Massive Open Online Courses

Here is an interesting infographic about MOOCs: Massive Open Online Classes. I am a teacher myself, but I know that most of my students learn a lot from YouTube videos, where people explain how they play a certain song on their guitar or keyboard.
So, I jumped on the bandwagon and put some instruction videos online at a special vimeo-account. But it is not enough; my students still have to attend my lessons and pass their tests in my classroom.
I subscribed to the Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Class, taught by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun, and I finished the course with reasonable success – 74 %. Then I subscribed to other courses, but it is hard to create time to study as much as I should. So: halfway my course Machine Learning by Andrew Ng at Coursera I had to quit. The good news however is that I can finish the course later, because the videos and the programming exercises are are still there (I’ve downloaded them to my computer). Of course I can’t earn points for it, but that doesn’t matter to me: it’s about learning. When you’re at my age you don’t need the competition to perform.:-)
Now I’m following Thrun’s “Introduction to Statistics” at Udacity. A lot of this stuff was already tackled at his AI-Class, and of course I learned the basics of statistics at Khan Academy. But the better part of this slow-paced course are the optional programming exercises. This is where I failed during Machine Learning, so I hope, when I’m a bit more experienced with coding, I can resume this course later.
For the next few months I signed up for the following courses: “Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computation”, “Neuroethics”, “Introduction to Analytic Combinatorics, Part I” and “Probabilistic Graphical Models”. Will I find the time to complete all these courses? Having a family, a demanding job as a teacher, a lot of free-lance work as a musician and a self-made webmaster of over thirteen websites? Scalable Living might be the answer.
So, for me, MOOCs are great. The courses are free, so even if I succeed for only 50% I’ve learned and earned a lot more than when I give up in advance. I can choose my own time and my own pace. The only problem is: there are so many interesting courses, and you can’t have all the candy in the store. So, I’ll have to learn to confine myself – there is no online course for that.

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