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Stanford announces 16 free online courses for fall quarter (stanford.edu)
277 points by ukdm on Sept 9, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 62 comments

Plug: I maintain a list of all the MOOCs over at Class Central - http://www.class-central.com

Here is a list of courses(43 total, 28 new) that start in September : https://plus.google.com/107809899089663019971/posts/4nundLE1...

Class Central is wonderful. Thank you so much for your effort.

I just want to thank you for your effort.

Thanks! Fixed.

Thank you for your effort.

Fantastic. Thanks a lot!

Sweet, thanks a bunch.

I like this, but I must cite you for a Comic Sans infraction.


Are you using chrome? Try using a different browser...

And it's not just Stanford:

* 123 coursera courses from some of the best universities in the world in the next year: https://www.coursera.org/courses

* 14 Udacity classes: http://www.udacity.com/

* 6 edX courses from Harvard, MIT and Berkeley: https://www.edx.org/

Education is changing. About time.

It's great that access to higher education material is becoming more open. This is already a big step.

Certification / getting a top-level university degree is unfortunately something completely different.

Splitting those two is part of the business model of all the participating universities.

Nevertheless these changes might provide the possibility for more people who want to learn (and have the abilities) to get discovered and so finally also get access to certification.

What's the next step from here to replacing "a college education" all together? Of course I can't walk into a job offer and explain to them how I watched coursera videos online, but I'm wondering what the path from A to B will be.

The path forward will be made by the people who take these classes succeeding at various projects. Much like traditional schools increase their reputation via the achievements of their alumni, so will the MOOCs. You're seeing some success stories already, but wait until someone high profile credits their success to what they learned at Coursera or Udacity.

On another front, the first traditional school has decided to award credit for a Udacity class, if the student takes a proctored test. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/education/colorado-state-t...

We're just about a year out from that first Thrun/Norvig Stanford AI class. Things have moved very quickly when you put it in that perspective.

I don't think it will ever happen "all together". For hard sciences you still need expensive labs and hands-on training. For medical schools, I'd prefer that an operating surgeon had some practical experience as well.

But a good portion of the courses (that frequently happen to be taught by TAs, not professors, anyways) belong online. One finicky part at the moment is testing, which relies on honor code, so there might be a move towards professional-level testing, the type you see for major exams (GRE, TOEFL) as well as professional certifications. Since most of the testing facilities charge money, it will probably provide a good reason for universities to charge for credits as well - you can still view the course for free, but to pass a series of tests and get credit you would have to pay.

>Of course I can't walk into a job offer and explain to them how I watched coursera videos online...

Yes you can. I would put you very close to the front of the line for my group (data science) if you told me you self-taught yourself ML using Ng's classes and could show me some samples on GitHub.

I think the next step will be proctored exams, like edX just introduced. With proctored exams, the student can prove that s(he) really did succeed. After that, all that's needed is time. As with any cultural shift, newer generations are comfortable with things the previous generation wouldn't even dream of.

One path is people working , that need to learn something(say machine learning) for their jobs, and doing so online with the knowledge of their workplace.

If the result is good , it'll warm some workplaces to online courses.

Another path is using the fact that graduates of online courses can achieve a specific learning goal much cheaper and much shorter(in some jobs people don't need a full degree , only some courses). This opens a path for cheaper employees for companies and a solution for the talent crunch. Maybe some more venturesome companies will start using it. And the word will get out and it will become more common.

We're a long ways from that point, but you're right. There's currently a "rush" on getting educational materials as content. I think it'll take a couple more years to really polish up the content delivery strategies, but it's rapidly developing.

"Education is changing."

Exactly how? So a bunch of "courses" (i.e. video lectures and PDFs and web pages) are put online. How is this a big deal? The University of Illinois offered complete courses online, for full credit, in the 1960s. By the early 80s, thousands and thousands of students were taking online courses at Illinois.

How is this throw-a-video-lecture-on-YouTube progress again?

throw-a-video-lecture-on-YouTube? These classes are interactive. Most of them involve are weekly quizes, midterm and final exams and automatically graded programming assignments. There are deadlines for all of these, and if your performance is good enough, you get a certificate with a grade. And they're all free and massive (coursera has millions of students).

I haven't heard about the online Illinois courses before, sorry. Were they free? Were they truly massive? Were they offered to anyone, even to highschool students or unemployed bartenders in Uganda?

And even if these courses aren't truly innovating, the point is they're making MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) popular and available to millions of people.

I'm a highschool student from Greece. In the last year, I've learned AI, ML, NLP (although my performance wasn't good enough to get a certificate from this class), SaaS and Algorithms through MOOCs. All these from some of the world's best professors. I even was a community TA in the second offering of the SaaS class because of my performance in the first offering. Coursera (I've only taken one udacity class, and edX is new) is changing my life.

Please answer honestly: Could I do these things 2 years ago?

In this sense, education is changing.

This isn't some mail-order-MBA-translated-to-the-internet, your Illinois example is apples and oranges.

In fact it's not even about course credit. It's free. People from Africa, South America, India, China and so forth are getting access to professors at Ivy League universities.

That's a big deal in my book!

Yes, One professor can throw some videos on youtube, but this is a structured environment to bring full courses to students. And more importantly, it's a 'hot' idea right now, it seems professors left and right are coming out of the woodworks to join in.

So yes, education is certainly changing. It's hard to say where to exactly, but something is stirring - and I think it's good.

  > People from Africa, South America, India, China and so
  > forth are getting access to professors at Ivy League 
  > universities.

Quality. Followed by quantity.

There is a huge difference between taping lectures and 'throwing them on youtube' and offering a comprehensive package that is specifically tailored for online learning use only. And that is definitely the direction we seem to be in now, and I for one am very exited about.

I think the big next question is how this will affect the institutions as we know it. We are already borderline on accepting certificates from these courses.

As the quality and the number of courses increases you get an incentive not to enroll in an expensive program, or competition from more people who got a similar education for free.

I can see the khan angle to better the world for everybody, but I wouldn't be surprised if the next coursera generation costs money.

You can be in any part of the world to take these online course. As long as one has a decent internet connection, willingness to study, has time (effort) to devote to the offering they can take the course and learn. I think this can be deemed progress.

I think it boils down to critical mass. There are more and more people with an increase of quality. In addition, the overall community aspect developed by remote students has really taken off. I don't think you can look at it so much as "how is this different from this" as you can just see the relative size of each. Lastly, while those technologies and offerings may have existed in the past, computers and web content have never been as accessible as they are now. And that is only going to increase.

This will be more obvious in developing countries, who do not have large education budgets. US schools have a decent supply of decent courses - you could take a Cryptography course from Stanford, but you don't have to, as there's probably one at your local university anyways.

Someone involved in higher education in poorer countries could utilize these courses as a base material, and have local TAs grade assignments and facilitate in-class discussions.

  > Exactly how?
Some people think that there is some magic technology which can let you learn a lot of stuff without putting some effort, without engaging your memory, without doing boring stuff. That video somehow is better than live interaction.

I'll just ignore them—saw to many itching for the change without understanding what exactly the problem is.

People without a formal algorithms background should strongly consider taking Algorithms from Roughgarden. I took that class from him, and it's a great class that he teaches spectacularly. Great for the self-taught hackers whose coding skills lag their formal knowledge of some of these quite-useful techniques.

I'm probably taking Networking and Machine Learning for credit. I'm excited that McKeown is teaching networking for the first time since I've been around (not sure if he ever did). He's done some really interesting networking research and usually teaches the more advanced networking class, which I've heard great things about.

I've been taking the other algorithms class (Sedgewick and Wayne from Princeton), which has been interesting and informative so far.

I'll second your statement about the usefulness of these classes for people who are self-taught - I'd been trying to go back to school to get a CS degree, but working full-time and not being very close to any universities made it difficult. While I won't get an actual degree from these online courses, they have been really useful so far for filling in some gaps in my knowledge.

My algorithms professor is using the videos from the Sedgewick and Wayne course entirely as a way to present new material in place of lectures. He's teaching their book and his view is essentially that his time in lectures is better spent answering questions and interacting with the class than introducing new material that has been extemely well presented on the web already.

I can attest to the quality of Sedgewick and Wayne's lectures, and I have a lot of respect for my professor's humble and novel approach to teaching this course.

You are damn lucky. It's a rare professor who focuses on the needs of the student at the expense of his own ego inflation.

It's not Stanford, but UIS offers an online degree: http://csc.uis.edu/

UIS is associated with UIUC, so I can't imagine the coursework is of poor quality.

McKeown used to teach CS244 before it was watered down into a lit review course (and before CS144 existed). The premise was basically that you will have built the entire internet by the end of the quarter. I took CS244 in early 2008 and it was probably my favorite class at Stanford.

Oh wow, I didn't know what it used to be. I heard a couple people who liked it last year (McKeown was one of 3 teaching it). It sounded like it wasn't all lit review (unlike 240, which had literally nothing but paper discussion). They had several projects using OpenFlow to explore various topics, the last of which was open ended. But sounds pretty different than what they're describing.

See http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs244/2012/index.html

Thanks for the tip. Where is Roughgarden's part 1 for algos?

Ah, it was linked to on the part 2 course page: https://www.coursera.org/course/algo

As a man of 48 years who does not have the time to "head" back to class I LOVE all these courses. The receptionist in our office (she's 52) is taking the Sustainability course on Coursera. That's a wonderful thing. I've already taken the Cryptography course.

You may think it's only the younger generations benefiting from this trend in education. I assure you, it is not. :)

I highly recommend crypto & machine learning. Tina Seelig can also be quite phenomenal but I only attended seminars of hers so can't speak about her full course.

I was eyeing the up the class on cryptography so thanks for the recommendation. The Human-Computer Interaction class looks really interesting as well.

This is just another great resource to supplement my experience. I also love taking a deeper dive on topics I think will really help in my day-to-day programming.

Are there any decent projects created so far by the 'udacity / OCW' generation? It seems like they should be out in the wild now.

I also wonder this. Being self taught through online platforms such as this I spend a lot of time wondering how to prove their success at scale. In particular for less tangible learning (i.e. things I cannot point to my github account for)

I'm sure some folks here did the Technology Entrepreneurship course the first time it was offered.

What was your experience like?

I took it. It was pretty good, I learned a lot from all the lectures and exercises, etc., but a lot of it is group work. Unless you go into it with a team of people you know beforehand and actually have the time to put into it every week, you might not find the experience that great. I was put into a team of other people from my country and we had probably around 10 team members at the start and that dropped to 2 by the end.

Also, in a class like this you really need that feedback from experienced people like professors, but the majority on feedback is just handled by other people in the class. We never got any professor feedback on our final demo and weren't invited to the demo day, so felt a bit left out by the end, even though we thought our idea and presentation was a lot better than some of the other teams.

E145 is ok. I took it in person at Stanford. I think if you have no clue about the ins and outs of tech, it can be a nice starting point. My other recommendation would to just read venture deals and check out jake blakemaster's cs183 essays. I sat in that class and it was phenomenal.

I've been wondering what's the point of online courses, at least in disciplines, where there are good books available? E.g. you could very well get the same (or deeper) knowledge of AI by reading Russell & Norwig book, or algorithms from D. Knuth books. And text is mostly always is a better format than video lectures.

As I understand, participating in a course will put some pressure to complete most exercises and actually finish the course. You would also get some automated submission checks and could extend CV in the end. Also courses might mention recent discoveries that didn't find their way in books yet. Is that all or I'm missing something?

I think the experience of taking the classes is far richer than just reading a good text book. Advantages: video lectures with "pay attention" embedded quizes (that you can re-watch parts of as required), tests that you learn from by taking repetitively until you get a good/perfect score on, class forums, and homework that is automatically graded.

Really, no comparison.

I love that Stanford, MIT and others make their education available for everyone online. Unfortunately, I'm finding it really hard these days to follow along with a course, as opposed to following my own pace using whatever other materials. So it's kind of annoying because the courses are pretty current/relevant, but working full-time, etc doesn't always allow for following along with a course.

Check http://www.saylor.org . IIRC their courses allow you to go at your own pace. They offer many courses including but not limited to CS ones, and seem to use Khan Academy / OCW material.

That looks great. Thanks a lot!

I like the self-paced Udacity model. I think courses "debut" one week at a time (not sure about that part), but established courses can be done in chunks of a few minutes over whatever timespan you choose.

Does anyone know of similar courses for designers?

There is a Coursera course on design from UPenn (starting Oct 22): https://www.coursera.org/course/design

This is great. Looking forward to more advanced topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering. To my knowledge only Coursera provides some of this, with Computer Architecture coming up.

It would be sweet to get some serious Digital Electronics/VLSI and Integrated Circuits courses!

edX offer a course on Circuits and Eletronics. https://www.edx.org/courses/MITx/6.002x/2012_Fall/about I started last spring, but didn't finished because was a bit hard and time demanding.

A question for someone in the know that see this.

Are these qualifications the sort of thing you could include in a CV?

Being only 9 months in my first IT job it looks pretty bare right now, in need of padding.


Direct link to the set of courses: http://www.stanford.edu/online/courses/index.html

How are those with full time jobs managing to find time to take part in these courses?

Sweet. Signed up for Startup Boards: Advanced Entrepreneurship

just as a caution, comic sans should not be used on a resume. LOL. nice stuff.fonts sure do have a personality.

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