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Online Courses - Coursera, Udacity, EdX, etc.

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Have any of you guys explored online courses?

http://www.class-central.com/ <--- indexes many sites including:
https://www.coursera.org/
https://www.edx.org/
https://www.canvas.net/
http://www.udacity.com/

I am halfway through Coursera's Model Thinking and found it very interesting.
The other Coursera course I started, but didn't finish had an instructor with poor presentation skills.

On Udacity I'm following Steve Blank's How to Build a Startup course. I like Udacity because they don't follow a fixed schedule like Coursera does.

I'd be interested to hear from other SFers taking online courses, and maybe get suggestions on interesting courses to explore.
post #2 of 30
I love to poke around on these online courses.

One of the best Ive seen is Raj Chetty's Public Economics:

http://www.youtube.com/course?list=EC2SOU6wwxB0v3c46v2ptuDKIHmXHRAmeU
post #3 of 30
For a number of years if someone were attending Oxford or Cambridge they were referred to as reading at Oxford or Cambridge. This makes sense as the bulk of the academic activity is confined to reading books. You might even make that case that if someone were to obtain/ read/ understand a Harvard syllabus of a given subject that they would be the intellectual equal on that subject on someone who'd actually attended Harvard.
Given the cost of university education I can't help but think Internet courses are going to be the wave of the future. Can you imagine getting a degree in religious history and then hitting the streets with a half a million in student loans? It makes no sense economically.
I have found a free site with 700 online courses. Free. Really. It's called Open Culture

http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

Don't take my word for it. Here's a review

http://sisaljournal.org/archives/sep10/taylor/

I'm taking a philosophy course this week. This is something I've always wanted to do in an organized fashion. smile.gif
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
That's a great resource, Godot. Thanks.

Another thing I like about the Coursera and Udacity courses is how they incorporate short quizzes (usually multiple choice) into the lectures.

I also listen to Great Courses audio lectures (mostly history stuff -- I like the ones by the late J. Rufus Fears) while driving.
post #5 of 30
Thanks BB,
Just spent the morning listening to lectures on neuroscience. Understood about 25%, but fascinating nonetheless.

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/
post #6 of 30

Hi bbaquiran, are there free Great Courses? Few people mentioned this source recently, but I wonder if  I have to  buy them for $150 to listen.

post #7 of 30
Wasn't addressed to me but here's a link to 10 free Great Courses

http://www.openculture.com/2011/09/10_free_lectures_by_greatcourses.html

If you want one of their courses, try eBAY (average price around $30) and a Google search will list all kinds of coupons and most things on their site are on sale. No rush, my sense is this is a Jos A Banks kind of sale that is perpetual. smile.gif
post #8 of 30
edX is the most interesting for the future, but they don't have a lot of available courses. They have really nice platforms for certain things though...like programming courses where there is a Python interpreter built in to the course webpage so you can have much more dynamic homework assighments/tests. Much better than coursera which frequently has you write and run code on your own and then choose the result from 4 multiple choice options. Especially now that Stanford has joined up with edX--my favorite course I have taken was the database course from Stanford that was one of a few that started the MOOC boom (the guy who taught the machine learning course went on to found Coursera and the AI teacher founded Udacity).

I tried to take a Udacity course and it was awful and I quickly quit. That particular course has been noted all over the internet for being particularly terrible, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. Also, the unstructured course schedule makes it so easy to give up and just say "I'm going to do it later".

I took a Coursera course, and am taking some others. The course I fully completed was a 1st run course, so there were wrinkles being ironed out, but I learned some pretty cool things. The structured course schedule with weekly homework/quiz portions and two larger projects forced you to keep up with it. If I didn't watch the videos, it would be hard to do the homework, and if I didn't do the homework, I would get a zero. Obviously the scores don't really matter, but as long as you set a goal to pass the course, you will have to do the work to keep up. It would be nice if their platform got a bit more interactive like edX, but they have potential.

If you want to take something interesting, sign up for the Machine Learning course on Coursera that started this week (nothing is due for a bit so you aren't behind). Its the one taught by the founder and is supposed to be an excellent course. I haven't made it too far, but so far so good.
post #9 of 30

I'm currently doing  Democratic Development and I also signed up for Intro to international Criminal Law on Coursera.

I'm pretty inpressed by the quality so far. Alot more lectures and readings than I was expecting.

post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Necroing this icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif

Model Thinking just started again.

I'm looking forward to the Machine Learning course that otc mentioned. My boss is taking it as well.

I'm halfway through Elementary Statistics on Udacity.
post #11 of 30
I didn't end up actually doing the Andrew Ng machine learning course... Is it starting again?
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

I didn't end up actually doing the Andrew Ng machine learning course... Is it starting again?

Yup, starting on Monday.
post #13 of 30

me too,I'm pretty inpressed by the quality so far. Alot more lectures and readings than I was expecting.

4.gif

post #14 of 30
This thread reminded me of the Marginal Revolution University classes I'd read about from Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok. They are more like a textbook than a class, because they just have the videos sitting on Youtube, and they don't go at a certain time the way college classes do. I downloaded all the lectures from their Development Economics class to my phone and I've been listening to them on the way to work. I'll probably go through all of the lectures and then take the test to get the little badge on my profile.

Some of the other courses on here looked pretty interesting, particularly the Model Thinking one bbaquiran mentioned above and some of the security ones.
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
The Machine Learning course is progressing at a nice pace. I just submitted my second programming exam with an hour and thirty minutes to spare.
I'm pretty happy with the material so far. Basic Matlab/Octave, linear and logical regressions covered in the first three weeks. This week and next covers neural networks.
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