Monday, March 26, 2012

Online Education: Coursera

I've written before about online education sites like Khan Academy and MIT online. While very good, most sites present recorded lectures for you to watch (or not watch) at any time. Presently I'm using a site that offers instruction in a more "real-time" fashion.

It's called Coursera and is offering free classes from professors at University of Michgan, Stanford, and U. of California, Berkeley. You enroll (along with about 100,000 other students) and get a certificate if you pass the class (no college credit - sorry). Classes last 6 to 10 weeks with new videos each week. Typically there's about two-weeks time to watch the 3 hours of new lectures and take an online test or programming assignment. There are online forums where you can post comments, ask questions, get into debates, catch every error made by the professor, and argue if a quiz question was graded right or wrong. There are also online "study groups" which I've not used.

Several classes are into their 2nd week now so it's not too late to join. Most are computer based but not your common programming class but rather
  • Natural Language Process (how does google do searches?)
  • Game Theory (multi-player scenarios)
  • Probabilistic Graphic Models (too strange to explain)
  • Cryptography (what makes a good encryption or breaks one?)
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms  (what's the fastest search method?)

Bottom Line

Check them out. And if you don't care about the cert, just watch for fun and check out the discussions. But time is limited. I'm not sure what will happen to the course material when the classes end.

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Anonymous Make your own quiz said...

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March 27, 2012 at 2:45 AM  

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