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Free online courses on AI, databases and machine learning

Free online courses on AI, databases and machine learning

Tim Finin, 12:32am 16 August 2011

Stanford is experimenting with an interesting idea — offering some of their most popular undergraduate computer science courses online for free and simultaneously with their regular offerings. An AI course was announced several weeks ago and now there are similar offerings for databases and machine learning. These are taught by first rate instructors (who are also top researchers!) and are the same courses that Stanford students take.

  • “A bold experiment in distributed education, “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” will be offered free and online to students worldwide during the fall of 2011. The course will include feedback on progress and a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, the curriculum draws from that used in Stanford’s introductory Artificial Intelligence course. The instructors will offer similar materials, assignments, and exams.”
  • “A bold experiment in distributed education, “Introduction to Databases” will be offered free and online to students worldwide during the fall of 2011. Students will have access to lecture videos, receive regular feedback on progress, and receive answers to questions. When you successfully complete this class, you will also receive a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Professor Jennifer Widom, the curriculum draws from Stanford’s popular Introduction to Databases course.”
  • “A bold experiment in distributed education, “Machine Learning” will be offered free and online to students worldwide during the fall of 2011. Students will have access to lecture videos, lecture notes, receive regular feedback on progress, and receive answers to questions. When you successfully complete the class, you will also receive a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Professor Andrew Ng, the curriculum draws from Stanford’s popular Machine Learning course.”

If successful, this might be a game changer. Two weeks after the online AI course was announced, 56,000 students had signed up! The approach might work for many disciplines, not just CS. The Kahn Academy is a related effort.

Universities should keep an eye on them and think about how to adapt if they are successful. Most of our students will probably benefit from taking our traditional courses. If so, we should be able to explain the benefits from taking them (and make sure we deliver those benefits). At the same time, we may want to leverage the online material from these courses in a synergistic way.


One Response to “Free online courses on AI, databases and machine learning”

  1. Geek Reading August 16, 2011 | Regular Geek Says:

    [...] Free online courses on AI, databases and machine learning [...]