Susan Fogarty, Network Computing 28 May 2015 Viewed 834 Times Viewed by 586 people

Looking to enrich your brain this summer? Look no further than these free online courses on everything from cyberwarfare and Python programming to superheroes, robotics and cooking for geeks.

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Remember when you were a kid, and the idea of summer school ranked with eating all the spinach on your plate, or watching Masterpiece Theater with your parents? As an adult, summer is a time when many of us have some vacation days or relaxation planned, and breaking out of the routine provides the opportunity to learn something new. 

Of course, for IT pros, downtime can be tough to come by, but the conveniences of modern technology make it easy to learn anywhere and any time. And the options for free online classes increase every day. Prestigious universities like Harvard, Michigan and Notre Dame offer deep dives with some of their most respected instructors and researchers. 

Here we provide some recommendations if you're setting aside some time to expand your skill set or delve into a new subject area, with courses on cyber security, wireless architecture and Python. And if you're looking for something lighter, you'll find geeky options on robotics, astronomy, culinary science and superheroes. 

Fire up that laptop and get ready for some summer schooling. 

The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture 
Smithsonian Institution 
Professors Stan Lee, Michael Uslan, David Uslan, and Dr. Christopher Robichaud 
Begins June 5; 5 weeks 

Python Programming for Everybody 
University of Michigan 
Professor Charles Severance, a.k.a. Dr. Chuck 
Begins June 1; 10 weeks 

Beginning Robotics 
University of Reading 
Professors Richard Mitchell, Tharindu Liyanagunawardena, and William Harwin 
Begins June 15; 4 weeks 

Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science 
Harvard University 
Professors Michael Brenner, David Weitz, Pia Sorensen, and Daniel Rosenberg 
Begins June 17; 14 weeks 

Code-Based Cryptography 
France Universite Numerique 
Professors Irene Marquez-Corbella, Nicolas Sendrier, and Matthieu Finiasz 
Begins May 25; 4 weeks 

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