Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Programming News

Stanford's Free Computer Science Courses 161

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-learn-on dept.
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Stanford's Free Computer Science Courses

Comments Filter:
  • by Azureflare (645778) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @07:39PM (#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.

    • 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!

      • by FrootLoops (1817694) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @06:08AM (#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.)

        • I liked the guy commenting on the usefulness of PhDs the other day using "then" instead of "than". Actually, I hated that, but I liked the irony.

        • by Terrasque (796014)

          I find it a little ironic that your smug-ridden post entirely fail to understand what the post you replied to were saying.

          First off, I would point out that "lot's" does indeed mean something, in this case it's of course a shorthand for "parking lot's" - which clearly shows that the author meant that today's education lacked enough knowledge and experience to fill several parking lot's.

          Further on, the gentleman was unambigiously also requesting a more educational focus on Hands-on computing [wikipedia.org], which is, regret

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            First off, I would point out that "lot's" does indeed mean something, in this case it's of course a shorthand for "parking lot's" - which clearly shows that the author meant that today's education lacked enough knowledge and experience to fill several parking lot's.

            From a purely grammatical point, "lots" would be the plural of "lot", so the second half of that statement is kind of amusing.

            The word "lot's" would have to be possessive ("that lot's grade runs downhill and to the left") or contractive ("that l

          • Hah, thank you for that. You've converted me--I clearly did not understand the original post.
        • "lot's" doesn't mean anything

          Sure it does:

          Lot's a word I use a lot.

          Makes perfect grammatical sense.

    • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:17PM (#38154216) Homepage Journal

      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?

      • by Calos (2281322)

        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.

        • by White Flame (1074973) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @11:46PM (#38155282)

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

        • Wow... I think I would want the person designing the buildings I live in and work in to have *at a minimum* a high school diploma or a GED. I'm fairly certain I would want them to have a university diploma in a related field as well. That, or at least have drawings signed off by somebody with the requisite training and certification.

          • by Calos (2281322)

            Haha, oops.

            We mean the same thing. I meant that I wouldn't want that person to just have a high school diploma or GED, that I would prefer a university as well.

            Too much implicit there. My bad.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        The CIA regularly hires history majors.

        • 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.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @06:55AM (#38156722) Journal
          You know the old saying: those who fail to learn from history are doomed to forever work in the private sector.
          • by tqk (413719)

            You know the old saying: those who fail to learn from history are doomed to forever work in the private sector.

            That's damned near the funniest, and most true, statement I've ever seen on /. Thanks. :-)

      • by perpenso (1613749) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @11:05PM (#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.

        • by scottbomb (1290580) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:16AM (#38155742) Journal

          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.

          • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:54AM (#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.

          • 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.

          • by FrootLoops (1817694) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @06:48AM (#38156702)

            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.

            Actually, you may have provided some proof yourself by implying that content in a 200-year-old book proves that standards have fallen in the last 50 years--unless you're in your seventies, I suppose.

            In all seriousness, though, I would like to see some proof that educational standards have dropped in the last 50 years

            I somewhat agree with your point about material from centuries ago, though it seems to me that rote memorization was much more common in the past. Many of the questions on this [typepad.com] purported "8th Grade Examination from late 1800's" are superficially impressive, but really amount to rather useless memorization:

            Give the epochs into which U. S. History is divided.
            Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall & Orinoco.

            The arithmetic section I linked mostly consists of unit conversions, which are again superficially impressive. In 8th grade my classmates were covering conic sections, which are less "mechanical" than plugging numbers in to conversion formulas, and I would say they're more difficult. Oddly enough, in this UPenn catalog [upenn.edu] from 1852, conic sections were a junior level (in college) topic. To be fair, that catalog also lists basic calculus (I imagine the equivalent of Calc 1 and 2) in addition to a dizzying number of topics on history, philosophy, Greek, Latin, "natural philosophy", and chemistry.

            Today, there's just far too much information to absorb. Learning how to understand things quickly as they come up is more important than memorizing small chunks of human knowledge, even if it's less impressive. Perhaps students in the past were more studious as well, though things aren't all bad.

        • by Xest (935314)

          "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."

          But anyone is capable of this, seriously.

          When the subject matter just requires you to be able to sit through a bunch of monotonous crap and just remember things then I don't think there really are many people who can't do this. There are a lot of students that go to uni purely for the lifestyle, and to

          • by epine (68316)

            But anyone is capable of this, seriously.

            Sure, any mature person basic literacy skills and an orderly life not overly afflicted with unique circumstance (the strange prevalence of rare illness in the long tail of evolutionary ferment). Other small advantages: ability to cope with independence, knowing what you want, a realistic model of your strengths/weaknesses, social hostility running from inetd rather than a daemon service, financial means to choose the right institution and setting, a learning style t

            • by epine (68316)

              Clarification: Bloom does not teach game theory; I skipped to a different experience.

          • by perpenso (1613749)

            "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."

            But anyone is capable of this, seriously.

            However some people have a hard time finishing what they start, even very gifted people. The key word in the earlier post is "complete". The college grad demonstrated the ability to finish what they start.

            There are a lot of students that go to uni purely for the lifestyle, and to avoid going straight into employment.

            Well in that case the grad has demonstrated the ability to find some balance between work and partying to the extent that they can perform to some minimum expected standard on the "work" side of life. That can also be of value to an employer. Its not like people who love to party stop because they get a jo

          • by tqk (413719)

            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 [latter].

            But anyone is capable of this, seriously.

            Not true. Boredom and stifling bureaucracy has hounded me all my life. I can't stand sitting in a lecture hall where the speaker's putting me to sleep. I far prefer to slide out to the library, or arts & crafts, or anything where I'd actually learn something of some value.

            A degree can also go some way to prove that the holder of it is partially an over-civilized sheep, one who can put up with pretty much anything and not complain. I seldom consider that kind of thinking virtuous. The situation won'

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

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

    • by tyrione (134248)

      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.

      • 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?

        • by mobby_6kl (668092)

          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.

    • by tqk (413719)

      ... this seems to be the most cost effective and efficient way to educate those who are young.

      To hell with the young. I'm over 50, and this looks damned attractive to me. With "Stanford Graduate" on my resume, I'll be unstoppable! Mwua, ha, ha, haaaa! :-)

      Seriously, there's a lot of support out there for the under 30 crowd. Not so much for us older folk. Ptheh.

  • AI Class (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @07:41PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:09PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:18PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

          by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:25PM (#38154274) Homepage Journal

          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. ;-)

          • 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: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              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.

        • by AdamHaun (43173)

          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.

      • by nzhavok (254960)
        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
      • by Sipper (462582)

        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. [T

        • by AdamHaun (43173)

          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 l

        • by stg (43177)

          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.

          While I still agree that PDF notes would be much better, any screenshot program that freezes the screen would solve most of your problem. I use Ashampoo Snap, and I still have to wait for the pen to be in a place that doesn't block anything, but it freezes the screen whenever I press the shortcut (then I can clip just what I want).

      • by stg (43177)

        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.

        I am taking the two AI classes, and I find that pretty annoying too. It also takes a lot more time than just reading the notes, and even worse - all the time they have to post corrections and clarification in text below the video, whereas they would just edit the question if it was in text format.

  • Amazing Stuff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hellkyng (1920978) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @07:42PM (#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 (Score:4, Informative)

      by fliptout (9217) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @07:50PM (#38154022) Homepage

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @07:58PM (#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.

    • by geekoid (135745)

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

    • by hedwards (940851)

      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 sta

  • You get all the knowledge of a Stanford CS graduate without having to spend 4 years in Palo Alto.
    • by Bucky24 (1943328)
      Minus the piece of paper that says you graduated from Stanford (which is why most people go to college these days).
    • by DrEasy (559739)

      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

  • Credit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Niris (1443675) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @07:47PM (#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 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:07PM (#38154146)

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

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:00PM (#38154096)

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

    • by alexo (9335)

      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.

  • by Ardyvee (2447206) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:06PM (#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.

    • by digsbo (1292334) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:51PM (#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.

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

  • by Tasha26 (1613349) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:26PM (#38154282) Homepage
    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.
    • 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...)

    • by nzhavok (254960)
      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.
  • 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.

  • The link to the crypto class sends you to www.cs101-class.org. You have to guess the real url, www.crypto-class.org.
    • by GenSolo (444636)

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

    • by slinches (1540051)

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

      • by mikejuk (1801200)
        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!
  • 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?

  • 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 spoil

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      I actually agree.... but... I think this is a great first step. This is new territory for them, and putting normal lectures to video is an easy way to start, that costs almost nothing.

      It is slow, I get you. I have been watching some of their "continuing ed" classes, Quantum Entanglements and Quantum Mechanics. Great stuff, but its even slower than normal undergrad.

      Anyway, yah, taped lectures kinda suck, but, at least there is pause, forward, rewind, and can be rewatched later, and can be watched on my sched

  • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Thursday November 24, 2011 @03:53AM (#38156044) Homepage

    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.

    • I don't know about the course, however when I did my degree, the courses tended to start out easy for the first few lectures/wuestions, then ramp up very quickly to being very hard. I would wait a bit before deciding to abandon the course.

      Also, courses are not always interleaved perfectly. Despite the course being designed as a coherent whole, the lecturer for a course on one topic may pitch it under the ending level for a course on a prerequisite (e.g. maths).

      BTW: to me, producing 10 pages of reports per w

    • That's a pretty unfair (and sloppy) comparison. These are introductory CS courses which, as a rule, are quite low-level, so they're accessible to many people from different majors. Your Model Analysis course presumably builds upon several years of other courses--at least, I would be quite impressed if the necessary calculus and Lagrangian mechanics were taught in standard high schools. By that point you expect more from students, and almost no non-physics majors would have the background to take the course,

    • by melted (227442)

      Yeah, that's why there are so many Nobel prize winners from Slovenia. Because your education system is superior.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Slovenian_Nobel_laureates [wikipedia.org]

      That guy's name doesn't sound too Slovenian to me. Oh, that's right, that's because he was born and educated in Austria!

      It's like in any other field: it's not what you have, it's what you do with it. There's very little that's new for me in ML class, but I'm taking it anyway as a refresher. It's been years since I've done anything ML r

  • by Spiked_Three (626260) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @04:05AM (#38156086)
    I quit after the first week.
    http://www.reddit.com/r/aiclass/comments/lm6c8/suggestion_for_the_teachers_teach_the_method_then/ [reddit.com]
    The teachers may be brilliant in their field, but they suck as educators.

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

Working...