Online Resources to Learn New Skills While Social Distancing


Now that we are all moving our activities online, universities close, and we work from home, there is plenty of opportunity to learn about various topics and develop new skills. We post regularly on twitter about initiatives and summarize some in this blog. 

Check them out, and please let us know about other resources so we can spread the word!

TED Talks

Over the past years, an enormous number of TED talks have been recorded. These are fantastic lectures by absolute specialists. Always worth checking out, but extra useful now. TED-ed offers specific topics for various ages, from elementary school to university.


Another tool used by scientists and others to develop tutorials and share these with a broad audience is YouTube. Some nice examples we ran into are Python for microscopists, FreeCodeCamp, and iBiology.


Coursera has a great wealth of online courses. Many are offered for free, with an option to purchase a certificate. Many universities offer courses with topics ranging from writing to deep learning and neural networks to genetics and evolution and so many more.

Or this epidemiology in public health practice course might interest you if you’d like to know more about epidemiology. There is also a COVID-19 specific epidemiology course to learn about how epidemiologists are working with data in this COVID-19 outbreak.

Learning to Code

Software Carpentry offers lessons for R, Python, and Git amongst others, and Data Carpentry is focussed on data organization, analysis, and visualization. Some of their lessons are also available in Spanish.

CodeAcademy offers tutorials on computer science, data science, and web development. Their basic courses can be accessed for free.

Webinar Series

As universities are closing, planned talks and conferences are halted. However, that did not stop some from organizing webinar series instead. The Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center is organizing webinars using Zoom that will be broadcast freely and recorded for viewing later. The series starts March 23 and will be held every weekday except Wednesday, and all talks start at 12 PM EST.

The Blood and Bone Seminar Series is organized by Kellie Machlus, Assistant Prof at Harvard Medical School. Talks are listed here, and you can access the talks via this Zoom link. Seminars are given every weekday at 1 PM EST.


Also worth checking out is your local library. They usually offer e-books and audiobooks, but also access to various sites with courses, such as Lynda.

Many more resources!

This list is just a small summary of all that is available. Follow our twitter account where we share resources as we come across them. If you have found more or offer courses, webinars, or tutorials you’d like to share with us, do not hesitate to connect!

Happy learning!