Lock Down Study Up! - Comic Book Creation, OPERA, Quantum Mechanics, Furniture Making

We’re all pretty bored right now during the lockdown, and lots of us are desperate for something to do. Well, why not expand your skillset by doing an online course? Don’t worry: they’re all not boring and lame. With a whole world of information and interests out there, you can choose to study practically anything. From baking to automobile engineering to acting classes – the internet has it all!

While some of them come at a cost, there a quite a lot of online courses available for free, too! The best part about many of these activities is that you can move at your own pace. Even if you work every day and only have an hour to spare, go ahead and finish the course in your own sweet time. Or if your calendar is wide open, finish it in just a few days or a week! Here are a few really out-of-the-box and interesting courses for you to take up in your free time!   –  Devanshi

Comic Book Creation

For all the comic lovers out there, there are millions of options to read, and a wide variety of genres. And if that doesn’t work for you, this course will help you make your very own comic!! In this virtual project-centric course offered by High Tech High Graduate School of Education, California College of the Arts, you’ll find classes, tutorials, training, and certification programs, both free and paid! You can also choose a course optimised to your learning level – beginner if you barely know how to draw, or expert if you’re an artist already! There are no age restrictions, so you can do the course along with your 10-year-old kid, or your 70-year-old mother!

You’ll also find various topic-specific courses, like Learn to Draw Pretty Faces for Comic Books, Character Art School: Complete Colouring and Painting Course, How to Draw Dynamic Comic Book Superheroes - Start to Finish, Learn Digital Colour with Photoshop, and even Comic Creation for Entrepreneurs!

Through these courses you’ll be able to:

  • Explore and select various styles and tools for your project
  • Arrange and fit characters, settings, and speech bubbles inside a comic-book panel
  • Get professional tips from industry specialists
  • Analyse and pair various colour palettes
  • Create an original four-page ‘mini-comic’
  • And finally, entertain your family, friends, and loved ones with a short story of your own making!

OPERA

If you’ve ever wondered about how the opera works, has it changed over 400 years, and most importantly, is opera relevant today, then this course will answer all those (and a lot more) questions for you! Learn all the basics of this diverse and spectacular art form in a new and exciting way! Offered by King’s College London, the 4-week course ‘Inside Opera: Why Does It Matter?’ will help you develop a toolkit of operatic concepts by enriching your future experiences, even long after you’re done with the course.

Starting off with what opera is, you’ll move on to what happens on stage, and then what goes on backstage. Then, you’ll study how opera is embedded in the world even beyond the opera house. The course is open for people interested in the opera, and in knowing how it works musically and theatrically. Whether or not you have experienced opera before is not of any concern. They accept newbies!

By the time you finish the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe what an opera is, along with its main musical and dramatic features
  • Sustain discussions on how the opera has changed over the years
  • Explore and explain all the main roles involved in staging an opera
  • Reflect on how the opera changed roles in culture and society in its history of 400 years
  • Understand how all the new technologies have upgraded the way the audiences experience the opera
  • Hold discussions on what the opera has to offer to the 21st century.

Understanding Quantum Mechanics

This four-week long course from Georgetown University is basically Quantum Mechanics for dummies. In addition to teaching you the basics of quantum mechanics, it uses a unique method that won’t require any complicated math apart from taking square roots (just use a calculator for that!).

Though the course is for everyone, none of the content is dumbed down. Instead, you’ll find a lot of the same versions that experts are use in their research. The course covers a variety of topics, starting from the quantum mystery of the two-slit experiment, and even some advanced topics like how to see something without shining any light on it (aka quantum seeing in the dark), and the bunching effects of photons (aka the Hong-Ou-Mandel effect). To know if you’ll actually enjoy this course or not, you can do a test run with their short videos on YouTube.

Starting off with an introduction to the quantum world in the first week, you’ll talk about quantum probability and the classical mechanics of moving magnets, in a magnetic field. In the second week, you’ll learn about advanced quantum mechanics with spins, with topics like the Stern-Gerlach analyser-loop, and Bell’s Inequality. In your third week, you’ll dig into the quantum mechanics of light, and explore and develop the quantum model for light. In your last week, you’ll finally start quantum seeing in the dark, and talk about the Mach-Zehnder Interferometer and the Hong-Ou-Mandel experiment.

From this course, you’ll learn:

  • The quantum particle, in the context of the word ‘ultrasmall’
  • The basics of probability theory
  • What spin is, and how it’s manipulated by magnets
  • The quantum mystery
  • Applying quantum ideas to understand the partial reflection of light, particle indistinguishability, and their interaction-free measurements.

Furniture Making

Woodworking: Fundamentals of Furniture Making will improve your woodworking skills, resulting in stronger, more attractive furniture. With no prerequisites, anybody can take up this course, regardless of their experience, though woodworkers wishing to expand their furniture-making skills are encouraged, and a love of woodworking is an added bonus! We’ve all got some time to spare, and what better way to use it than by making more comfortable seating for yourself, or making your family’s life a little easier with bed stands and coffee tables?

The course has nine lectures, starting with tools, techniques, and material requirements. After prepping all the parts, you’ll move on to the design and layout guidelines. Then comes the joinery – tenons and mortises. Then you’ll learn the details, including tapering the legs, sanding and assemble! After the summary lecture, you’re done!

This course focuses on:

  • All the details needed to build quality furniture
  • The mortise and tenon joints
  • Tapering legs
  • Adding decorative accents
  • Corner-to-corner glueing for strength
  • Project design

Know Your Pet

Ever wonder what it means when your cat meows at you and brings you a dead rat, or when your dog wags his tail? This course will help you understand your pet’s behaviour and what they mean.

Offered by The University of Edinburgh, The Truth About Cats and Dogs covers everything from behaviour and body language, to how we can improve their lives. Starting with what your cat/dog means to you, and vice versa, on the second week you move on to ethology –the science of animal behaviour. After studying various breeds and hybrids, you’ll examine their sensory capabilities and discuss how they interact with the world, which includes solving problems, hunting, and playing. In the fourth week you’ll understand behavioural problems and how they adjust (or don’t) to domestic environments. You’ll finally start making some changes in your own personal life in the last week, while impacting the lives of your pets for the better!

Once you finish this course, you’ll:

  • Interpret behaviour, body language, senses, and perceptions of cats/dogs
  • Be able to diagnose and treat behavioural problems
  • Effectively communicate with cats/dogs
  • Be able to recognise signs of fear, frustration, and anxiety in the two animals
  • Enrich the environment, train the animals, and care for them appropriately
  • And finally, improve the life of your pet by better understanding their needs

Electronic Dance Music

Electronic dance music is such a specific genre that it caters to a relatively small number of people, but those who love it do so with all their heart. If you have a basic understanding of music, making your own EDM song won’t be too hard for you, and with so many online courses available, you can do it in your own home, with the right software and equipment. Who knows, maybe your hit single will go viral during the lockdown!

The Berklee College of Music, Point Blank Music School, EDMProd, Armin Van Buuren, and Education & Bass are a few of the online platforms that are providing courses for you to learn EDM and dance music. You can complete these in-depth, online courses at your leisure, and learn the basics of electronic music production. Beginning with the fundamentals, you’ll progressively learn through hands-on application, moving on to increasingly complex and advanced concepts and techniques. Highly entertaining and engaging, these classes leave no room for boredom.

After completing one of these courses, you’ll be able to brag about:

  • Having a basic understanding of the nature of sound and how it’s transformed into an electronic signal to be recorded
  • Knowing how to record, edit, and mix music with live instruments and MIDI using the Ableton Live software
  • Being able to create custom sounds with a synthesiser, and then adding those specific sounds to your musical compositions to make a song
  • Creating a selection of songs ready to be shared with everyone
  • Understanding the various nuances involved in creating EDM
  • The ability to use eq, compression, and limiting the maximum impact possible on the dance floor

 

Digital Shorthand

With the need for social distancing, we’ve been collectively pushed towards virtual learning – be it school, college, meetings, or seminars. Listening to something being narrated online, while simultaneously starting to take notes is quite a task. Do yourself a favour and look up a course on digital shorthand – taking notes online has never been so easy! With the specifically designed course, Electronic Shorthand: Learn How to Take Digital Notes, you’ll be able to take notes easily, quickly, all the while concentrating on the presentation at hand.

Available on Udemy, this course is highly recommended for journalists, students, professionals who might need to take notes, and those who frequently attend online courses and webinars. You’ll start by understanding what digital note-taking really is, and why you need it, and then you’ll learn three principles: getting started, digging in, and getting faster! The fourth one is the game-changer, where you really speed things up! When it all wraps up, you’ll still be able to take further quizzes and ask questions.

Doing this course will help you:

  • Gain a quick and easy new skill
  • Have the ability to be able to take notes on electronic devices faster than you previously could with the standard alphabet
  • Increase your existing note-taking speed, and even the accuracy, as you repeatedly practise and use the skill in your everyday life
  • Improve your general productivity, ease your stress, improve your concentration, and leave you with better understanding and recall!

The Horse Course

If you love horses, and equestrianism is right up your path, this course is the one for you. Provided by the University of Florida, The Horse Course: Introduction to Basic Care and Management will teach you how to, well, take care of your horse! As 58.5 million horses and ponies exist all over the world (with 0.3 million in India itself), owners of these animals can be found across the globe. Covering various unique aspects of equine ownership, the course also covers the basic science behind many of today’s horse management practices.

You’ll begin your course by examining the many equine species in the world. After a brief history of horses and donkeys, you’ll move on to basic physiology, gaits, and complete physiological health. You’ll conclude the course with equine reproduction and how to care for a newborn foal.

After this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Differentiate between the various breeds and hybrids of horses and donkeys
  • Understand equine senses, communication, and how they relate to their environment
  • Evaluate your animals’ nutrient requirements, and feed them accordingly
  • Administer first aid to horses, ponies, and donkeys
  • Help out in equine reproduction and take care of a newborn foal

DEATH

The one and only thing that we all know for certain in our individual lives is that eventually, we’re all going to die. We all have questions concerning what it means to say that a person is dead, and how should the fact that I will eventually die affect the way I live my life? If you are curious about the philosophical meaning of death, these courses will help you with the answers.

Many courses are offered online on the philosophical aspects of death, like ‘The Philosophy of Death’ by Saylor Academy, ‘Dying2Learn: MOOC on Death and Dying’ by CareSearch and Flinders University, ‘Life and Death: Mysteries and Meanings’ by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and even a course by Yale University.

After a course on death, you’ll be better prepared to:

  • Understand the meanings of life and death
  • Uncover facts about various mysteries
  • Develop basic skills of reflective and explorative learning
  • Be able to discuss philosophical issues associated with death
  • Understand how questions about death are interrelated with issues of personal identity and ‘self’
  • Know how to differentiate between the consequences of physicalist and dualist conceptions of death
  • Be able to describe the many religious, philosophical, and cultural views about death and the soul
  • Understand the major philosophical arguments for and against the immortality of the soul
  • Gain the evaluating skills required to understand the view of death in various literary works
  • No longer have to search for the answers to theoretical questions like whether death is inherently good or not, and if it is permissible to end your life prematurely.