U-M offers many online offerings during pandemic


Living rooms around the world can become places to learn how to start a business for social impact or to peek inside a museum to see homemade ancient wooden toy horses from Roman Egypt.

The University of Michigan is providing multiple opportunities to learn and explore online while staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

U-M’s art and performance organizations and its libraries have many exhibits, performances, speakers and other enriching resources online. Many museums, galleries and units across campus are currently working to create online content to assist K-12 and college learners. Stay up to date at arts.umich.edu.

Through Michigan Online, U-M has several online learning opportunities for those who want to try something new, sharpen an existing skill, or just be enriched. U-M currently has a portfolio of more than 180 online learning opportunities.

Massive open online courses featured as single courses, series and specializations are free to faculty, staff, alumni and students of the university and come with a small fee to others. An ongoing series of short, self-guided learning opportunities called teach-outs offer experts on a variety of current topics. These are offered free to all. 

Exhibits, performances, speakers

U-M Penny Stamps Speaker Series

While the U-M Stamps School of Art & Design has suspended Stamps Gallery hours, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series events, which usually take place on Thursdays at the Michigan Theater, have all been moved online. This well-known series brings innovators from a broad spectrum of fields to U-M to conduct public lectures that are free and open to the public each semester. The first online event featuring Alex Dehgan of technology startup Conservation X Labs is now live, and subsequent events will be posted weekly at stamps.umich.edu/stamps.

All past Stamps Speaker Series events have been recorded and archived at: stamps.umich.edu/stamps/past.

U-M Library

The U-M Library has several online exhibitions covering topics ranging from “Fantasy Classics for Children” and a celebration of Jane Austen’s characters to Shakespeare and artists books. Browse exhibits.

Clements Library online exhibits

For nearly 100 years, U-M’s William L. Clements Library has housed one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of early American History in the world. View several of their online exhibitions.

Museum of Natural History 

While the U-M Museum of Natural History may be closed, staff and faculty there are looking at ways they can share the museum experience virtually during its closure, including virtual tours and videos detailing science-related activities that can be done with children at home. The public can sign up for their e-newsletter to get updates as resources are added online.

University Musical Society

While most of the UMS upcoming performances and events have been canceled (see refund policy), there are many online resources available, including their popular musical playlists, which can be found on Spotify and Apple Music. UMS is one of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country, committed to connecting audiences with performing artists from around the world in uncommon and engaging experiences. Their online searchable archive details their 141-year history. 

U-M Museum of Art

Work by Kara Walker, James McNeill Whistler, Claude Monet, Andy Warhol, Helen Frankenthaler, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso and more are available to view in UMMA’s entire collection online. The U-M Museum of Art is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country, with holdings representing the historical to the contemporary.

U-M School of Music, Theatre and Dance

A leading performing arts school, SMTD will continue offering performances to the community even though students and faculty are off campus this spring. Watch a variety of songs, monologues, and interviews online.

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

While the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is closed, all of their past exhibitions are online, including “Graffiti as Devotion Along the Nile,” their most recent offering. Learn about the wooden toy horses from Roman Egypt.


Borrowing the template from the TED conference, TEDxUofM aims to bring a TED-like experience to the university. The vision is to showcase the most fascinating thinkers and doers for a day of presentations, discussions, entertainment and art to spark new ideas and opportunities across all disciplines. View the most recent TEDxUofM 2020 conference in full. 

A sample of online learning opportunities

  • Title: Financial Technology (Fintech) Innovations
  • Date: Live now on FutureLearn and Coursera
  • Description: This MOOC series will explore a broad range of financial technologies and focus on how to utilize and adapt them for a career. Consider innovations in payment technology, explore and critique both blockchain and cryptocurrency, learn how technology and crowdfunding are changing how organizations raise capital, and discover how technology is being used for investing.
  • Title: Earth Day at 50 Teach-Out (FutureLearn) or Earth Day at 50 Teach-Out (Coursera)
  • Date: April 6
  • Description: On April 22, the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual event meant to bring people together from across the world in protest, solidarity and conversation about how we can collectively fight for a sustainable and just world. This teach-out will engage learners in intergenerational and interdisciplinary conversations about what sustainability means across different sectors, disciplines and lived experiences.
  • Title: Sports Performance Analytics Specialization 
  • Date: End of April 
  • Description: The focus of this MOOC specialization is to enable students to use data to analyze on-field sports performance. Sports data is widely available on the web and many people are interested in using modern methods to analyze it. Their reasons vary: some want to understand player performance from the coaching perspective, others want to generate data visualization for the media, and some want to predict results for the purpose of gambling. This series will equip students with the skills to gather sports data and analyze it in Python.
  • Title: Good with Words: Writing and Editing
  • Date: Late April/early May 
  • Description: Learn how to clearly communicate ideas and how improved writing and editing skills can impact academic and professional prospects. This MOOC series focuses on the fundamentals of words, sentences, drafting and editing. 
  • Title: Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything
  • Date: Spring 
  • Description: Finding purpose is an essential element of human well-being. In addition to learning more about the science of purpose, participants in this MOOC will go through a structured program to find purpose and ways to become more purposeful every day. 
  • Title: Building a Business for Social Impact/Starting a Social Enterprise
  • Date: Spring
  • Description: Ever thought of starting a social enterprise to address societal ills? You’re not alone, but it’s more challenging than you might think. This MOOC will help learners with the desire to help people find ways to create an inclusive, more just society by starting a social enterprise or in other compatible ways.

Other current and upcoming titles: Melting Ice Rising Seas Teach-Out (live now); Design Computing: Coding with Python/Rhinoscrip; Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality; Exploring Piano Literature; and Hearing Loss in Children. See more courses


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