Tuesday, March 26, 2013

First MOOC experiences: edX and Coursera

I have just completed a Coursera course on Philosophy run by the University of Edinburgh, and an edX course on statistics titled "Stat2.1x: Introduction to Statistics: Descriptive Statistics", which was run by Berkeley . Of the two platforms, edX (a collaboration between MIT, Harvard and Berkeley) appears to have the upper hand, but the margins are close. It was clear that a lot of thought had gone into the structure of the statistics module more and the course professor, Anil Adhikari, cannot be praised highly enough for cutting through the statistical fog with crystal clear explanations. The tests and mid-term and final exams were also perfectly pitched. The downside is the range of course offerings is much smaller than Coursera, which is adding courses by the month. All in all, both are very good and are developing nicely.

In terms of time requirement, some of these courses can be very demanding if you have a full-time job. Because of the discipline required I'd recommend not choosing modules that you want to "know" but instead pick a module that you want to "learn". There is a subtle difference and thinking about this should help in selecting courses you are more likely to give a proper shot at completing.

Oh, MOOC by the way, stands for mass open on-line course. To give an idea of the "mass", the courses I signed up to had a collective intake of over 100k students.

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