Most Popular Online Courses During the Pandemic

As the COVID pandemic of 2020 swept across the planet, millions of people around the world were left jobless, powerless and even worse, dead. However, the pandemic left few homes untouched but a lot of families struggled to survive for more than a year – but it also provided a rare opportunity for thousands of people to sit down and learn whatever they wanted online, and many times it’s for free. 

Here are five of the most popular courses, as determined by the number of people signing up for them.

The Science of Well-Being from Yale University

“The Science of Well-Being from Yale University” is a course on Coursera that serves as an introduction to the psychological science of well-being, which examines the question “What makes a good life?” 

This online course follows an experimental approach, starting with the psychology of human experience and behavior, and then moving to the underlying biological and neural mechanisms. 

Along the way, students learn about how emotions, attention, personality, strengths, and values can be harnessed to improve well-being and personal flourishing.

CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science from Harvard University 

CS50x is a free, online version of CS50, the introductory programming class taught by David J. Malan at Harvard University since 1998. Since it was first offered in Fall 2012, over 250,000 people have taken the course, making it one of the largest and most successful online courses ever offered. 

CS50x is not about technology; it’s about teaching you how to think like a computer scientist. The lectures and labs are entirely online, and live lectures are available on YouTube.

Machine Learning from Stanford University

Machine Learning is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience. The algorithms are trained with huge amounts of data, and this training enables them to improve their performance on a specific task. 

The training process is modeled on how the human brain works in the sense that it learns by making mistakes.

Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies from Harvard University 

Harvard’s School Professor Tarun Khanna combines the pragmatic theory of economics with a keen understanding of how businesses work to develop solutions that address some of society’s most pressing challenges.

This course will cover key economic and social challenges faced by some of the most rapidly urbanizing regions of the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. You will also be introduced to the range of solutions currently employed in these regions.

This course is all about the creative process and how to turn pressing problems into having great ideas.

The course also covers financing, scaling up, branding, the management of property rights, and the choice of metrics that can help to assess progress and social value in emerging markets.

The settings are varied: healthcare, online commerce, infrastructure, fintech, and so on – through the emphasis is less on comprehensive coverage than developing a bias to action.



Even though providing education in any form is not an easy task, it is done quite well in some parts of the world. For instance, in some regions of the U.S., there are a few excellent courses that have become extremely popular. 

These courses are a collection of online courses that are designed specifically to help students learn about a particular subject. Students taking the class have the option to take the courses at their own pace, which is a major selling point.