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Ask HN: Best Online Courses?
22 points by ambivalents 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments
I searched but there hasn't been a thread about this in a while.

What is the best online course you've taken? Doesn't have to be confined to CS -- I'm personally interested in expanding my horizons and learning new things in different fields.

Thanks all.




Sapolsky - Biology of Human Behavior 25 lectures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA&list=PL848F2368C...

It's accessible to laymen, no prior knowledge needed. It covers so many different fields and levels of knowledge ("buckets" Sapolsky calls them), different ways of explaining human behaviour. By the signals in their brain, or the hormones in their blood, or what happened that day, or their childhood, or their genes, or evolution of humans etc. Also looks at other animals. A lot of touching/funny/inspiring/poignant stories about scientists in the field(s). Sapolsky is an amazing lecturer/raconteur.

Hamming - Learning to Learn 32 lectures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD4b-52jtos&list=PL2FF649D0C...

The famous "You and your research" is one lecture in this, but every one of them is fascinating. History of computers, AI, codes, n-space, digital filters etc etc. Mainly it's great seeing how his mind works, his thinking style. (I've since read a few of his books, and I love how they're soaked with practical experience, in the same way these talks are. It's all stuff he's lived.)


Nice question, ambivalents, and thanks for the recommendation, yesenadam. Very cool. I just started watching the first video of Sapolsky's lecture and found it to instantly capture my attention. I'm going to stick to this series. By the way, studying Sapolsky could also help with the forum question recently in Ask: HN about explaining things well to people.

His lectures look like a neat place to get a deep anthropological grip on things.


I've taken a few, and these two are my favorites:

Learning How to Learn by Barbara Oakley: https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn Hands down the biggest return on investment for an online class. It helped my future learning so much. Highly, highly recommend it.

Harvard's CS50: https://www.edx.org/course/cs50s-introduction-computer-scien... Took this course when learning to program. It was difficult, but I learned a great deal. Fantastic professor, good problem sets, and great production value.


Was learning how to learn actually that useful? I kinda let off halfway through it ...


I would say that it wasn't watching the videos that was helpful, but more applying the concepts and techniques. I took general notes and reviewed them periodically (spaced repetition!), and I applied the general ideas to my classwork.

It's kind of like learning math. During a lecture, it's easy to think to yourself "OK, I understand this," but you learn so much when working through practice problems. I found myself saying "OK, that makes sense" when watching the LHTL videos, but I really saw the benefit when actively working on applying spaced repetition, diffuse vs focus mode, getting sleep, and other strategies to my studying. I was taking a few post-graduate CS classes at the time, and compared with my study skills and results from undergraduate, it felt like magic to study efficiently and get good results.



"The great courses" (google it) has a many well done courses taught by college professors on a variety of topics


Udacity courses: Applied cryptography, Intro to Theoretical Computer Science

Coursera courses: Digital Signal Processing

and Khan Academy.




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