Udacity offers free university grade online courses
The Internet has made available a wealth of information to a worldwide audience. 20 or so years ago, your only hope of getting a college or university grade application was to spend two, three, four or even more years studying at your learning institute of choice. Depending on the country you have been living in back then, it may not even have been possible for you to get a university degree either because of lack of funding or options.
The rise of the Internet has changed that dramatically. First, only in form of tutorials and free single courses that were available to everyone. Then later on in the form of free university courses, online certification and free-for-all academies.
We have mentioned the excellent educational videos of the Khan Academy before for instance which has a focus on math and science.
Udacity uses a similar approach, but concentrates more on computer science and science in general. While that still means math most of the time, at least the beginning courses do not require any previous experience in the subject area.
As you can see on the screenshot above, taking classes and joining the community is completely free. If you have completed a class, you can optionall get certification for it which is available for e fee.
Here is a list of courses that are currently on offer:
- Intro to Computer Science: Building a search engine (Beginner)
- Intro to Physics: Landmarks in Physics (Beginner)
- Intro to Statistics: Making Decisions based on data (Beginner)
- Algorithms: Crunching Social Networks (Intermediate)
- Logic and Discrete Mathematics: Foundations of Computing (Intermediate)
- Web Application Engineering: How to build a blog (Intermediate)
- Software Testing: How to make software fail (Intermediate)
- Programming Languages: Building a web browser (Intermediate)
- Design of Computer Programs: Programming Principles (Advanced)
- Artificial Intelligence: Programming a robotic car (Advanced)
- Applied Cryptography: Science of Secrets (Advanced)
You can either enroll into a course directly, or preview it for as long as you want. In fact, you can preview it from the beginning to the very end if you want without creating a free account to enroll in it.
Courses are a mixture of instructive videos and questions that you should use to test your knowledge up to that point. This includes multiple choice questions but also programming exercises.
All courses use the Python programming language. If you do not have experience in Python, you should begin with the Intro to Computer Science course as it also acts as an intro to Python of sorts. Each course consists of seven units, one per week, and a finally Exam at the end of the sevenths week.
All instructional videos include captions that can be activated to aid non-native speakers understand the lectures. If you have no troubles reading this blog, you should not really have issues understanding the videos either.
Each course makes available additional material in a Wiki, and a discussion forum where students and instructors can interact with each other directly. There are also sub forums for study groups, extra practice groups and tags for each unit of a class.
I personally like the idea a lot, especially since you can complete the classes in your own pace. Have you been to Udacity before? If so, what is your experience?Advertisement