New opportunities, resources, and live streams are now free due to COVID-19

Alexis Yi, page editor

Due to the restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic, lives and plans have experienced enormous disruption—something that students all over the world can attest to. Many summer camps, internships, and high school programs have been cancelled or moved online. However, a number of organizations have made their resources free, such as educational programs and concerts, so that anyone who suddenly has more free time on their hands can make the most of this unprecedented situation.


Educational Resources

The textbook publisher Springer is now making several undergraduate and graduate level textbooks free for download. These textbooks range in subject matter from sociology to data science. They will be available until at least the end of July.

Several universities have released free online versions of their courses. There have always been free university courses available through websites like edX, which offers courses from colleges around the world like MIT and Harvard, and Coursera, a similar site. (One of the more popular courses on Coursera is The Science of Well Being, which is offered through Yale University; over 2 million people have registered for the course.) Both of these sites are offering additional opportunities due to coronavirus, which can be found on their sites, and Coursera is offering free certificates for 115 online courses until the end of July. 

Colleges and other educational organizations have also released programs through other platforms. Harvard has released several short-term computer science and programming courses. A running list of new educational programs, along with educational resources not affiliated with colleges, can be found here, which includes topics ranging from COVID-19 itself to programming. Some highlights from the list include:

  • A course on mechanical ventilation for COVID-19 from Harvard
  • A course on data science and AI(Artificial Intelligence) for COVID-19 from Stanford
  • Skillshare 2-month free trial
  • Free documentaries from Netflix

The list is quite extensive, and its curators make sure to keep everything up to date by updating when certain offers are expired.

As a side note, a number of major newspapers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, have made their COVID-19 coverage free for all.


Livestreams and Concerts

Public figures, celebrities and entertainers have started hosting virtual concerts and live streams for fans under stay at home orders. Billboard has been maintaining an ongoing list of these streaming opportunities. Here are some upcoming items from that list:

There have also been miscellaneous virtual series started by celebrities, including the series Some Good News, hosted by actor and director John Krasinski on YouTube, which recently had the entire Hamilton cast on to serenade a young girl

Another list of live stream opportunities, which includes classical music, is being maintained by NPR. This is extremely extensive, with multiple live streams linked per day, and is regularly updated. Here are a few highlights:

  • The Met Opera will be streaming Mozart’s Don Giovanni on May 22 (and other performances nearly every day)
  • KCON (K-Pop festival) will be live streaming performances in June


Getting Involved

Helping other people is one surefire way to help yourself feel better. One way to cope with our new reality is to help out your community. Beyond following medical guidelines, staying at home, and social distancing, there are a number of ways to help. The Washington Post has a list of charities and organizations, as does CNN. Here are just a few of the organizations that are accepting donations:

  • Feeding America is supporting vulnerable communities
  • UNICEF USA is helping to distribute medical supplies
  • American Red Cross is in need of more blood donations
  • Salvation Army is helping to provide basic necessities such as clothing and food

Beyond donations, another way to help is support local businesses. Ordering takeout and purchasing remotely can help support small businesses that are taking the brunt of the economic impact of the pandemic. 

As we settle in for a prolonged quarantine, one way to help offset stress is to stay busy and explore new opportunities. By looking into some of these courses, you can make all this extra free time act in your favor.