Accounting, Sharepoint Basics, Spanish Introduction and Molecular Biology.

 

Class Central

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Class Central is an MOOC aggregator platform featuring courses offered by prestigious universities like Harvard University, MIT and Princeton University, as well from other reputable online course providers, both big and small. For those not familiar with MOOC, it stands for massive online open course, a model for learning focused on unlimited participation and open access via online. You’ll never have to miss classes again as Class Central offers newsletter feature that gives you updates and alerts for subjects that you are interested in.

 

Udacity

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Udacity is a digital learning platform specialising in computer science courses. It was founded by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, born out of their Stanford University experiment that aims to teach “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” to anyone, for free. Their courses are built by industry giant themselves, among which Google, Facebook, Twitter, Cloudera and AT&T. If you are keen on learning new tech skills to become a web developer, data analyst, mobile developer or the like, theír resource materials are available for free at your disposal. Among the many interesting courses that you can access are Developing Android Apps, HTML5 Game Development and Data Analysis, just to name a few.

 

Succeeding in these online courses require copious amount of self-discipline, persistence, hard-work and the intrinsic desire to accomplish the goal. These resources are free to peruse at your own time and at the comfort of your own home. Take advantage of these websites to learn something new, improve your job prospects and better yourself. Remember, knowledge is power!

Happy Learning!

**Originally written and published by Sherylyn Oben, (2015). Money-Saving Hack: The Top 5 Websites for Free Online Courses | SurveyBee.net.

The Rainbow panorama is a brainchild of Olafur Eliasson
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Pics and Vid: Day Trip at aRos Aarhus Art Museum

Updated: Check out this short video that I made from this museum trip:

 

The Rainbow panorama is a brainchild of Olafur Eliasson

The Rainbow panorama by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The permanent installation sit atop the aRoS Museum of Art in Aarhus Denmark. Here, you can take a panoramic walk and enjoy the stunning view of the city through technicolored glass. The experience is quite special and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the city.

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As seen from outside. The architectural concept of the building is inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy

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Interpreting art is always subjective and very personal. To me, being in the rainbow panorama is the satisfying culmination of the different feelings and sensations experienced through the journey in the museum. Taking in Dante’s literature into account, the rainbow is the symbol of reaching enlightenment and nirvana.

View from the Skylounge

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The mandatory tourist photo op amid all the colors of the spectrum, channeling my inner Rainbow Brite!

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While we came here on a gray day, the view from inside the rainbow is nonetheless pretty. Here’s Lars pausing to take in the view of of the city below.

Walking the rainbow walkway while taking in the beautiful view of the city through rainbow- colored glass.

The building details inspired by Dante's The Divine Comedy with the spiral staircase symbolising the journey from hell, purgatory to heaven.

The building details of the museum  are inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy, the spiral staircase symbolising the journey from hell, purgatory to heaven. The way to heaven/hell, all nine floors of it, could be quite a workout but there’s an expressway by lift .

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The museum is currently showing Monet – Lost in Translation. a collection of artworks by the greatest French impressionists including Monet. Here's one of Monet's iconic paintings of waterlilies

The museum is currently showing Monet – Lost in Translation, an exhibition of  the artworks by the greatest French impressionists including Monet. Of course, an Impressionist gallery wouldn’t be complete without Monet’s iconic paintings of waterlilies. Impressionism is my favorite art movement – rebellious and exceptionally beautiful in an understated manner.

Caught in the Act, an installation showing colorful birds caught in the act of stealing pills, lit up as if by police search light

Caught in the Act, an installation showing colorful birds caught in the act of stealing pills, lit up as if by police search light. Before reading the artists’ intent, I thought it was depicting drugged out people hallucinating the ability to fly.

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Boy by Ron Mueck Mueck, an Aussie was quoted saying that had he known the boy would go to DK, he would have given him a sweater

Boy by Ron Mueck| Mueck was quoted saying that had he known the boy would go to DK, he would have given him warmer clothes. I couldn’t agree more!

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Hyperreal details – wrinkles, folds and hairs. Fascinating!

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The cool window of the museum’s in-house cafe. How would you like some ham to go with your espresso? As the museum could easily take a whole day to explore properly, coffee and cake with a view is a welcome break!

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View of Aarhus from the museum’s sky lounge

If you fancy visiting the aRoS museum and would like to find out more information on ongoing exhibitions, here’s the link to their website. For contemporary art lovers who are visiting Denmark, this is a must-see.

Quick Info: Aros Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus | Adult: 130 kr / Students and under 28: 110 kr / Children under 18: Free | Within 10 minute walking distance from bus and central station | Closed on Mondays | Paid parking near the museum (60 kr for 4 hours) | Open from 9.00 – 17.00, Wed & Thurs until 22.00

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Nørrebro|Happy Place: Wander Aimlessly

These photos were taken while wandering aimlessly and exploring the side streets of Copenhagen by bike. There’s just something very satisfying about getting lost and stumbling on tucked away corners of beauty and colours while finding my way around. It sounds like a paradox but sometimes just wandering and not knowing exactly where you’re going could be the best way to know a new place more intimately. Alone and with a camera in tow, the curious kid in me gets a kick from exploring these backstreets and unlocking hidden gems scattered around the city. These little pockets of discoveries are my little happy places.


 

Nørrebro

If you’re looking for something more colorful, a little more shabby and high up on hipster quotient in Copenhagen, I cannot recommend Nørrebro highly enough. Being the cheapest district in the capital, Nørrebro is the most culturally-diverse area. The burly bearded Dane on his fixie bike, the young abaya-clad Arab women going about their shopping or the group of kids expertly whizzing up and down their skateboards – people watching in this part of the city is a treat. The multicultural vibe of the area is so prominent, you can see and smell it in the wide array of shawarma shops, Asian kiosks, vibrant nightspots, thriving food hubs and hip urban spaces dotted around the district.

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Nørrebro Skatepark | Nørrebroruten, 2200 København N I wasn’t riding the ramps and ledges, I  can barely balance myself on a bike with no hands, let alone attempt to skateboard :) I found this spot while walking around,  taking photos of urban wall murals around the area. Nørrebro has some of the coolest and they got plenty!

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Queen Louise’s Bridge |Dronning Louises Bro, 1371 København The bridge that connects the city to Nørrebro is fun hangout spot especially during the summer months. Sit by the ledge or on the benches surrounding the lake, preferably with friends and a beer in hand, Here you can hang out and enjoy the stunning views of the lake. After dark every night, you can catch the the iconic egg-laying chicken neon ad shine over Peblinge Sø. 

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92 Nørrebrogade, the most iconic graffiti art in the district: One man’s trash, another man’s treasure

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Superkilen, Heimdalsgade Superkilen is a huge urban park that celebrates the diversity of the local district. The idea behind is to create a unifying space across ethnic, language and religious boundaries. If you’re amodern architecture  fan like me, you’ll be pretty pleased to know that Danish starchitect Bjarke Ingels was the genius behind this project.

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Superkilen | Black Market White curving lines on dark asphalt make for such a visually appealing space.

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Superkilen | A part of the Red Square

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Jagtvej 69 | The dove wall mural by Shepard Fairey on the site of Ungdomshuset. Ungdomshuset had served as a site for music and acts, as well as a notorious rendezvous point for left-wing activists. The place was eventually torn down in 2007 leading to aggressive riots in the area.

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A cute balcony

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Woman on Bike Mural on Norrebrogade-Ravnborsggade | This has got to be my most favorite street art in Norrebro as it reflects the strong bicycle culture of the city. 

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Kebabistan | Nørrebrogade 162 Nørrebro is home to the best shawarma shops in the city. A long day of exploring or a booze-infused night-out in town calls for the perfectly slow roasted slab of meat basted on its own fat, stuffed into some pita bread along with chunks of veggies, slathered lovingly with chili. This is good stuff! I recommend lamb dürüm at Kebabistan – best of the lot!

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

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Stella Polaris Festival

Last summer, Fredriksberg Have was filled to the brim with thousands of revellers enjoying the hypnotic tunes and blazing sunshine at Denmark’s biggest annual electronic chill concert, Stella Polaris.  The park transformed to the perfect chill-out area with bean bags, picnic blankets and umbrellas strewn across the lush grass, from which visitors savour the beats and sounds wafting from the several stages in the venue. The lineup includes some of the most exciting international acts in the chill-out genre like Kelela, Jimmy Sommerville, Museum of Love and Lulu Rouge. Since its humble conception in Aarhus in 1997, Stella Polaris has grown to become the one of the biggest and most anticipated summer event, attracting ever-great numbers in the cities of Sønderborg, Kolding and Odense, Aarhus and Copenhagen.

In response to this week’s challenge: Happy place

Why happy? You can’t help but be all smiles in a place like this – there all the joys that to be expected from upbeat music, beautiful nature, good weather and great company! What’s not to be happy about? :)

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Maintaining Boundaries

Last Saturday, I joined a group of fellow shutterbugs – pros and hobbyists alike, for the annual Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk Day.

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Photo credit to Ollé Marc Schirach

The venue was at Hjerl Hede, an open air museum that recreates life and the surroundings of an old Danish village. Here, you can see and experience how Danish rural life was like hundreds of years ago. Among the many interesting things that you can find here are furnished village houses, farms, stables, flour mill, a convenience store and craft shops. Every element was set with great attention to detail to foster an authentic experience. The museum covers a large area so you can easily spend a whole afternoon here going in from house to house. In the summer months, the place comes to life with actors in costume playing as local villagers going about their daily routines. Sadly, there weren’t any actors when we visited since it’s officially autumn now in Denmark – although I could swear that it did feel quite like summer last weekend. I am not complaining! :)

Below are some of the photos I took on location.  I already saw most of the photos that the other photographers took and it was really interesting to see how we all had very different takes on the subject. It’s always inspiring to see how others see the world. Overall, I had a great time. It was nice meeting new interesting people and catching up with a few whom I haven’t seen in a while.

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Boundaries.”

Sometimes photography blurs the boundary between photographer and subject.The boundaries aren’t always explicit like in some of these photos but there is almost always a barrier between me and things that I photograph. Barriers that are either of a physical or metaphorical kind. Camera, fences, feelings, fear, distance.

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Off the Grid: Freetown Christiania

In the summer of 1971, squatters in Copenhagen moved in on the abandoned military base, forming the autonomous freetown of Christiania. The hippie anarchic enclave is infamous for its controversial tolerance for hash and marijuana. On a short stretch called Pusher Street, you can find stalls and booths where cannabis-derived products are openly sold. Mainly due to the hash dealing on this street, photography and running is strictly prohibited.
Besides its notoriety, Christiania is a delightful place to explore. The place is brimming with many pleasant bars and cafes, colorful homes, cool murals, eclectic artworks and an atmosphere that you cannot experience anywhere else. It’s really amazing that a place like this exists within the clean crisp confines of Copenhagen.

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The Social Media Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Job

Social Media is now so woven into our lives so it’s very important to be mindful of what we share online. These are the mistakes that you should avoid making at all cost.

1 Complaining about your job
You probably heard too many horror stories of employees who got fired for bad-mouthing their bosses on social media. Tempting and satisfying as it might be to take a dig at your annoying employer, never, ever, vent anger and frustrations about your work, colleagues and boss online. Keep in mind that nothing is really private on social media and that these posts can easily backfire on you. Anything you post can go public in no time by just anyone “liking” retweeting, tagging or sharing it. Remember that these seemingly petty social media rants can raise a red-flag with your current and prospective employers. Even complaining how bored you are at work can damage your professional image and hurt job prospects.

2 Posting wild party pictures
While it is debatable if it is indeed unfair how private behaviour unrelated to work can sabotage job prospects, it’s no secret that employers do scour social media to find information about you. It is completely okay to post fun, read: tasteful (aka G-rated) photos of your night-out with friends but keep in mind that excessive feeds like these can easily label you as the party animal job candidate. Your online photos could affect how employers determine if you are the right kind of person to represent the company as your character can be judged by your photos’ appropriateness. Even if it is “all in good fun”, trust me, your photo lying on the curb drunk does not represent you in the best way possible.

3 Making typos and grammar errors
It may seem convenient to use texting language on social media but you are really better off with spelling everything out! A 2014 survey conducted by Jobvite reveals that 66 percent of recruiters are turned off by grammar and spelling errors on social media. It may appear harmless but these errors communicate a degree of sloppiness and employers believe that this can translate to your job output. Mind the grammar, spelling and punctuations as these things tie into your ability to communicate effectively and professionally at work.

4 Not Googling yourself
Have you googled yourself lately? Reports claim that up to 85 percent of recruiters “Google” candidates to learn more about them. Go ahead and try it now. Put your name in quotations and hit search, for example, “Sheryl Oben”. Be sure to take a critical look at the results and take advantage of the fact that you can see and actively optimise what employers are viewing. This is what many aptly call “Defensive Googling”. You may notice that the top results are your social media pages (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+ ) so make sure that your online profiles give you a chance to shine for employers.

! What if you found unflattering content linked to you?
Fortunately, with a little work, you can have some control and push negative information down. The trick is to produce new positive and relevant content associated with your name at a high volume to push back negative ones farther to the search results. Popular approaches in cleaning up your online image include building your website and/or portfolio with your name included in the domain; guest posting for relevant sites and joining professional groups online.

5 Not managing your personal and professional social media properly
It is very apparent how social media blurs the line between what’s personal and what’s professional. In most cases, it is always better and safer to keep personal and professional separate. Keep in mind however that adding positive tidbits of your personal life can be beneficial for your online reputation as it humanises you and gives a better sense of who the person is behind the words on the computer screen. With this point in mind, you have to ask yourself two important questions: 1) What areas in your professional and personal profiles do you want to intersect? 2) How do you want to be perceived overall online? By knowing the answers to these, you can begin to take the steps to manage your social media persona more effectively.


Originally written for SurveyBee