By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photo
Jump into the back-to-school spirit by taking advantage of some of these free and low-cost ways to continue your education beyond the classroom. Not only will you learn something new, but you will expand your skills, discover new talents and get inspired!
Technology allows you to access the world from the comforts of home. Here are a few options:
www.coursera.org partners with universities and organizations around the globe to offer students courses in a range of subjects. Take a Buddhism class from Princeton or a cryptography class from Stanford.
www.EdX.org allows students to earn certificates for courses for a fee or audit classes for free. Take The Science of Happiness course from UC Berkeley or Introduction to Computer Science from Harvard.
www.udemy.com offers more than 40,000 courses that are taught by professionals in their field of study (versus tied to global universities). Both free and fee-based courses are offered, which you can take at your own pace. For a nominal fee, you can take Learn to Code by Making Games with lifetime access to the lectures and videos which are continually updated.
www.skillshare.com is a membership-based creative community with a limited number of free classes. Courses are taught by proven experts in industries such as design, business, and photography. Take The Art of Baking for free or learn speed reading for a fee.
www.ted.com, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a global community where new and interesting ideas are exchanged through short talks given by leading experts and professionals. If you do not know where to start, go to the 20 most popular talks of all time.
www.open.edu/itunes, iTunes U, is free for iOS and offers a variety of courses and lectures through downloads to your iTunes library. Take 60-Second Adventures in Thought to break up your day or learn French on your commute.
If you would rather connect with fellow learners in person, try these local community education opportunities:
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Denver is an adult learning membership program designed for men and women age 50 and "better" who wish to pursue lifelong learning in a relaxed non-competitive atmosphere. Classes and workshops meet at three OLLI locations and membership includes social events.
Castle Rock and South Suburban Parks and Recreation both have more than just youth sports. Try adult dance lessons, archery, a bike repair class or free events and presentations.
Arapahoe Community College offers career exploration classes, many computer classes, and even a Pokémon Go class.