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Course Report

Class Central’s Best Online Courses of 2018

Class Central’s list of the highest rated free online courses of 2018.

This article is part of our 2018 MOOC Roundup Series. Find the whole series of articles here. You’ll find articles on the most popular classes, developments on the major MOOC platforms, analysis of the MOOC industry, and predictions about the future of online learning for 2019 and beyond.

As we do each year, Class Central has once again tallied the best courses of the previous year, based on user reviews. (Here are the rankings from 2015, 2016, and 2017.) More than 2,300 courses were offered for the first time in 2018. The courses below are the ten most highly ranked on Class Central, based on the Bayesian average of the thousands of course reviews that came in during the year.

Yet again, the team that created the chart-topping MOOC Learning How to Learn has a course on the list. This time, it’s a course that brings the insights of Learning How to Learn to young people. High on the 2018 list is HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism, a light-hearted take on a heavy topic taught by Uriel Abulof of Princeton University and Tel Aviv University. (Check out the course trailer below to see what we mean.)

In addition to courses from the big MOOC platforms — edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn — you will note that there are two courses offered independently: one on Cartography from the mapping company ESRI and one on AI from the University of Helsinki. Complexity Explorer, a smaller MOOC platform that offers courses on complexity science, also has a course on the list this year.

HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism
Princeton University via edX
What sets us apart, and brings us together, as humans? How can we live up to our humanity? Join us as we explore not only “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” but “death, freedom, and the pursuit of meaning.”
★★★★★ (51 ratings)

Learning How To Learn for Youth
Arizona State University via Coursera
Based on the most popular open online course in the world, this course gives you easy access to the learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. No matter what your current skill level, using these approaches can help you master new topics, change your thinking, and improve your life.
★★★★★ (45 ratings)

Algorithmic Information Dynamics: From Networks to Cells
Santa Fe Institute via Complexity Explorer
This course provides a conceptual introduction to the new and exciting field of Algorithmic Information Dynamics, focusing on mathematical and computational aspects in the study of causality.
★★★★★ (59 ratings)

Elements of AI
University of Helsinki via Independent

The Elements of AI is a series of free online courses created by Reaktor and the University of Helsinki. We want to encourage as broad a group of people as possible to learn what AI is, what can (and can’t) be done with AI, and how to start creating AI methods. The courses combine theory with practical exercises and can be completed at your own pace.
★★★★★ (50 ratings)

Esri via Independent
Once, only cartographers made maps. Today anyone can. Still, cartographers can teach people to make better maps, just as chefs can show people how to cook better meals. With coaching from experienced cartographers and practical, hands-on exercises using ArcGIS Pro, you’ll become a smarter mapmaker, ready to go beyond the defaults and make better maps.
★★★★★ (49 ratings)

Applied Scrum for Project Management
University System of Maryland via edX
Learn the project management processes, roles, mechanics, and philosophies behind Scrum, the simplest and most pure approach to managing work at the team level.
★★★★★ (40 ratings)

Marketing Digital: Content & Community Manager
Galileo University via edX
Aprende a crear estrategias de marketing de contenidos y domina Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter y más. Mide KPIs y obtén resultados.
★★★★☆ (21 ratings)

Advanced Precalculus: Geometry, Trigonometry and Exponentials
University of Padova via FutureLearn
Explore advanced precalculus topics, and gain the mathematical knowledge and skills required to take a first course in precalculus.
★★★★★ (19 ratings)

Matrix Algebra for Engineers
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology via Coursera
This course is all about matrices, and concisely covers the linear algebra that an engineer should know.
★★★★★ (17 ratings)

Young People and Their Mental Health
University of Cambridge via FutureLearn
What are the most common mental health problems, what can you do about them, and how do you improve your mental health?
★★★★☆ (16 ratings)

Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

Comments 4

  1. Wonder Sibanda

    Hello Dhawal,
    I was looking at the courses you offer but and am still confused. I have no programming experience. I know how to operate a computer. I need assistance selection a course that i can do offline, a course either in Programming or Networking (under) Information technology for a starter. I want to learn IT skills, the technical side or even problem solving programs if there is anything like that . Where do i start from.

    • Adei Rizk

      The best way to start learning programing languages is the C , C++ / OR the virtual C . It is not necessary now to learn coding . The importance now is the System Analysis . There are s/w now can take the problem and taylor a program.

      I recommend go to MIT ai2 app inventor .mit .ed/tutorials .with these beginner friendly tutorial . You will learn the basics of programing.

  2. killian Haabalumbi

    how can i be trained by your institution am working in a project which is for orphans and vulnerable children in zambia

  3. Daniel Mutua

    Hello Dhawal
    I was looking for a free online Bible course we’re can I get it?If there is one here let me know thank you in advance.


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