Writing after a long hiatus for life has been busy.
But today, I want to tell you about a wonderful experience I had for last 3-4 months. I finally completed the Coursera Machine Learning Course successfully.
This course taught by Professor Andrew Ng from Stanford University is an absolute gem. I would recommend it to any engineer with enough interest in math and a curious mind. The things that stand out for this course are:
- Excellent background work done by Coursera. The professor himself, the teaching assistants, the course technique are totally flawless. They have done tremendous amount of work on it and their passion is quite visible. The video player is an innovation too. (The iPhone app could be better, especially in terms of pause and magnification).
- The professor loves to teach and the way he has developed his style particularly suits the online courses. He is lucid in his explanation and also quite encouraging. He perhaps understands the pioneering work Coursera/edX/Khan Academy are doing and acknowledges that the students (7.5 million and counting) who have taken this course are busy elsewhere. He perhaps thinks intuitively that education is a configurable and cooperative process. Configurable means personalized and any education endeavor on the web (a successful one) has to be a cooperative task.
- The assignments are moderately hard. They are perhaps not as hard as CS-229 offered by Stanford, but they keep you quite busy and interested. The choice of tools is excellent for a starting course like this.
- The ecosystem around the course is excellent.
There are several experiments happening around learning and education and as always, we live in interesting times! It’s yet to be seen what the Internet has to offer in terms of education, but the outlook is very positive and I believe the online courses are going to be more and more effective.
The biggest interest on my part is really the personalization and freedom in learning. We are beginning to see that the ways to spread knowledge and impart education can truly be transformed via the Web. You no longer need to feel miserable for you couldn’t take a particular course during your ‘normal’ college education. There’s time before any kind of revolution happens but things are evolving at a decent pace. I am very optimistic about how our and next generation deals with this experiment. I hope the right things emerge out of this – you are free to learn anything you want!
By the way, (shameless plug) I did get my certificate and I am very happy about it for this opens up possibilities in applying sensible machine learning techniques to many problems. I am extremely grateful to my family in general and my wife and JyMob Cofounder in particular for the support and encouragement they endowed upon me!
What do you think?