Monday, April 23, 2012

Coursera (and other online classes)

A revolution is taking place in education. Last fall, Stanford University premiered three online classes in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Introduction to Databases. I took Machine Learning and Intro to Databases, and this spring I’m taking Probabilistic Graphical Models, Natural Language Processing, and Model Thinking.

This winter and spring, that effort has evolved into Coursera, and the course offering has expanded to about 30 courses across disciplines and difficulties. Other universities, such as the University of Michigan, UPenn, and Princeton have gotten in on the action. Other professors have their own effort called Udacity (which concentrates on computer science and artificial intelligence after the primary interest of Sebastian Thrun of the Google robotic car), and MIT has developed their own platform.

So far all my classes have been through have been high quality. There are a few glitches as Coursera is blazing trails here, but overall I’m happy to take a small part in this revolution.