Free Video Tutorials Expand Work Skills

Find out the top topics accessed by the Duke community

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Michael Beene Jr. uses to learn more about database software.

Looking to gain additional work responsibilities, Michael Beene Jr. turned to online video tutorial provider to learn database management skills.

Using, which is offered at no charge to staff, faculty and students through a campus-wide license agreement with Duke’s Office of Information Technology (OIT), Beene learned Access and is now in charge of maintaining a database using the software.

“Without lynda’s course, there would have been no way for me to pick up Microsoft Access as fast and as easily as I did,” said Beene, of Duke’s Budget & Cost Allocations office. “While you can look up videos on YouTube, lynda gives you a classroom feel with material to follow alongside the videos.”

From anywhere at any time, the Duke community can tap into thousands of business, creative, education and tech topics on In the past year, more than 2,000 Duke faculty, staff and students have used, taking more than 11,000 hours of online training.

Here are some top areas that Duke staff, faculty and students have accessed in the past year:

HTML Essential Training

Learn how to write code to build a website.This is a beginner course to learn basic code called Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), including the basic structure of HTML to create web pages that work across Internet browsers and mobile devices.

Foundations of Programming

This beginner level-programming course provides “what’s beneath the hood” of computer programs. Get the core knowledge to begin programming in any language, like JavaScript and how to select a language for a project.

Even experts like Heather MacDonald, an analyst/programmer in the Neurology department found the Foundations in Programming tutorials helpful.

“I taught myself programming, so this course was very helpful in learning things I had missed,” she said. “I have used some of what I’ve learned in my position.”

iOS App Development

Learn how to “develop, debug and deploy” applications for Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad. The entire course can be learned in about six hours at your own pace. Once you create an app, the course walks you through submitting an application to the App Store.

Databases: Access & SQL Essential Trainings

Microsoft Access and SQL (structured query language) are database-building tools. These trainings teach participants how to efficiently store data, build tables and create queries of the data.

Excel Essential Training

Excel is the gold standard for collecting and organizing data in spreadsheets, performing calculations and formatting data.

Paula Batton, OIT’s director of customer and technology support, said that when she started a new position in 2012, she had basic Excel skills but needed to expand her knowledge of pivot tables. She found a one-hour section of training just for that.

“I needed to analyze thousands of bits of information in Excel pivot tables,” she said. “I didn't have the time, budget, or frankly, interest to go to a multi-day Excel training, so I looked at, and I use what I learned every week.”