Udacity Goodness

I’m running quite late today, but in the ten minutes I’ve got, I want to tell you about Udacity.

See, as I dive deeper and deeper into the AI rabbit-hole, I find more and more that I need to understand statistics. Only problem is, I remember almost nothing from my two stats classes in college, and the textbook was so mind-numbingly dull that I don’t fancy reading it again on my own. And of course, I don’t want to spend the money to take another college-level class on it.

What’s a guy have to do to get a free college education around here?

One answer is Udacity. It’s a site that offers online video-based classes, put together by real professors. You still get college-level content, complete with quizzes and tests, but you also get some advantages:

  • No time spent commuting to class.
  • Go at your own pace. Fast-forward through the stuff you already know, take a little extra time if you’re struggling.
  • Every couple of minutes, Udacity stops and asks you a question to make sure you understand what’s going on. This constant engagement seems to work a lot better at keeping students focused than a once-a-week quiz or homework assignment.
  • Super-smart instructors, many of whom work on advanced projects at Google. (There’s a class that explains how the Google self-driving car works!)
  • Free.

The disadvantages:

  • No college credit or degree. You’re gaining knowledge, not job-hire-ability.
  • The course catalog is pretty limited right now, and what they do have is heavily skewed toward computer science. If you want to learn about Russian literature, you’re out of luck – for now. They’re growing all the time, though.

Of course, I’ve only just started my first Udacity class, so I still have a lot to learn about them. And about statistics…

Have you done much online learning? What was your experience like?

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4 responses to “Udacity Goodness

  1. I’ve done some iTunes U stuff that’s pretty good.
    Currently I’m doing this: http://www.complexityexplorer.org
    Which might be right up your alley.

  2. I’ve done a bit of iTunes U stuff as well, along with various other free education apps on the iTunes app store such as Khan academy. And a long while back you pointed me towards some free online MIT classes that have been recorded and posted online. That’s really about it, but my experiences with all three have been fairly good (although unfortunately the MIT classes don’t cover everything my bio class did, but it still helped with first semester). I look forward to learning with Udacity over the summer. I always enjoy learning about new learning sites!

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