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How to get a free education online

Let the internet guide you towards your path of being the cool tortured creative you were born to be

‘Student’ has become synonymous with debt. The ever-increasing costs of tuition fees and living expenses have led to higher education becoming unattainable for many aspiring creatives. And as if the £9000 price tag wasn’t enough, the government covertly raised fees to £9250 without an announcement despite the fact that thirty per cent are already willing to sell an organ in exchange for a student debt-free life. 

Thankfully, the internet has become a self-improvement haven, and online learning goes far beyond scrolling through Wikipedia or Wikihow to get smart. Going beyond the popularity of things like YouTube tutorials and easy-to-find informative documentaries, online learning has become increasingly popular. Some sites have a wealth of short courses published by valued institutions and organisations in their respective industries so you can get a diploma from Harvard without even leaving your bedroom. 

We’ve rounded up some of the best (FREE) online courses so you can get your qualifications and certificate and remain debtless:

TAKE PHOTOS LIKE A PRO

In the age of point-and-shoot connoisseur, equipped with an iPhone and an Instagram account, you need to set yourself apart from the everyday shutterbug. Similar to the photography course being provided by Harvard, this class covers all the basics of photography in an 18-hour serving. Topics include nailing compositions, working with natural and studio lighting and even post-production tools like Lightroom and Photoshop.

The course provided by Lynda.com, an online learning portal, will also allow you to virtually rub shoulders with industry experts like Natalie Fobes, Joseph “Photojoseph” Linaschke and more. You get 10 days for free, after which you’ll have to pay £18.95 a month for unlimited lessons. But, if you’re down for 10 days of intensive photography lessons then why not?

Sign up or learn more here

BE THE NEXT BANKSY

In the last decade, Graffiti has been destigmatized with artists like Banksy, changing the way people look at street art as a whole. Gone are the days of the ‘broken window theory’, defaced buildings suggests a lack of authority in the area, graffiti adds character to otherwise drab streets, popping up in places where the rent is soaring not devaluing, think 5 Pointz NYC and any large wall in Shoreditch.

This course introduces the concepts of contrasting theories of Graffiti, drawing references to real life examples like the not-so-mysterious Zebras in Hackney, fish graffiti in Morecambe and tags in a Milton Keynes underpass and a handful of others to give you some street art inspo. You'll also get to explore the age-old debate of whether Graffiti is art or vandalism and cover how it’s an incredible tool when used as a form of protest.

Sign up or learn more here

GET YOUR MASTERPIECE FROM SCRIPT TO SCREEN

Created by the internationally acclaimed National Film and Television School, this six-week course takes you through the different approaches to storytelling. Film buffs and aspiring filmmakers can now learn about what goes on beyond the movie screens at the hands of a team of award-winning filmmakers who will take you through decoding their own filmmaking specialisms as well — Writing, directing, cinematography, editing and composing.

While this course is already two weeks in, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t still take part and catch up to join the online discussion.

Sign up or learn more here

IMPRESS EVERYONE WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF ART CRIME

Don’t fret about your suspicious “original” Banksy you bought off Etsy for £10. Taught by the researchers from the Trafficking Culture International Research Consortium, participants will gain a better understanding of the masterminds behind Art theft, the harmful effects that this phenomenon has on communities and societies as well as the preventive measures in the past and present. So if you’re a struggling artist you can learn how to guard your masterpieces.

Sign up or learn more here

GIVE WARSAN SHIRE A RUN FOR HER MONEY

If you’re already an eloquent writer, take it up a notch by dissecting and digesting the key elements poetry in this short 12-hour course. You will learn how to translate personal experiences into your writing, as well as the technical know-hows like rhyming, line breaking and structural rules like stanzas and verses. You may not be the next E.E cummings but at least you’ll be able to ‘write poetry, for God’s sake, it’s the only thing that matters.’

Sign up or learn more here

TAKE THE FASHION WORLD BY STORM

This course is no St Martin’s but at least you don’t have to give up a kidney or two to pay off the tuition fees. Revolving around three key components: the contemporary fashion design industry, key design elements and an exploration of the most principles of design, this fuss-free online course takes you one step closer to your dream career in the industry. And you don’t even need a portfolio to qualify. Consisting of 80 hours in total, applicants are free to start whenever and end whenever, making it the perfect option for learners of different capacities.

Sign up or learn more here

CHANGE THE WORLD, OR AT LEAST ATTEMPT TO

We’ve heard, time and time again, about the fashion industry’s detrimental effects on society and the environment. We’ve been taught to buy organic products and boycott unethical fashion brands but what can we business do to help?

This five-week course will cover business, marketing and brand strategies, finding manufacturers, fabrics, product development and pricing. Led by the Ethical Fashion Forum, whose aim is to help fashion professionals achieve commercial success whilst also minimising negative environmental impacts,

Sign up or learn more here