Summer online courses: We found the 8 most unusual

College students can get bored during the summer. I kept my brain from turning to mush on a beach by improving my academics with some summer reading and light hearted studying by taking online courses in a zany or unusual subject.

Have you considered online courses over summer break?

Have you considered online courses over summer break?

I took a course in the Hawaiian language and it was fascinating. My study tip for college students who want to expand their knowledge is to search the Internet for unique and fun online courses.

8 most unusual online courses

1. SETI

Credit: Scott Barbour, Getty Images

Credit: Scott Barbour, Getty Images

Edinburgh University in Scotland offers an online course in “Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life.” Current research in planets outside our solar system is big — perhaps some of them will have life? It may not be intelligent but odds are some kind of life exists out there. This online course teaches how life began on Earth, where life is likely to be found in other solar systems and how to detect for extraterrestrial life on another planet.

2. Gemologist

Credit: DHC International

Credit: DHC International

The Gemological Institute of America Inc. offers online courses that prepare you to:

  • Craft precious metals and gems into one-of-a-kind jewelry
  • Repair jewelry
  • Sell jewelry

You can learn to work with:

  • Diamonds, pearls, gold and other materials
  • Study various aspects of jewelry such as jewelry design, purchasing gemstones, appraising and jewelry store manager

3. New Age piano lessons

Credit: YouTube

Credit: YouTube

Edward Weiss at Free to Be Creative at the Piano offers an online course that teaches the New Age genre of instrumental, soft and reflective music. In “More Unique Online Courses Being Offered in a Variety of Fields,” posted April 13, 2011, in U.S. News & World Report, Weiss said: “I was looking for an approach that would allow anyone to simply sit down at the piano and play what they feel,” said Weiss. “The New Age style is unique in that you don’t need to spend years and years learning theory. Just a few chords and students are off exploring on their own.”

4. The Future of Humankind

Credit: George Dvorsky, io9

Credit: George Dvorsky, io9

Rutgers University recently teamed up with Corsera to offer three unique non-credit courses online: “Analyzing the Universe,” a science course created in partnership with NASA and Harvard; “Soul Beliefs,” an interdisciplinary review of beliefs about the soul; and “The Future of Humankind,” based on James Martin’s book, which discusses pressing problems, dangers and opportunities facing our planet, reported by Patricia Alex in “Rutgers Expanding Its Reach to Learners” in The Record (Bergen County, NJ) February 22, 2013.

5. New Urbanism

Credit: DPZ

Credit: DPZ

The Miami School of Architecture offers a course in New Urbanism, which is a remodeling of urban spaces that promotes walking, bike paths, mixed-use cities and towns, and use of gardens and foliage. You can earn a certificate in New Urbanism after taking classes in ecology, green building, historic preservation, and community identity.

6. Reflexology

Credit: HealingSamurai.net

Credit: HealingSamurai.net

Online courses to learn this method of manipulating areas of the face, ears, hands and feet to heal organs and other systems of the body are offered from a number of organizations, including ReflexologySchools.org, ReflexologyCertification.net and Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.

7. Belly dancing and hip hop

Credit: klpac.org

Credit: klpac.org

“Dance classes, in general, involve a lot of movement and getting your pulse pumping. …Therefore the best way to think of this belly dancing and hip hop class is the same way you’d think of an exercise video – as long as you have enough space around your computer, there’s nothing to stop you learning online,” reported by Jade O’Donoghue in “Courses you (probably) never knew you could take online,” posted on HotCourses.com November 2013.

8. Elvish

Credit: Your Sindarin Textbook

Credit: Your Sindarin Textbook

Are you a fantasy fan who can’t get enough Lord of the Rings? Through the University of Wisconsin in Madison, TheOneRing.net has created a mini course on Sindarin (the language of the elves) to be taught. If you’re a bigger fan, visit Marquette University in Milwaukee, which houses the world’s preeminent collection of J.R.R. Tolkien’s best-known literary works.

For more information, check out Questia’s library on Education. 

Share with us what quirky subject you wish you could take an online course in.

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