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Stanford's Free Computer Science Courses

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the get-your-learn-on dept.

Education 161

mikejuk writes "Stanford University is offering the online world more of its undergraduate level CS courses. These free courses consist of You Tube videos with computer-marked quizzes and programming assignments. The ball had been started rolling by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig's free online version of their Stanford AI class, for which they hoped to reach an audience in the order of a hundred thousand, a target which they seem to have achieved. As well as the previously announced Machine learning course you can now sign up to any of: Computer Science 101, Software as a Service, Human-Computer Interaction, Natural Language Processing, Game Theory, Probabilistic Graphical Models, Cryptography and Design and Analysis of Algorithms. Almost a complete computer science course and they are adding more. Introductory videos and details are available from each courses website."

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Future of education (5, Insightful)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153932)

With the power of the internet and technology rapidly replacing traditional classrooms and workplaces, this seems to be the most cost effective and efficient way to educate those who are young. When employment is no longer an incentive for going to college, we have to find ways to provide education or our entire country (And the world) will suffer when we have a nation of troglodytes.

Re:Future of education (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153978)

That will happen just after social networking replaces meeting people in bars

Re:Future of education (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154314)

That will happen just after social networking replaces meeting people in bars

That's already happened, sometime early in 2009.

Where you been?

Re:Future of education (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154764)

In a bar, wondering why he's not meeting people.

Re:Future of education (5, Funny)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154560)

If going to bars leaves you 100k in debt and bereft of any employment opportunities, you're either doing it wrong, or doing it very, very right...

Re:Future of education (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154604)

$100k? You're doing it wrong if you're going $100k into debt. It hasn't been that long since I graduated and I was only looking at a fraction of that. Most recently I spent a year at grad school for under $5k for all school related expenses.

Re:Future of education (1)

LeanSystems (2513566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154858)

From utexas.edu [utexas.edu] :

Estimated Total Cost of Undergraduate Education (Fall 2010 - Spring 2011)

Texas resident on-campus $23,596 - 24,936
Texas resident off-campus $23,734 - 25,074
Non-resident on-campus $35,776 - 45,960
Non-resident off-campus $35,914 - 46,098

This is a tax-supported state school, although probably one of the more expensive ones.

$13K per year for public college/university (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155056)

From utexas.edu [utexas.edu] :

Estimated Total Cost of Undergraduate Education (Fall 2010 - Spring 2011) Texas resident on-campus $23,596 - 24,936 Texas resident off-campus $23,734 - 25,074 Non-resident on-campus $35,776 - 45,960 Non-resident off-campus $35,914 - 46,098

This is a tax-supported state school, although probably one of the more expensive ones.

"In 2011-12, public four-year colleges charge, on average, $8,244 in tuition and fees for in-state students. The average surcharge for full-time out-of-state students at these institutions is $12,526. Private nonprofit four-year colleges charge, on average, $28,500 per year in tuition and fees."
http://www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/add-it-up/4494.html [collegeboard.com]

I can't find the link right now but when room and board is considered I believe the average cost of a 4-year college or university is $13 per year.

Re:$13K per year for public college/university (1)

blueturffan (867705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155888)

I can't find the link right now but when room and board is considered I believe the average cost of a 4-year college or university is $13 per year.

13 bucks? Dang...I overpaid.

Re:$13K per year for public college/university (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156222)

I can't find the link right now but when room and board is considered I believe the average cost of a 4-year college or university is $13 per year.

13 bucks? Dang...I overpaid.

They left out the coffee breaks.

Re:Future of education (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155876)

Meeting a woman in a bar can easily have such consequences.

Re:Future of education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156262)

At the end of my last 'relationship', the stress cost me my job, and the court made me wrote a $90,000 check. Getting nicked for $100k would be pretty easy to exceed. of course if ya don't marry them, it significantly reduces your financial exposure. I can see where there is room to argue I didn't "do it the right way".

high edu should not be a piece of paper to get a j (2, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154058)

high edu should not be a piece of paper to get a job and even then lot's of IT jobs need more hands on learning and less class room theory!

Re:high edu should not be a piece of paper to get (3, Interesting)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156532)

I find it a little ironic that your error-ridden post advocates less classroom theory. "lot's" doesn't mean anything and should be "lots"; it's "hands-on", not "hands on"; it's "classroom", not "class room"; and your statement should really be two sentences, rather than one with two halves smashed together with an "and" thrown between.

(To be clear, I'm not judging the content of your post--I don't have enough experience with IT education to pass judgement--I'm just commenting on its irony.)

Re:Future of education (5, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154216)

Employment should have never been the incentive for going to college. Learning should have been.

Of course, it's hard to feel bed for someone who can't get a job based on their BA degree in 'History', or 'art lit'.

Seriously, their great programs, but how many time have you seen 'History' major wanted listed on craigslist?

Re:Future of education (2)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154252)

Personally, I wouldn't want someone with a high school diploma or GED designing the buildings I live and work in.

But with concern to many things... yes, a degree should not be a requirement, and I have no idea what these people thought they were going to do with their lives and their loan debt.

Re:Future of education (3, Insightful)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155282)

That's what licensing is for. If they're properly licensed to do the job, does it matter whether they went to learn?

Re:Future of education (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155798)

"Personally, I wouldn't want someone with a high school diploma or GED designing the buildings I live and work in"

If they can do the job better than someone with a doctorate (not at all unlikely if they've been working in the industry the whole time and studying with passion in their spare time, as is common in IT), you should.

Re:Future of education (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154702)

The CIA regularly hires history majors.

Re:Future of education (2)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155324)

The CIA regularly hires history majors.

I attend a university with a particularly strong liberal arts program. Nearly all of my friends who were liberal arts majors (and graduated within the past 5 years) have been quickly scooped up by various government agencies in Washington.

Re:Future of education (3, Funny)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155724)

That's because no one else will hire them.

All degree holders are employable (4, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155122)

Of course, it's hard to feel bed for someone who can't get a job based on their BA degree in 'History', or 'art lit'. Seriously, their great programs, but how many time have you seen 'History' major wanted listed on craigslist?

All degree holders are employable, just not necessarily in their fields of study. I once sat in on a presentation named something like careers for history majors. Basically the speaker said that many jobs require a 4-year degree, any degree will do. Typically these are entry level managements jobs.

Keep in mind that while a degree demonstrates some level of knowledge in a particular field, it also demonstrates the ability to complete a long, boring and bureaucratic process. There is value in the later.

Re:All degree holders are employable (4, Interesting)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155742)

I think it's just an easy way for the HR people to say, "Yep, Sally can read, write, and do basic math. We know because she has a college degree." It's a hell of a lot easier than testing everyone who applies. Thanks to the modern public school system using "social promotion" and graduating everyone who doesn't drop out, employers have no idea who they're looking at when you walk in the door. Years ago, a high school diploma actually meant something. Nowadays, in the spirit of "inclusiveness" and self-esteem-masturbation, the standards have fallen far from where they were, say, 50 years ago. If you need proof, try reading a book written in the 1800s. The grammar and vocabulary was far more complex. What we now call "college-level reading" was 6th-grade material back then.

Re:All degree holders are employable (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155848)

Employers also get a huge number of applicants. Quickly reducing that number by simple filtering-- degree, certs, etc-- narrows the list quite a bit.

Re:All degree holders are employable (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156560)

If you need proof, try reading a book written in the 1800s.

Several problems with that. Firstly, books were much more expensive to print, which acted on a filter on quality. Secondly, less well educated people simply couldn't read. Thirdly, and most importantly by a very long way:

All the completely crap books from the 1800s have ended up in the obscurity they deserve, whereas you can see the crap books from late 2011 on the bookshelves right now.

Time is an amazing filter of quality.

Re:Future of education (2, Interesting)

Somecallmechief (1103905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154714)

In my opinion, education falls into one of two buckets: either you espouse to the Social Security mentality in which someone else is "solving the problem" or you are proactively engaged in "solving the problem" for yourself. It's unfortunate that at a societal level the evaluation of an individual's of education operates out of a black box not dissimilar to the evaluation of an individual's credit score. The solution isn't necessarily to make it easier to validate input/output from the black box. Rather, we can employ other methodologies for validating individual aptitude. The question is fundamentally about hiring. It is true that the process of studying and obtaining a degree from specific institutions for specific fields has a measurable, objective, and positive outcome for a limited number of students; however, this is by far the edge case. With limited exceptions, doctors, lawyers and politicians climb into careers without formal training and nationally accepted stamps of approval on degrees. But this is the edge. In reality, there is very little business value in even including a degree criteria for job positioning/hiring. It deters those who are qualified but do not hold a degree, and it does nothing to guarantee even a low bar for the work ethic, aptitude or drive of the applicant. Nothing matters more than the answers to these questions: "What do you know?", "How long have you known it?" and "How have you employed that knowledge?". While Stanford's experiment is great, it is no better than than the Khan Academy or any other resource which disseminates knowledge--and the output is the same: the individual's who devote themselves to the task of learning will derive benefit, but that outcome is wholly unquantifiable to employers evaluating applicants.

Re:Future of education (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155850)

It IS quantifiable if you can get a promotion due to it, or when you interview, or go for a certification.

Re:Future of education (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156256)

Who cares what employers think, the point of life is self-realization. Let the govt provide a basic income to all who want it, and encourage innovation through challenges. Relying on corporations to provide all the innovation is putting all your eggs in one basket. Corps don't do so well at disruptive innovation, they're better at incremental innovation. Free up ppl to unleash their disruptively creative instincts by guaranteeing them a minimum standard of living, and the pace of knowledge advancement and technological progress will increase, and the currency will stay strong no matter how much money we create.

Re:Future of education (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154992)

With the power of the internet and technology rapidly replacing traditional classrooms and workplaces, this seems to be the most cost effective and efficient way to educate those who are young. When employment is no longer an incentive for going to college, we have to find ways to provide education or our entire country (And the world) will suffer when we have a nation of troglodytes.

The AI course is boring as hell. It's not at all remotely what I expect from an Engineering curriculum in lectures. It's extremely weak. If that's the idea of the future of education than we're screwing ourselves out of the future. The Lectures via YouTube should be an extension, not the end game, when it comes to teaching.

Re:Future of education (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155102)

I think you didn't watch the video where it said the classes were meant to excite people into learning and using that branch of computer science.

It's an introduction to Artificial Intelligence. I guess you find the book boring as hell too, right?

Re:Future of education (2)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156320)

Shouldn't an introduction that is supposed to excite people into learning be, you know, not boring?

Physics aren't particularly exciting either, but a while ago I watched videos of Walter Lewin's [mit.edu] physics lectures at MIT, and they were fantastic, to the point of making me want to learn physics even though I have at most a high-school level of physics and it's completely unrelated to what I am currently doing and what I'm planning to do in the future.

Re:Future of education (1)

worip (1463581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155832)

Education not just for the young ones, but cost effective continuous development for the older generation as well. Especially useful in rapidly evolving fields.

free (0)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153940)

now if only they would start giving free degrees... then people couldn't complain when they ended up w/McJobs

-I'm just sayin'

Re:free (2)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154670)

That, or McJobs will start requiring degrees.

Re:free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155502)

This is already on the way. I had a twenty year career in IT, careening from position to position based on nothing more than a willingness and ability to learn new things. Now I can't even get people to interview me, because anything they don't say I'm overqualified for requires a degree, which I never bothered with. More fool me, I suppose, but given that most IT jobs don't really require (or often utilize) a CS degree, it's clear to me that the requirement for a degree has become a function of how many resumes have them, rather than whether they indicate readiness to perform a task.

AI Class (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153942)

I'm taking the AI class right now. While there are constraints on the complexity of questions they can ask and what they can expect to teach online, it's still very interesting. At the very least it presents an involved beginners guide as a starting point in this field.

I've never taken any other online courses, but having quizes mixed into the lectures is a really good idea. Makes you really think about the material as you are going through it.

Re:AI Class (5, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154162)

I'm taking all three courses being offered right now: AI, machine learning, and intro to databases. The AI class uses its own unique software platform, while the other two share one (which will presumably be used for most or all of next quarter's classes).

I like the other two much better than the AI class for several reasons: first, because they make those mid-lecture quizzes optional and also allow the lectures to be downloaded instead of streamed. Second, I like how, unlike the AI class, the other two have actual programming exercises. Third, I like how the homework questions for the other two are presented in a normal web form format (whereas the AI class "homeworks" require you to watch a video of the instructor reading the questions) and also allow multiple submissions.

Re:AI Class (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154220)

By the way, as a concrete example of what I dislike about the AI class: we just took the midterm (I got a 96%!), and I'm trying to find out which of the 15 questions I missed. To do so, I have to go re-stream each question video in turn until I figure out which one I got wrong.

In contrast, when I took the database class midterm, immediately upon submitting the web form containing my answers, I was served a page containing my score, the questions, my responses, and an explanation of each -- in a few kB of HTML, not a tedious half-hour of video.

Re:AI Class (5, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154274)

To do so, I have to go re-stream each question video in turn until I figure out which one I got wrong.

No you don't. Click the "Progress" navbar link. Click Homework / Exams. Click the right-pointing arrow on the left edge of the Midterm header to expand a list of questions and how many sub-questions you got correct out of the number possible. Say you missed a part on Question 01. Click the Question 01 link. It will take you directly to the answer page and show your wrong answers in red.

I only got a 91%, but seem to have scored higher on the "using the web interface" section. ;-)

Re:AI Class (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154430)

Hey, thanks!

Of course, having to stream those videos to answer homework or exam questions is still a pain in the ass the first time around.

Re:AI Class (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154626)

Yeah, I've switched to using Safari's Activity monitor to identify the .flv file, option-double-clicking to download the file, and moving onto the next lecture as soon as the download starts. Then there's a bit of tedious re-naming of the files, but once I finish, I have nicely labeled .flv files I can quickly review / fast forward / rewind / whatnot.

The only things I lack are answer videos. I'm thinking of going back and grabbing them, but it's still slightly time-consuming and not always useful.

Re:AI Class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154698)

You can just click the ? at the end of the video links to go straight to the questions. I'll agree the overall interface needs improvement, but I found this a useful shortcut.

Re:AI Class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155066)

Well, you don't have to restream. Go the Progress page and you will see which questions you did not score and you can click on those questions to see your wrong answer choices.

Re:AI Class (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155962)

To do so, I have to go re-stream each question video in turn until I figure out which one I got wrong.

No you don't. Click the question mark next to the video link on the Course page in the Available Units list and it'll take you right to the question. You can also skip the quizzes by clicking on the link to the next video.

Re:AI Class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156314)

Congratulations on your 96%!! I guess you're really good at guessing what's in the closed fist of the teacher, solving problems that have already been solved!

Re:AI Class (1)

nzhavok (254960) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154408)

Also taking all three courses and I pretty much agree with what you have to say.

The downloadable vids from the ML and DB courses are nice to have perpetually and also it's quicker to zip around in VLC than to stream it if you're looking for something in a hurry. The assignments in each are also pretty cool, much better than the AI quizzes IMO.

I think that Peter Norvig's position at Google may have something to do with the AI courses preference for Google based solutions over the bespoke ones used for the other classes. I plan on taking the Lean Launchpad [launchpad-class.org] next year and it will be interesting to see how the system works with a non-technical subject where anything except a multi-choice quiz seems difficult to mark.

Re:AI Class (1)

Sipper (462582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155728)

I'm taking all three classes also, and like you I greatly prefer the Database and Machine Learning classes over the AI class.

In DB and ML I can download the videos and watch them locally. I can download the notes, which are available as PDFs (as well as other formats). I can either download the exercises, the software to do the work locally, or can save the web page locally from the completed exercises. This means that for the ML and DB classes, I can easily create a complete local record of my work. [The only exception is the "screenside chat" in the DB class, but I don't think I'll need to refer to that later, so I think that's fine.] The DB and ML classes seem very well thought out and I honestly have nothing but praise for them.

But in the AI class there aren't any notes available, so the way I have to make notes is by making screenshots. That may sound reasonable but it's not as simple as that. In the AI class, both presenters are making video of paper they're writing onto, and constantly waving a pen above the page in the video, making it tricky to find a place the video can be stopped. The videos are embedded YouTube videos, and it takes about 2 seconds for the video to actually stop once the pause button has been pressed, and once it pauses the controls come up and cover up the bottom part of the video. And if the end of the video is reached, the next video starts to play automatically. It's also possible to open each video in it's own separate page and view them on YouTube directly, but then there are too many clicks to get to the next video, so I end up using the embedded version. In short -- it's damn annoying. So I like the material in the AI class, but I don't like the mechanics of what I have to go through for interacting with the website to get it.

In addition, the AI class constantly ambushes the student with questions that have not yet been covered, and then cover the material afterward. Ugh. That's frustrating. That's a teaching method I call "here's what I should have taught you before asking you this question", or if I were less generous, "here's why you're wrong." It's not a good method of teaching, IMHO.

Some of the questions in the DB and ML class can be quite tricky, but they're actually fun to work through, and if you get stuck both classes have a Forum to get help from other students, which the AI class also lacks. The end result is that the DB and ML classes guide you and make a helping hand available, where the AI class asks questions and informs you later, and leaves you on your own.

So while it would sound like these three classes were equal, they're not. ;-)

Now -- all that said, my praises go to the four professors of these classes for making them available for free.
I'm getting a good bit out of these classes, and it's a lot of stuff that I wouldn't normally get to take because I was an Engineering major rather than a CS major.

Re:AI Class (2)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156018)

In addition, the AI class constantly ambushes the student with questions that have not yet been covered, and then cover the material afterward. Ugh. That's frustrating. That's a teaching method I call "here's what I should have taught you before asking you this question", or if I were less generous, "here's why you're wrong." It's not a good method of teaching, IMHO.

I have to disagree with this. It's more of a Socratic method than anything else, and I haven't seen any unreasonable questions. Personally, I love it -- the quizzes are a good focus to get me thinking about a problem, and when I'm wrong it clears up misconceptions a lot faster than the lectures do. You can always skip them and come back to them, and they don't count toward the final grade. They're also good for practice and reviews. There's no downside to having them. I suspect a lot of people (not necessarily you) are frustrated because they don't really have the background for the course -- one of those "90% of people think they're above average" problems.

Re:AI Class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156450)

I'm taking machine learning and I must say it is very good. So good I wonder why they giving it for free.

Well, how about reading up on it first? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153946)

This course is already over. Thanks Slasdot,

Re:Well, how about reading up on it first? (3, Informative)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154004)

Registration for the current AI course is closed, but I'm sure they'll be running it again. Also you can see the lectures on youtube.

Amazing Stuff (5, Insightful)

hellkyng (1920978) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153960)

This is the way education should be, available to anyone with an interest. MIT has a similar program with content freely available I believe: http://ocw.mit.edu/ [mit.edu] . IMHO this is what libraries will eventually evolve into. This type of knowledge sharing is the root of a libraries books are about, and getting that content from the expert source in the field is hard to beat. Definitely cool stuff.

Re:Amazing Stuff (3, Informative)

fliptout (9217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154022)

The last time I looked, MIT does not have lectures online. On the other hand, all the free (and not free) Stanford lectures I've seen have been wonderful.

Re:Amazing Stuff (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154234)

MIT has some lectures online. For example, Gilbert Strang's excellent linear algebra video lectures are available, as well as some other classes he's taught.

Re:Amazing Stuff (4, Informative)

angry tapir (1463043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154250)

MIT has videos of lectures online [mit.edu] . But unlike Stanford it's more a "work at your own pace" style thing instead of actually signing up for a course.

Re:Amazing Stuff (2)

pz (113803) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154924)

And it was all started by ArsDigita University way back when.

Re:Amazing Stuff (1)

Jeheto (1414993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154880)

I've actually been taking their intro level programming class. http://academicearth.org/courses/introduction-to-computer-science-and-programming [academicearth.org] I have tried to learn programming a few times before through sites like cprogramming.com, but there's just so much jargon to wade through. This course has made it much easier to grasp some of the fundamentals. I will say though, it isn't perfect. If I get stuck on a problem and Google can't help I have to post to a forum and wait for a few days, trading information back and forth with someone who knows what they're doing. Also, there's no answer key for assignments.

Best place to get info FAST (2)

gislifb (1979154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155012)

IRC!
If I'm totally lost on some problem I open IRC (freenode-server) and usually it takes less than 15 minutes to get an answer and a solution.

Re:Best place to get info FAST (1)

Jeheto (1414993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155124)

Hmm... I will look into this.

Re:Amazing Stuff (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154078)

The difference between these classes and MIT's OpenCourseware is that these classes have a schedule with assignments and grades.

For many people, such as procrastinators and those motivated by competing with the other students (since participants get a class ranking at the end), that makes a huge difference.

Re:Amazing Stuff (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154224)

Yes, but right now Stanford is pwning MIT with online class offering. Come on MIT, step it up!

Re:Amazing Stuff (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154720)

That might work well for some subjects and some students, but it's naive to say the least to suggest that this is likely to be a viable replacement of the educational system any time soon.

The reason it's far off isn't the means of communicating it, it's the students, the students haven't evolved to the point where they don't need a teacher or at least a tutor at most points of the process. Sure there are a few that don't need any help at all, but there's little to no evidence to suggest that they're the status quo.

Re:Amazing Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155462)

As someone who is signed up for both AI and ML, I second that. There is a lot of online study material out there, but what sets these classes apart is the quality and accessibility of the material. I am truly enjoying the experiment and looking forward to a continuation. Many thanks to Stanford and all involved!

Virtual Learning (1)

byteherder (722785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153974)

You get all the knowledge of a Stanford CS graduate without having to spend 4 years in Palo Alto.

Re:Virtual Learning (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154712)

Minus the piece of paper that says you graduated from Stanford (which is why most people go to college these days).

Re:Virtual Learning (1)

knuthin (2255242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154754)

There are limits to the complexity of the questions asked, as pointed out by someone before. You won't be having "all the knowledge", but it's a nice place to start with.

Re:Virtual Learning (1)

DrEasy (559739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156150)

You're still missing out on the course projects, which are probably the most valuable piece. The Stanford students in the AI course get to work on programming projects, and they get evaluated on those by actual humans. Of course those projects are also available to you if you want to work on them on your own, but there's no actual incentive on finishing them, nor any interaction with other students or a TA.

Also, the machine learning course is a "dumbed down" version. The programming assignments are more of an exercise in manipulating matrices than in understanding the deeper mechanics of machine learning. The same prof teaches a much nicer one in person (material is available online though), but it requires math baggage that most people registered to the online course won't have.

I think the database course is the big winner so far. It is very well taught, and is challenging enough to keep you interested.

In any case, kudos to all the instructors for their time and effort.

Credit (3, Insightful)

Niris (1443675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154010)

Now I just wish they'd find a way to make it possible to receive credit in those courses. Would be great to substitute one of the lower core CSCI courses with an online version from Stanford.

Re:Credit (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154146)

You can receive credit. Look into Stanford Center for Professional Development @ http://scpd.stanford.edu/.

NOTE: This cost 4k+ per 4 unit course.

Re:Credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38156132)

They *must* be **nutz** to pay so much!

I'm confused. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154096)

I can't find the P.E. or the basket weaving courses anywhere.

Re:I'm confused. (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154770)

I can't find the P.E. or the basket weaving courses anywhere.

I believe the basket weaving courses are in the anthropology department.
As for Penis Enlargement, there are lots of "courses" available on the Internet.

A step on the good direction. (5, Insightful)

Ardyvee (2447206) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154136)

I believe this will be helpful for many that are willing to learn but can't go to a university (for a variety of reasons). Teenagers that want to go ahead and learn more and faster than what their high-school teaches them will be able to do so, at a low cost. Those who simply want to expand their knowledge will also be able to do so at a low cost and in a flexible time.

Re:A step on the good direction. (3, Interesting)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154482)

I twisted my office mate's arm to take the Database course. He's a web designer with a print layout background, and has been trying to get into programming to expand career options (he's maxed out as a designer).

The class has been hugely challenging and rewarding for him - he's not had math above Algebra II before, and that was over 30 years ago, so it's hard, but he is starting to truly understand SQL instead of just guessing, and he's understanding the concepts of abstract types, formal grammars, and so on.

Really a tremendous improvement over the video lectures and static course materials offered from other online courses. The quizzes and interactive exercises are superb. I can't say enough about the class, and will be bashing his head in to take the intro to CS class.

Re:A step on the good direction. (1)

gajop (1285284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155866)

It's more than that I believe. I'm currently enrolled at a masters degree level at the university, having 5 classes to do with AI (data mining, neural networks, fuzzy systems, semantic web and genetic algorithms), having also completed "basics of AI" undergraduate course.

However, I'm still taking both Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Stanford classes, because they tend to focus on things we aren't doing much (and vice versa). Admittedly, I mostly dropped Artificial Intelligence since I own and read the book, and since the class doesn't feel worth the time with so many calculations going on (the probability part requires you to spend 50% of time doing calculations, which isn't hard, but just takes time -> it should be a part of Probability 101 not Intro to AI).

The Machine Learning class is amazing though, in particular the extra insight professor Ng gives when describing algorithms and their usage, as well as the great learning system (review questions and most importantly programming tasks). Also Machine Learning tends to focus on giving you actual knowledge, rather than trying to test you accurately - good tests that rank students are important for classic studies where diplomas and thus scores are the end goal, which is not the case of online courses, which should be about learning.

Transfer Credit (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154156)

Has anyone had any success using these for course credit at another university?

Re:Transfer Credit (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154258)

Nobody's actually finished a class yet (they only started doing it this quarter, which isn't over until December -- the two classes with midterms just had them last week). Presumably, one would need to actually have received the certificate of completion before trying to use it to obtain credit.

Re:Transfer Credit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154404)

From the AI class:
Certification with Prof. Wolfram Burgard at the University of Freiburg
Irvin
- 11 days ago

An amazing opportunity to take the midterm and exam at the University of Freiburg and receive a certificate from Professor Wolfram Burgard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfram_Burgard [wikipedia.org] is now available. From their site http://www.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/~burgard/ai_exams/ [uni-freiburg.de] : If you will pass the exams, you will get a certificate (in German: Schein) signed by Prof. Wolfram Burgard that you have passed the exam of the course and that this is equivalent to the AI course at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Freiburg. Typically, German and many international Universities accept such a certificate. If you would like to take part in the exams at the University of Freiburg, please write an e-mail to Prof. Dr. Burgard with the subject "Stanford AI Course Exam Registration" to enroll: burgard@informatik.uni-freiburg.de Visit http://www.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/~burgard/ai_exams/ [uni-freiburg.de] for more details.

(Ed: You had to travel to Germany to take the exam to get the certificate. No such opportunity presented itself with the other two classes.)

100,000? (2)

Tasha26 (1613349) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154282)

I submitted some of the homeworks close to the deadline hour and even then the Youtube videos registered at most 3000 views and am guessing the average is 2000 views.

Re:100,000? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154354)

If you view the video from AI-class.com, does it get counted on YouTube?

(And I didn't think the videos allowed answering the homework/quiz questions when viewed on YouTube anyway...)

Re:100,000? (3, Interesting)

Tasha26 (1613349) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154394)

It's just like posting a Youtube video in Facebook or embedding it in a blog. Those views get counted too. Also the more ambiguous the video, the higher is its view count!

Re:100,000? (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154488)

Also the more ambiguous the video, the higher is its view count!

LOL! That's a great observation; I hope they use that to help evaluate their lecture quality.

Now, here's a question: is the view count heuristic admissible? ; )

Re:100,000? (1)

ElKry (1544795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154516)

It is, as it never overestimates the real cost.

Re:100,000? (1)

nzhavok (254960) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154504)

I noticed that too. The later midterm questions for AI had < 1000 views, so I can't see how they would come close to this number.

The DB class midterm stats showed about 9k students had sat it at 2:25 [youtube.com] , I suppose there may have been a lot more enrolled in the "basic" stream.

Re:100,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155450)

Youtube videos registered at most 3000 views

As discussed on aiqus [aiqus.com] , the YouTube video counts are likely very low: 40,000 users completed the first four homework assignments. One commenter claims that YouTube doesn't count embedded videos that are set to play automatically, as the class site does.

entrepreneurship classes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154558)

These might also be of interest:
http://www.venture-class.org/
http://www.launchpad-class.org/

There's also a Civ E and a EE class.

How about free classes? (1)

mmontuori (2508452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154646)

I personally think videos are not that good compared to classes. TO really make a difference, they should start offering free classes.
http://www.montuori.net/ [montuori.net]

Harvard's History Courses (1, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154776)

I taught myself CS better than Stanford teaches, and I expect many others can do so, too.

What I can't do myself is teach myself history as well as it's taught by Harvard to the people who go out and run the world. When does that go online? And not some faked version for the masses - the same version that Harvard grads learned and were graded on.

Re:Harvard's History Courses (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155274)

The Teaching Company sells DVDs and audio CDs of various star lecturers [thegreatcourses.com] from campuses across the country. No assignments or tests, just lectures. They have a rotating sale policy so that in practical terms, their customers are only expected to buy items on sale, at prices which work out to about $3/hr for audio and $5/hr for video lectures. Some of the courses are quite good - to start out, I would recommend any of Kenneth Harl's courses on ancient and medieval Greece/Rome/Asia Minor.

Yeah, they're not free, but still quite a bargain compared to registering for a course at a local university - and there's no commuting hassle.

bang toysmall (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155080)

Want your child to be brighter?
Thomas Train is your best choose!
What are you waiting for?
There is a big discount today, Just go to www.bangtoysmall.com and take one!

Chinese Barbie as Christmas gift (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155114)

many bang toys you will find on http://www.bangtoysmall.com

crypto class link is broken (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155314)

The link to the crypto class sends you to www.cs101-class.org. You have to guess the real url, www.crypto-class.org.

Re:crypto class link is broken (1)

GenSolo (444636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155636)

There is also a link at the bottom of the cs101 page that takes you to the real crypto class page.

Re:crypto class link is broken (1)

slinches (1540051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155638)

Are you sure the link is broken? Maybe it's the first lesson; security by obscurity doesn't work.

Re:crypto class link is broken (1)

mikejuk (1801200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156430)

Yes it was the test you had to pass to get into the class... but now you have blown it by going public it has been corrected!

Yup, and more... QM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155586)

Actually, this is way better than being in a lecture hall, trying to learn on a schedule. I have been watching Leonard Susskind's lectures on Quantum Mechanics. I found I needed to review a few things, then decided to drop back to the Quantum Entanglements class first. Grabbed a notebook, and now I have about 10 pages of notes on that.

Rewind and pause are amazing. As is the ability to use my android to watch the lectures on the bus, going back and forth to work.

The irony (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155762)

Schools practically invented the internet, yet they seem to be the last ones to embrace it for actually teaching students. With today's technology, an entire class should be able to interact with an instructor in completely online sessions. Imagine going to school without having to leave the house. Some schools (like U of Phoenix) offer degrees but for only a very few majors. And then they get ridiculed for not being "a real school". WTF?

Tips for Stanford - redo for online (1)

cliffjumper222 (229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155840)

I just watched a number of the course previews for a variety of the online professional development courses from Stanford as I was seriously thinking about doing one of their certificates. I also checked out ClassX, which has some classes on it. I'm having second thoughts because I fear I'll be bored to death by the experience. I've been out of university almost 20 years, but it's clear that they haven't changed much and the flow of information from instructor to student is agonizingly slow. Maybe I'm spoiled, but these lectures are essentially academic death-by-powerpoint experiences or even worse, death-by-writing ... very .... slowly ... on ... the board experiences. Just taking a Standford (or any other) lecture, slapping it on the web and putting even a fancy control UI like ClassX has is just not good enough. I think the courses have to be completely redone with online learning in mind. And if they were really well done, then I'd bet lectures would end up being the *last* place you'd want to go to for the course.

Here's some tips for improving on the online UI experience (for Stanford people if they read this):

1. Add a Skip Forward 30s/Back 10s control, because the instructor often dithers around on non-educational topics.(Copy Tivo/Dish/etc.)
2. Enable the video to be viewed faster than real time. I can easily process 2x speech or higher and the instructors often speak slowly. There's no need to force onliners to listen at 1:1. (Like Livescribe Pen desktop playback or software DVD players)
3. Have the instructor repeat the comment/question from the audience for the microphone - it's a classic problem, but they need to do it.
4. Add in chapters for each topic - this will enable us to skip to the next point/slide should the instructor belabor the point - okay I get it! (Livescribe pen / available on some ClassX content)
5. A number of times, the instructors mentioned how questions couldn't be asked by the online participants, but this isn't true. If the video is surrounded with a forum UI then viewers will easily be able to ask questions and a TA or the Professor can answer later - or other students could. (Like Hulu/YouTube/etc) Partially implemented.
6. Allow bookmarking/resume on the videos because it'd be really useful (like BBC iPlayer/Hulu)

Maybe Stanford's real online system has these functions, but if not, they should. Based on the cost of the courses, you'd think they could have a decent system banged out pronto.

Cliff

Too bad the courses are crap (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156044)

I am a physics student, so none of this is directly my field. But we have a lot of computer-related courses here, so I decided to improve upon them and started watching Machine Learning. The videos were interesting, although their level was more suitable for high school, but I thought that's just for the intros.

Then the first assignment came. I wrote a blog post [noughmad.com] comparing this course with another one at my university (of Ljubljana, Slovenia). Basically, the assignment from Stanford was 15 pages of instructions to write four lines of code. Yes, you read that right: all the framework code was there, all I had to do was write a linear function in Octave. On the other hand, Slovene physics student are expected to produce all their own code, and around 10 pages of reports with graphs and formulas, every week. And we only get one page of instructions, specifying only the problem, and leaving the tool and the solutions to the students. Both assignments are linked to in the blog post.

Seeing the course takes too much time to read through and doesn't teach me anything, I quit after the second assignment. Maybe it got harder since then, but I didn't really have time to check.

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