It's time to go back to school.

By Kristin Magaldi / HelloGiggles.com
March 21, 2020
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With everyone stuck indoors per the CDC’s recommendation that social distancing can slow down the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), many people are attempting to get creative on how to fill their time without going stir-crazy. Maybe you’ve decided to take up whittling, or maybe you’ve decided dammit, you’re going to write the next great American novel. But if you’re still looking for a productive, cheap, and distracting activity to keep you away from the ever-changing news cycle, why not take an online class via an Ivy League school?

Currently, all eight Ivy Leagues—Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania—are offering 450 active, free courses across a range of topics digitally. All you have to do is visit Class Central, find the area of study you’re most interested in, and sign up through that university’s website.

While choosing from 450 courses can seem daunting, FreeCodeCamp.org went to the trouble of sorting out the available classes based on subject matter.

Credit: recep-bg/Getty Images

If your secret dream has always been to learn coding, try looking at the Computer Science classes that are currently available—Introduction to Computer Science available via Harvard University could be a good start. Or, if you’re a literature nerd and want to spend your distancing days doing a Shakespeare deep-dive, Harvard is also offering a course exclusively focused on studying the play Hamlet. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: You can currently find courses in a wide variety of subjects including the humanities, business development, social sciences, art and design, engineering, and health and medicine.

Each course varies when it comes to material, time commitment, and requirements, which you can learn through the class description on Class Central. Buddhism and Modern Psychology, offered through Princeton, for example, requires a total of two to five hours a week, with a duration of six weeks total. Other classes are self-paced, allowing you to work through the material when it’s most convenient for you.

There is certainly no need to be productive at this time—sometimes simple self-care, in whatever form makes sense to you, is enough. But if you know you’re the type of person who needs something to take their mind off of current worries, taking a class couldn’t hurt. Then, when you’re finally done with social distancing, you can brag to friends and relatives alike that you’re an Ivy League (course) grad.