A variety of free online courses are offered by Northwestern. Additional courses will be featured as instructors develop new online strategies for delivering their course content to a global audience.
Northwestern students, alumni, instructors, and staff can take any of the University’s MOOC offerings on Coursera free of charge. This includes the paid Course Certificate at no cost to you. For details and instructions to validate this special offer, visit our page on the Office of the Provost’s website.
Three Ways Northwestern Offers MOOCs
The free online courses can all be accessed at no cost. Simply select the individual course and register for the upcoming enrollment period that fits your schedule.
Course + Certificate
For an additional fee, participants may receive graded feedback and earn a Course Certificate upon successful completion of course requirements. Certificates provide official recognition of successful completion of the course.
Specializations are a premium-paid learning option designed to give participants deep mastery of a particular topic. Each Specialization consists of a rigorous sequence of online courses, graded feedback and a hands-on Capstone Project to demonstrate their knowledge by tackling a real problem faced by professionals in the field. A Course Certificate will be awarded for each individual course and a Specialization Certificate will provide official recognition of completion of the entire sequence.
MOOC Specializations and Courses Offered
Click on any course title below for a description and link to register.
Northwestern students, alumni, instructors and staff: please follow these special instructions to enroll for free in any of the courses or specializations listed below.
Do you want to know how robots work? Are you interested in robotics as a career? Are you willing to invest the effort to learn fundamental mathematical modeling techniques that are used in all subfields of robotics? If so, then the "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" specialization may be for you. This specialization, consisting of six short courses, is serious preparation for serious students who hope to work in the field of robotics or to undertake advanced study. It is not a sampler. In Course 1 of the specialization, Foundations of Robot Motion, you will learn fundamental material regarding robot configurations, for both serial robot mechanisms and robots with closed chains. You will learn about configuration space (C-space), degrees of freedom, C-space topology, implicit and explicit representations of configurations, and holonomic and nonholonomic constraints. You will also learn how to represent spatial velocities and forces as twists and wrenches. This material is at the core of the study of anything that moves (e.g., robots). This course follows the textbook "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" (Lynch and Park, Cambridge University Press 2017). You can purchase the book or use the free preprint pdf. You will build on a library of robotics software in the language of your choice (among Python, Mathematica, and MATLAB) and use the free cross-platform robot simulator V-REP, which allows you to work with state-of-the-art robots in the comfort of your own home and with zero financial investment.
Do you want to know how robots work? Are you interested in robotics as a career? Are you willing to invest the effort to learn fundamental mathematical modeling techniques that are used in all subfields of robotics? If so, then the "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" specialization may be for you. This specialization, consisting of six short courses, is serious preparation for serious students who hope to work in the field of robotics or to undertake advanced study. It is not a sampler. In Course 2 of the specialization, Robot Kinematics, you will learn to solve the forward kinematics (calculating the configuration of the "hand" of the robot based on the joint values) using the product-of-exponentials formula. Your efforts in Course 1 pay off handsomely, as forward kinematics is a breeze with the tools you've learned. This is followed by velocity kinematics and statics relating joint velocities and forces/torques to end-effector twists and wrenches, inverse kinematics (calculating joint values that achieve a desired "hand" configuration), and kinematics of robots with closed chains. This course follows the textbook "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" (Lynch and Park, Cambridge University Press 2017). You can purchase the book or use the free preprint pdf. You will build on a library of robotics software in the language of your choice (among Python, Mathematica, and MATLAB) and use the free cross-platform robot simulator V-REP, which allows you to work with state-of-the-art robots in the comfort of your own home and with zero financial investment.
Do you want to know how robots work? Are you interested in robotics as a career? Are you willing to invest the effort to learn fundamental mathematical modeling techniques that are used in all subfields of robotics? If so, then the "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" specialization may be for you. This specialization, consisting of six short courses, is serious preparation for serious students who hope to work in the field of robotics or to undertake advanced study. It is not a sampler. In Course 3 of the specialization, Robot Dynamics, you will learn efficient numerical algorithms for forward dynamics (calculating the robot's acceleration given its configuration, velocity, and joint forces and torques) and inverse dynamics (calculating the required joint forces and torques given the robot's configuration, velocity, and acceleration). The former is useful for simulation, and the latter is useful for robot control. You will also learn how to plan robot trajectories subject to dynamic constraints. This course follows the textbook "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" (Lynch and Park, Cambridge University Press 2017). You can purchase the book or use the free preprint pdf. You will build on a library of robotics software in the language of your choice (among Python, Mathematica, and MATLAB) and use the free cross-platform robot simulator V-REP, which allows you to work with state-of-the-art robots in the comfort of your own home and with zero financial investment.
High Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork, and Negotiation
Are leaders born or made? Learn the essential skills to develop and expand your leadership repertoire, design teams for collaboration, and craft win-win negotiation strategies. High Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork, and Negotiation focuses on leadership, teamwork, and negotiation. Students will engage in self-assessments to analyze their leadership style, develop team charters to optimize their groups, and develop a game plan for effective negotiation.
Leadership Communication for Maximum Impact: Storytelling
Storytelling is an essential part of leadership. Effective leaders communicate to inspire talent to excel; to partner with investors and communities; to engage with customers and clients and to grow their impact in the world as part of a global community. Cultivating an authentic, trustworthy and compelling narrative is vital to a leader’s success. This course helps leaders find their own story through personal branding; develop storytelling success with all constituencies; initiate an effective voice for crisis; interact well through social and third party media; and communicate a vision for innovation.
This course will provide learners with a systematic general framework for analyzing persuasive influence situations. Learners will be able to identify different challenges faced by persuaders and to fashion appropriate strategies for addressing those challenges. The broad goal is to provide learners with not only an extensive persuasion tool kit, but also with an understanding of how different tools are useful in different situations. Specifically, the course will address four broad topics: strategies for influencing people’s personal attitudes; strategies for affecting social factors influencing behavior; strategies for affecting people’s perceived ability to undertake the desired behavior; and strategies for inducing people to act on their existing intentions.
The success of every organization depends on attracting and retaining customers. Although the marketing concepts for doing so are well established, digital technology has empowered customers, while producing massive amounts of data, revolutionizing the processes through which organizations attract and retain customers. In this course, students will learn how to identify new opportunities to create value for empowered consumers, develop strategies that yield an advantage over rivals, and develop the data science skills to lead more effectively, allocate resources, and to confront this very challenging environment with confidence.
Today’s workplace calls for a new style of leadership to embolden and accelerate innovation. Design offers a novel way of discovering opportunities and bringing new approaches to life in ways that benefit all stakeholders. Learn how to engage with end users, effectively frame problems, identify potential solutions, and build prototypes to test assumptions and learn what works (and doesn’t). Then dive into a range of ways large and small to bring design innovation into your organization.
The capstone project consists of a case study that must be addressed to complete the specialization. In the case study, you will be asked to assume the role of the incoming chief executive officer of a fictitious privately held medical device company. From the company’s standpoint, its customers are the clinics that use and dispense its products, rather than the end-users of the company’s products. The company is currently facing a range of challenges, including obstacles to access for world-wide users of the company’s product, as well as internal conflict about the company’s priorities and a new disruptive technology. You will be asked to help the board address key changes in the industry, by developing a strategy to meet these challenges. Specifically, you will submit an artifact (i.e. Word document, ppt presentation, etc.) responding to a series of challenges related to the case. The artifacts will be peer-assessed on how effectively you applied concepts and skills explored throughout the specialization, assessed your own skills as a leader, evaluated the data to help you make an informed decision, developed a customer-facing design process, and communicated your strategy to relevant stakeholders.
The “What Is Social?" MOOC is for business owners, executives, and marketing professionals who want to significantly improve their abilities to grow their social strategy using effective, proven methodologies. This hands on, "how to" program won’t just tell you how to grow your professional persona using social – you will actually do it! This course is the first in the six-course specialization, Social Media Marketing: How to Profit in a Digital World.
In this second MOOC in the Social Marketing Specialization - "The Importance of Listening" - you will go deep into the Big Data of social and gain a more complete picture of what can be learned from interactions on social sites. You will be amazed at just how much information can be extracted from a single post, picture, or video. In this MOOC, guest speakers from Social Gist, BroadReader, Lexalytics, Semantria, Radian6, and IBM's Bluemix and Social Media Analytics Tools (SMA) will join Professor Hlavac to take you through the full range of analytics tools and options available to you and how to get the most from them. The best part, most of them will be available to you through the MOOC for free! Those purchasing the MOOC will receive special tools, templates, and videos to enhance your learning experience. In completing this course you will develop a fuller understanding of the data and will be able to increase the effectiveness of your content strategy by making better decisions and spotting crises before they happen! MOOC 2 bonus content in the paid toolkit includes access to Semantria's analytics engine to extract some data on the markets you are developing and have it analyzed.
In this third course in the Social Marketing Specialization - "The Engagement & Nurture Marketing Strategies" - you will learn two of the most effective social strategies used by organizations today. You'll see real-world best practice examples and learn what metrics they use to gauge success. You will also learn the importance of infographics and the impact a well-designed landing page can have on your bottom line. All of the social skills you have learned thus far will be put into action with a multimedia filter and focus blog that you will create to demonstrate how social can enable real-time marketing results. After this MOOC, you will have developed a plan to reach your target consumer markets and know when it is best to either use or avoid specific social marketing strategies.
Want your content to go viral? Who doesn't! It takes a thoughtful, integrated approach to make content that stands out in our increasingly oversaturated world. In this fourth course of the Social Marketing Specialization - "Content, Advertising & Social IMC" - you will learn how marketers are successfully navigating today's media landscape. You will learn why developing engaging content for your audience is an essential component in effective social marketing. A panel of experts will unlock the paid/owned/earned media riddle and replace it with an integrated who/what/where approach that utilizes platform-specific messaging to grow your market share. This course also includes an overview of the integrated marketing communications strategy for social and how it is being deployed around the globe, as well as gamification tips to keep your audiences coming back for more. In addition, you will learn the secrets to advertising on Facebook and other social sites.
In a 2014 study of CEOs and CMOs, IBM found 63% wanted social strategies which generate business metrics while only 20% of businesses worldwide actually have them. This means strategies which not only grow your company’s social footprint but link to your sales and marketing systems. With this critical linkage, your social and mobile strategies will provide you with the ability to engage consumers at a 1-to-1 level and measure your social investments in terms of costs, revenues, profits and ROI. In this fifth MOOC of the Social Marketing Specialization - "The Business of Social" - you will learn how to transform your organization's social marketing from an untracked investment to an integral part of your company’s marketing strategy. You will learn the legal considerations involved as well as proven performance metrics and management tactics for success.
Your markets are on social and you need to be there. However, your social strategy needs to be based on the business metrics which define your success. This final Capstone Project in the Social Marketing Specialization will put the methodologies, tools, and insights you have learned to the test as you create a multifaceted plan to assure effective social marketing is an integral part of your business strategy. Whether your company has a sophisticated Engagement Strategy or you are a new start-up, you will learn to harness the full power of social marketing to grow provable market share and build stronger relationships with your high value markets. For success in today's digital world, you must have a plan to integrate your social and mobile marketing strategies into your business strategy. In this Capstone you will use the practical skills that you’ve mastered through the Specialization to demonstrate your ability to integrate social and mobile marketing strategies into a company’s business strategy.
In this course, professionals at all levels of an organization will learn the best ways to engage an audience they want and need by smartly implementing their important, strategic stories and information and by using proven tools and techniques to enhance an audience’s experiences and interest.
In the second course of the Content Strategy Specialization - "Managing Content" - you will dive deeper into Content Strategy by learning some great options for managing your important content once it's been created. You will look at media platforms and how best to tell an organization’s “content story” across those platforms using a human-centered design. Then, you'll take a close look at ways to best utilize social and mobile media, as well as some of the issues around insourcing/outsourcing content. Finally, you'll get an inside look at how legal issues associated with Content Strategy are handled in companies large and small around the globe.
In this, the third Content Strategy course, participants will learn actionable ways to grow internal and external audiences. They will deepen their understanding about those target individuals and will use a host of known and emerging tools and social networks to meaningfully reach them. As its name makes clear, this course will expand your content's impact and reach.
In the fourth course of the Content Strategy Specialization - Ensuring Your Content's Impact - you will look at visual communication and the ways you can be more effective with your font choices, photography, and video. You'll also dive deeper into social communities to help you understand how these communities form and what you can do to build your role within them. The last module is pivotal for Content Strategists. It will help you to understand how best to measure your content to maximize its effectiveness relative to the time you commit to it.
The Capstone Project will let you demonstrate all that you have learned throughout the Content Strategy Specialization. It is an exciting learning experience that takes you through developing an effective Content Strategy package to meaningfully understand its scope and impact.
In this course we will discuss the history of some ideas that have been hugely influential in the modern west and that were taken out to the rest of the world. The discussion centers on an extraordinary and historically important figure, a sixteenth century German man named Martin Luther. Luther is recognized today as the originator of many of the most significant ideas that continue to affect and shape who we as modern people are and how we see the world and ourselves for better and for worse. In the first section, we will explore why Luther thought the Bible was the most important volume for everyone to have and read. Included here will be a careful consideration of Luther's anti-Judaism, which contributed to western antisemitism and some of the greatest horrors of the twentieth century. In the second section, we will talk about the idea of freedom and how Luther's understanding of freedom in Christ affected the way modern thinkers understood what it means to be human in community. Important in this section is the consequential contradiction between freedom and slavery in western thought and their co-existence in western societies. The third section will be all about the many complicated relations between religion and politics.
Note: This course is delivered entirely in Arabic. The minimum recommended proficiency level is Intermediate High (ACTFL) or B2 (CEFR). This course offers a unique opportunity to explore the intersections of language and media. You will see language in a new light as you discover its true nature as a life form brimming with ingenuity and potential, but tinted with bias and prejudice and susceptible of subjugation and control. By developing an appreciation of the scope and interests of sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, critical discourse analysis, pragmatics, and translation, we will come to better understand the limits, the possibilities, and the dangers inherent to language use in the media. This course will help you develop your critical thinking skills as you consume or produce media language.
The Talmud is one of the richest and most complicated works of literature the world has ever known. Since being composed around 1500 years ago it has inspired not only religious reverence but significant intellectual engagement. In this course learners will be introduced to the unique characteristics of this text and the challenges that inhere in studying it while studying a chapter of the Talmud. Students of the course can expect to develop an appreciation for how the Talmud works and why it continues to inspire religious and intellectual devotion. They will be challenged to employ critical reading skills and to analyze legal and historical concepts.
Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare
This course aims to help high school students, recent graduates, and those considering career transitions explore health care career options and learn strategies for entry into the health care workforce and health related fields.
Do you have questions about sex hormones or menstrual cycles? This is a crash-course in human reproductive health through fact and biology-based information on a variety of topics. "Sex 101" will cover reproductive anatomy, key biological changes during puberty, sexual biology and contraceptive methods, reproductive disorders, and a special introduction to the exciting field of Oncofertility. Specific lecture titles are as follows: 1) Reproductive Anatomy & Hormones, 2) Menstrual Cycle, Oocyte Maturation, & Sperm Activation, 3) Sexual Biology, Fertilization, & Contraception, and 4) Reproductive Health & Disorders.
Power Onboarding provides practical, easy-to-use tools to guide an individual who is transitioning to a new job. Students will prepare a custom, actionable personal onboarding plan that will set them up for success in their new role.
Scaling Operations: Linking Strategy and Execution
Over the past several decades, operations strategy has played an increasingly important role in business’ success. In this course, we will equip you with concepts and tools to build operations in a way that not only supports your competitive strategy, but also allows you to create new opportunities in the market place.
Teaching the Violin and Viola: Creating a Healthy Foundation
Join us as we explore the fundamental principles and early stages of teaching violin and viola through a series of engaging video lectures and lesson demonstrations, including: 1) Master classes with some of the world’s top string pedagogues, 2) Individual lesson demos of teaching violin/viola set up, left and right hand technique and pieces from the early violin/viola repertoire, 3) Group lesson demos of teaching music theory, ear training and fun activities that encourage good playing habits, and 4) A “field trip” to the violin shop, where we will outfit a new beginning student with a proper instrument and bow. You’ll also engage in a series of discussions and reflections with colleagues and peers across the globe. Upon completion of this course, we hope you’ll return to your studio with confidence, a new curriculum, and a renewed approach to sharing with your students the joyful experience of making beautiful music.