Last term I jumped on an opportunity to take 2 classes that Stanford offered online for free (you can read about it here). And its starting to look like I was involved in the start of something big. Sebastian Thrun of Stanford and Google decided, based on the success of his online AI course, to start an open online University, Udacity.
I just finished the first 2 courses ever offered by Udacity - CS 101 - Building a Search Engine and CS 373 Programming a Robotic Car. I am quite impressed with what they have put together in such a short time. The online interactive python interpreter really improves over just the simple multiple choice and number entry questions featured in the original AI class. I still think the programming assignments are a little bit behind the ones from Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning class but some of that might just be related to subject matter :) (Machine Learning is tough to beat in coolness in my opinion and it lends itself nicely to assignments)
Again I’d like to proudly share my Certificates of Accomplishment for these 2 courses:
I really like the way Udacity is going with open online education. I really like that they are their own entity and are not tied to an existing institution I think this makes them much more interesting with respect to the future of education. I also like the amount of street cred they have going on - Sebastian Thrun (he worked on the Google cars) teaching about autonomous vehicles is about as good as it gets. They’ve also announces an upcoming course on web-apps taught by Steve Huffman one of the co-founders of reddit - pretty legit.