9 spring courses to cultivate your skills and inspire your curiosity

What are your goals for the new year? Whether you aspire to advance in your career, want to refresh your skill set at work or in life, or simply have an unquenchable curiosity for new knowledge, 2022 is the perfect time to start learning online. With offerings in a wide variety of subjects—as well as four new career-focused certificates to enhance your resume—Penn LPS Online courses are designed to help you explore and enrich your education.

Spring 2022 course registration is open now: current students can enroll in spring courses at any time using Path@Penn. If you’re new to Penn LPS Online, you can enroll as a certificate or course taker by December 15—and jump right into spring 1 courses, which begin on January 12. Prospective Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences students can apply by February 1 for a spring 2 start.

Understand human history and culture

SDEI 1100: Introduction to Social Difference in American Society

This new course takes a sociological approach to the causes and consequences of inequality, exploring the ways that social difference can connect or divide communities. Whether you have an established interest in racial, class, and gender studies or you are new to this complex and urgent field, you can dive deeper into public issues including education, family structure, and poverty for a more nuanced understanding of how they affect individuals and communities. This course also serves as an introduction to a future certificate focusing on social difference, equality, and inclusion: through readings and discussions, you’ll learn concepts and methodologies that will prepare you to tackle complex issues in further study.

  • Instructor: Dr. Kimberly Torres, affiliated faculty in the Organizational Dynamics program and the Center for Africana Studies
  • 8-week course offered in spring 2 (March 14 – May 10, 2022)
  • May be taken as an individual course

ICOM 1000: Intercultural Communication

Understanding language—at work, abroad, or anywhere—means understanding culture. Whether you’re preparing to learn a new language, working in a multinational organization, or engaging with community members of diverse backgrounds, an intercultural perspective is vital to meaningful communication. That’s why this foundational course can be applied to the new Upskill Certificate, which is designed to enhance your professional abilities, as well as to the Certificate in Global and Regional Studies and certain BAAS requirements. In this 8-week accelerated course, you’ll learn key ideas in intercultural practices and strategies, and explore the intricate relationship between language and culture through reflective and analytical writing.

CLSC 1000: Greek and Roman Mythology

What is it about the traditional stories of ancient Greece and Rome that still captivates our imaginations after thousands of years? How did the ancient Greeks and Romans understand their own myths—and what new myths do we tell ourselves about contemporary life? This 8-week accelerated course explores the nature of myth—including some contemporary American myths as well as ancient lore—and the role myth plays in helping individuals, societies, and nations understand themselves.

  • Instructors: Peter T. Struck, Professor and Chair of Classical Studies
  • 8-week course offered in spring 2 (March 14 – May 10, 2022)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied toward the BAAS concentrations in Individualized Studies and Literature, Culture, and Tradition

Polish your professional communication

PROW 2010: Designing Effective Presentations

Whether you aspire to give a memorable TED Talk, want to share knowledge in a conference or classroom, or need to make a case for your organization’s leadership, you will likely have to prepare a talk or slideshow at some point in your career. Whatever the format, everything from script to slide is an opportunity to make your presentation more compelling and effective. This 8-week accelerated course will familiarize you with a range of presentation applications, technologies, and formats from asynchronous slideshows to lightning talks. Drawing on theories of human cognition as well as best practice in communications, you’ll learn to combine professional writing with design elements to build powerful presentations to engage, inform, and persuade your audience.

ORGC 3010: Anthropology of Organizations

Every course in the Certificate in Organizational Anthropology is designed to help you understand the workplace as a human culture defined by language, social norms, and expected behaviors like any other community. In this course, you deepen your knowledge of anthropological theories and tools that can help you recognize organizational culture and how it affects performance. In particular, you’ll learn to identify the drivers of cultural conflict that can hinder strategies and reduce collaboration, and work an organization’s particular cultural characteristics to create sustainable change.

CRWR 2400: The Art of Editing

This course serves as a deeply practical and effective introduction to editing that can be applied in any communications work—whether you’re an aspiring copyeditor, a creative writer, or any professional in search of polished and precise prose. Learn the difference between developmental editing and line editing, gain experience with different style guides and text media, and practice making editorial inventions in a range of contexts. The course also explores the politics and philosophy of editing, exploring the approaches of renowned writers from T.S. Eliot to Raymond Carver and investigating how language usage changes over time. In the end, you’ll learn to wield your red pen with confidence.

Enhance your scientific reasoning and numeric literacy

MTHS 2200: Introduction to Applied Statistics

Whether you want to add statistical reasoning to your professional toolkit or test the waters for future study in data analysis, this introductory course will familiarize you with the methods and technological tools used to collect, organize, and interpret numeric data. You’ll learn key concepts in this mathematical field as well as when and how to use specific applications to solve real problems using data.

PHYL 1600: Foundations of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Maybe you’d like to take college-level science courses but worry that it’s been too long since your high school chemistry class. Maybe you have a powerful curiosity for scientific knowledge—because you’re living through a watershed year in both public health and climate change, or because you just finished PHYL 120: Foundations of Life Sciences—and you’re ready to learn more about the way our lives are impacted by microscopic particles too small to be seen by the human eye. This foundational course does require a prerequisite math course, because you’ll need quantitative reasoning and mathematical vocabulary to tackle complex topics in physics and chemistry—not just the concepts and laws of motion, force, energy, heat, and matter, but the way they shape our everyday experiences such as cooking, traveling, and looking at the stars.  

  • Instructor: M. Ruth Elliott, lecturer in biochemistry
  • 8-week course offered in spring 2 (March 14 – May 10, 2022)
  • May be taken as an individual course
  • May be applied toward the Certificate in Science Foundations
  • May be applied toward the BAAS concentration in Physical and Life Sciences
  • Fulfills the BAAS degree requirement in Scientific Process
  • Prerequisites: either MTHS 200, MTHS 100, or another equivalent Foundational Requirement in Quantitative Reasoning

DATA 1010: Introduction to Data Analytics

In our increasingly data-driven world, effective leadership and communication often hinges on the ability to acquire, manage, analyze, and display large, quantitative data sets. DATA 101 introduces you to the programming language R in a brief pre-course module, and provides ample opportunities for practice and feedback throughout the course. By the end of the term, you’ll have the knowledge you need to advance in the certificate and experience you can use to solve real-world problems in any professional field.

This introductory course can be taken individually to boost your professional skill set, or to launch a Certificate in Data Analytics. No prerequisite courses in statistics or math are required to enroll in this course, although students are required to complete a short module in advance of the course to help prepare them to use the programming software and tackle class assignments.

This is just a preview of the fascinating, effective online courses available this spring—there are many other subjects to choose from! View our course calendar to see the full range of what’s available in the upcoming term.

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