Free online courses - The University of Sheffield

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The University of Sheffield has developed a series of free online courses which are available to anyone with an interest in a particular subject area.

Discover Dentistry

How important is a smile? Ever wondered what all those letters and numbers a dentist calls out during your check-up mean? How are broken teeth fixed, or how dentures are made? Join Dr Christopher Stokes from the School of Clinical Dentistry at The University of Sheffield on a learning journey to explore the dental profession and the impact dentistry has on all our lives.

Crime, Justice and Soceity

Crime and criminal justice are vast and fascinating issues that highlight the complexity of defining and solving social problems.  You will develop an understanding of, and critical perspective on, the role of the state in the regulation of criminal behaviour and the key parts played by those involved in the criminal justice system.

This is an introductory course and anyone can enjoy it without prior knowledge or experience of the subject. A basic knowledge of criminal justice will be helpful but is not essential. The course will focus on criminal justice in England and Wales, but is designed so that learners from any country can participate.

How to write your first song

Ever wanted to write a song, but not known how? This free online course will give you the practical and theoretical understanding you need to create a finished song of your own.

Whether you’re a complete novice who has never written a song in their life, a budding amateur looking to develop further skills or an accomplished professional brushing up on the basics, this course will deliver comprehensive practical and theoretical knowledge to help set you on your path. While it will be useful to have access to a musical instrument this is not a requirement, you can participate in the course just using your voice or with freely available music software.

Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life

In this course we’ll introduce you to a range of play worlds and play lives. We’ll be taking in the history of play at the Museum of Childhood in London; discovering how everyday knowledge informs playfulness and imagination; visiting virtual worlds where the boundaries between fantasy and reality are blurred; exploring outdoor play spaces in towns, cities and parks; looking at how play spaces can be designed to encourage playfulness; and seeing what happens when players bend the rules.

We’ll also look at play as the subject of serious study by talking to academics across a range of Social Sciences disciplines here at the University of Sheffield. We’ll discuss definitions of play and current debates about how the nature of play changes - does play help us to learn? Can it prepare young people to be successful in the adult world? How do we learn to subvert the rules? Are all forms of play good for us? We’ll also talk about the regular media panics about the presumed dangers of technology-related play, such as computer games.

Building a Future with Robot

Prepare to work alongside robots and autonomous systems

In the near future, more of us will be working alongside robots, so knowledge of autonomous systems and robotics will be a helpful skill for a surprising number of today’s careers.

On this free online course, we’ll present some of the major challenges that working with autonomous systems creates, to help you understand how researchers design robotic systems, how these connect to other fields of study, and the potential role of robotics in our everyday future.

Measuring and Valuing Health

Healthcare systems around the world are increasingly under pressure to fund drugs, treatments and other healthcare interventions. No-one has the money or resources to provide them all, so how do we decide which ones to fund?

One factor which can help inform these decisions is to compare the costs and benefits of treatments. Costs are fairly straightforward to calculate, but what about benefits? How do we know which treatments help patients most? And how do we measure and value these benefits?

This course will help you understand how and why choices about drugs and treatments have been made. It may inspire you to think about a career in healthcare, local decision making or academia.

Making Sense of Data in the Media

Increasingly, we’re bombarded with all sorts of data about how society is changing: opinion poll trends; migration data; economic results; government debt levels; and MPs’ expenses claims.

More often than not, the data are presented to bolster a (sometimes contentious) claim, so the ability to read such information with confidence is an increasingly important skill for both modern citizens and those studying the social sciences.

Literature of the English Country House

The country house has fascinated writers and readers for over 450 years, attracting the attention of celebrated writers like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and providing a setting for the performance of literature for writers such as William Shakespeare. We’ll be tracing the history of country house literature, from the sixteenth and seventeenth-century poetry and drama of Thomas More and Margaret Cavendish, through the polite satire and sociability of the eighteenth-century, the Gothic terror and intrigue of Ann Radcliffe and Charles Dickens, all the way through to the dawn of the twentieth century and the wit of Oscar Wilde.