Saturday, 19 October 2013

The year of the MOOCs

Today I took the exam of the fifth #MOOC I have completed in the last year. Even I am surprised of how this last year has evolved. There was no plan behind this, it simply started as a birthday present from my wife in the form of additional "time off" to take one course from MITx and it quickly developed into an addiction, if such a thing makes sense when it come to education.

I was initially attracted to through the names of MIT and Harvard. Would I be up to the challenge? Well, it turns out I did well enough on #6.00x for me to be very satisfied. Lucky this did not exist at the time I was at college. I would have struggled with the lectures and the MOOCs :-)

After #MITx's 6.00x (Oct to Jan) I was hooked on MOOCs, so I went on to complete a couple more courses on a different platform, #Coursera. These were Georgia Tech's Computational Photography (April - May) and IIT Delhi's Web Intelligence and Big Data (April - June) before taking the highly acclaimed #Machine Learning from Stanford´s Prof. Andrew Ng , which offered a superb learning experience.

After the Summer break, I have completed Data Mining with Weka, from the Waikato University, which makes the fifth one, plus a couple of others I have audited for some lessons.

All in all I have invested a significant amount of my time on education through MOOCs in the last twelve months. I took much fewer photos this year, I read fewer newspapers and blogs, watched much fewer movies and, in exchange, I focused on something I am convinced it will have a long time benefit, my education. The courses were heavily weighted towards Computer Science, which meant challenging programming assignments beside simply watching the videos and reading additional information.

So what´s next? Well, there is a course about Semantic Web offered by the HPI which caught my eye because of something related to work. Plus there is the XSeries offered by MITx, which I will definitely endeavour to follow. Plus so many others that, again, the problem is making up your mind which one to take. Something I learned this last year is that two MOOCs at a time is one too many for me (tried Harvardx CS50x at the same time as MITx 6.00x and did not work since both demand quite a bit of time, plus I had trouble with Web Intelligence, Computational Photography and Machine Learning partly overlapping for some weeks).

So this was my particular year of the MOOCs. Very enjoyable...

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