Free Online Courses!

Free as in free! Who doesn’t like free stuff? I’m yet to find someone who doesn’t.
I know the general feeling is that if it’s free, it has probably been watered down, I can however speak for the courses I have taken from the websites I am about to introduce to you, they have in no way been watered down! In fact some of them are delivered exactly the same way as they are delivered to their students at the various universities.
If it’s so, why then deliver free online? Well, one word – passion! These guys are just passionate about education that they are willing to share with others for free. Hard for some of us to comprehend right?
Let’s move on.

The first group I would like to talk about is Coursera. I stumbled on this group about two years ago whilst studying for my PhD. I was looking for some help online with some neural network application I was working on and google search took me to the Machine learning course by Prof Andrew Ng at Stanford University. At first I didn’t believe I could earn a certificate of accomplishment from Stanford for free but I enrolled in the course and yeah, got my certificate (see below). Permit me to quote from the coursera website

Coursera is an education company that partners with the top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. Our technology enables our partners to teach millions of students rather than hundreds.

We envision a future where everyone has access to a world-class education that has so far been available to a select few. We aim to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in….

We offer courses in a wide range of topics, spanning the Humanities, Medicine, Biology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business, Computer Science, and many others. Whether you’re looking to improve your resume, advance your career, or just learn more and expand your knowledge, we hope there will be multiple courses that you find interesting.

I must admit, the modules can be really engaging. You will have assignments to submit and even a final exam for some of the modules. What were you saying about being watered down? Since my Machine Learning course, I have gone on to take the “Computing for Data Analysis”, “Learn to Program: The Fundamentals” and other courses.
So what are you still waiting for? Enroll in a course today!

UP NEXT in Part 2 … UDACITY!