Free online classes: the next thing
I love the idea of learning stuff online, especially if it’s free.
I just found out about Udacity (hat tip Jacques Richer), which also seems pretty cool. They offer various classes online, also free unless you want an official certificate saying you finished the class. And they have 11 courses so far, including this one on basic statistics with Professor Thrun.
Then there’s Coursera, which is starting to have quite a few different options for free online classes. The thing I’d like to bitch about with this is that Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning class, which I took when it came out last year, is not being offered currently, which makes me confused. Why does it need scheduling if it’s already been made?
I also just discovered openculture, which lists lots of free online courses. When you search for “statistics,” it returns the Udacity course I already mentioned as well as a Berkeley stats course on YouTube, among others.
I know this stuff is the future, so I’m hoping there continues to be lots of competition from various small start-ups. We are bound to profit from such competition as a culture. What I’m worried about is that the model goes from “free” to “fee” if it gets crowded by large players who, say, pay their instructors a lot for the content.
Which is not to say the instructors shouldn’t get paid at all, but I hope the revenue can continue to come from advertising or through job matching.