Open Learning at CalArts

Open Learning at CalArts—a joint initiative led by CalArts’ Office of the Provost and the Office of Global Initiatives and Extended Studies—brings together a community of engaged online learners from around the world interested in creativity and creative education.

Through partnerships with massive open online course (MOOC) providers Coursera and Kadenze, CalArts currently offers several courses and certificates (called Specializations or Programs) in graphic design, game design, poetry, music technology and web design. To date, CalArts' Open Learning has engaged with more than 290,000 students in 205 countries. All courses are taught by CalArts faculty and are free, non-credit offerings. Additional options for fee-based certificates or premium membership are available where noted.

Design Language

The Language of Design: Form and Meaning will introduce a lexicon (or vocabulary) in order for you to demonstrate clearer and more considered ways of talking about graphic design in the context of critique. By refining this skill, you will enhance your ability to communicate about design with peers, colleagues, and clients. Non-credit; fee-based certificates available through Coursera.

Digital Arts

Dive into the exciting and rapidly expanding field of electronic music! Learn fundamental programming and software skills to start creating compelling digital compositions. Premium membership and fee-based certificates available; see Kadenze website for details.

Game Design

Stemming from the principles of storytelling and design established in CalArts’ renowned Animation programs, this five-course series lays a primary foundation for experimentation and exploration of video game design, story, character development, and winning gameplay—before programming begins. Non-credit; fee-based certificates available through Coursera.

Graphic Design

Graphic design is all around us, in a myriad of forms, both on screen and in print. This five-course series exposes students to the fundamental skills required to make sophisticated graphic design: process, historical context, and communication through image-making and typography. Non-credit; fee-based certificates available through Coursera.


Explore the relationship between the technical and aesthetic details of music. Marc Lowenstein, faculty in The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, will guide you toward developing a meaningful theoretical vocabulary to help you think and talk about musical style, and expand your appreciation for music. Non-credit; fee-based certificates available through Coursera.

UI/UX Design

In this sequence of four courses, developed by faculty in the Graphic Design program, you will summarize and demonstrate all stages of the UI/UX development process, from user research to defining a project’s strategy, scope, and information architecture; to developing sitemaps and wireframes. Non-credit; fee-based certificates available through Coursera.


Douglas Kearney's wildly popular poetry class gives you a chance to stretch your poetic muscle. Learn key poetic terms and devices by studying poems by a handful of modern and contemporary poets, and then try your own hand at writing new poems. Non-credit; fee-based certificates available through Coursera.