You’ve seen its ads popping up on Facebook. Pooling the most illustrious names from myriad industries and creative fields—Steve Martin from comedy, David Mamet from dramatic writing, Frank Gehry from design and architecture, Diane von Furstenberg from fashion brand-building, Jane Goodall from environmental conservation, and so many more—MasterClass offers online courses that allow anyone on any skill level to learn from “the world’s best” on any topic they’re interested in. Want to learn more breakfast dishes to whip up in a second other than scrambled eggs? Sign up at MasterClass and learn how to cook sous-vide steak from the comfort of your own kitchen, with Gordon Ramsey playfully yelling invectives at you!
But seriously, taking online classes is the best way to squeeze in some learning between the three-ring circus of daily life. They’re flexible enough that you can schedule them in between your other commitments, but there’s also enough structure in the course requirements and deadlines to keep you challenged. And unlike in a traditional classroom, you can set a pace that’s comfortable for you. No need to succumb to performative smartness, no pressure to keep up with the rest of the class; you’re just focused on getting educated. Then at the end of a course, you can pad up your resume with your new skills and learning. All that without the exorbitant cost of regular tuition and fees plus transportation costs.
Plenty of websites offer massive open online courses (MOOC) that provide access to academic lectures from Ivy League academic institutions like Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford. Over at The Great Courses Plus, there are more than 8,000 educational video lectures to choose from and enjoy, given by professors and experts from Ivy League schools, the National Geographic, the Smithsonian, The Culinary Institute of America, The Mayo Clinic, and more. Whether you’re serious about getting higher education or would rather test out the waters with something light and low-risk first, there’s a perfect online class out there that fits what you need.
But first, some tools.
To enjoy the riches of learning online, you’ll need a light but capable laptop that can do serious work yet can also be carried anywhere. The Starmobile ENGAGE Aura has a 1.9GHz Quad-Core Cherry Trail Z8350 processor, a 32GB ROM, and a2GB DDR3L RAM, the faster to download and/or stream class sessions.
When taking online classes, what helps with the listening (and the learning) is a pair of comfortable over-ear headphones that deliver clear sound. The Philips Fidelio NC1 is a good choice that’s also not too expensive, especially for a pair of noise-cancelling headphones; the noise cancellation is a feature that’s good for 30 hours, and it can be reactivated after charging the headphones’ battery. With ear pads made of memory foam and covered with soft leather, the Philips Fidelio NC1 is easy and snug on the ears, making listening to hours upon hours of lectures comfortable. Great sound reproduction, too.
From the brand that presented one of the best budget smartphones last year, OnePlus’ upcoming launch of its higher end unit OnePlus 5 later in the month is a highly anticipated event in the tech scene. Though most specs of the new phone remain secret, one feature has been revealed by OnePlus CEO Pete Lau on an online forum: the Snapdragon 835 processor, “which sets the foundation for smooth, powerful, and efficient performance,” meaning apps will load much faster and run more smoothly. Other fun speculations include a fingerprint scanner, a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with either Full HD or QHD resolution, and the brand’s Dash Charge technology that allows the unit to charge 25 percent faster—the better not to miss any learning session.
Header image from Unsplash.