Online courses galore!

I’ve been busy recently! Rather, I’ve been kept extremely busy with the sudden extraordinary explosion of online courses (all for free!). I know there is tons of information out there on the web, but still having quality professors teach you stuff is quite amazing.

For example, I am currently taking a course on Udacity on Programming a Robotic Car taught by Prof Sebastian Thrun.  The experience has been quite amazing so far. I had taken a similar course during my Graduate School based out of his Probabilistic Robotics book and really enjoyed the class then, but to have him teach it, is quite fantastic.

Previously, most of the course ware offered online were in the form of lecture notes, some videos (MIT OCW site, and some other universities) and limited access to the HWs and tests. However, now all of a sudden, there are multiple high level online courses that are being offered and I am enrolling in all that I can find ( I currently have a heavier load then during some of the semesters I was in school). These courses are all free, with HWs, tests (that have deadlines and grades and almost all material required) and with a completion certificate on passing the course. Of course, you could just attend the course for the knowledge too without worrying about any grades.

While most of the courses are software related (CS101, Programming, Machine Learning, Computer Vision etc),  it seems other topics are also popping up.  MIT has just launched an introductory course on Electrical Design running as a part of their MITx initiative. CalTech is stepping it up further offering live lectures directly from the university.

Though nothing beats hacking around to learn new stuff, some formal classes only open up new things to play with! Here are some of the sites offering free online courses:

Udacity : CS101, Programming Languages, Program a Robotic Car etc

Coursera : offering courses from multiple universities- Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Software As a Service etc

MITx : Circuits and Electronics

iTunes University

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