5 Replies - 1862 Views - Last Post: 13 June 2013 - 01:39 PM

#1 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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[Link] $200K for a CS Degree Or These Free Online Classes

Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:04 PM

http://www.javaworld...developers.html

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I've been taking free business courses online at Coursera, despite some annoying limitations. I love it, especially since I don't have a few years and a few hundred thousand bucks to blow attending our local business school -- which I'm sure is very good, but hey, I have a business to run.

But there's more to Coursera. I was recently interviewed by a reporter from the BBC aboutmy post questioning the value of the modern computer science degree. At the time, Coursera didn't have a great background in theory. This has now changed.


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Replies To: [Link] $200K for a CS Degree Or These Free Online Classes

#2 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: [Link] $200K for a CS Degree Or These Free Online Classes

Posted 25 May 2013 - 10:53 PM

Complete idiocy, if you ask me. I've taken a number of the courses on this guy's "syllabus"* and they're mostly pretty useless. Sedgewick's algorithms courses, for example - Sedgewick's textbooks on algorithms are fantastic, but his coursera course is a complete waste of time. You'll do much better to just buy a copy of his textbook and work through the material in it, preferably with a couple of friends. The discussion will produce far more understanding than the soothing tones from the talking head. And Genesereth's course in logic - there's nothing there that isn't covered for ten bucks in any of a dozen titles available from Dover. All you're getting from the coursera is the privilege of watching someone read the words off a paper in front of him, at a tenth the rate you'd be reading at if you just had the text in front of you.

If someone thinks that a "course" on coursera is anything like learning something, it says a lot about what they believe about higher education, and nothing good. The point of a course is not to have someone read off the words at you - if you can't read the words for yourself, you have no business being in the room in the first place. The point of a course is to be in a place where you can ask questions about the material, and answer questions about the material, and by arguing about it, learn the material deeply and thoroughly. Education is a human act and a collaborative act, not a youtube channel.

*actually, what he offers is a program, not a syllabus. A syllabus is the prospectus of a particular course - the program of readings and major assignments that the student can expect. A program is a series of courses directed at some particular goal. Nobody qualified to discuss higher education could possibly make this mistake.
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#3 cfoley  Icon User is online

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Re: [Link] $200K for a CS Degree Or These Free Online Classes

Posted 13 June 2013 - 10:19 AM

The list of classes looks to be the equivalent of about the first 2 years of of a 4 year Scottish Honours degree, give or take. Something to bear in mind is that some of these courses are cut back versions of what is offered at the university. Odersky's Scala course is a case in point, although it is admittedly not on the programme in that article.

However, I don't think the question is weather the online courses are equivalent to a degree. It's whether people who do the courses would be hireable. I think that is very much to do with the person rather than the education. Plenty people graduate from CS degrees who aren't very good at programming. I imagine that the grades people get from online courses don't correlate well with ability either. Some will be great, others awful. Companies have technical interviews because a degree is only an indicator. Online courses, reading books and having built personal projects are all indicators too. None are guarantees.
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#4 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Link] $200K for a CS Degree Or These Free Online Classes

Posted 13 June 2013 - 11:02 AM

Also CS degrees aren't $200k. They aren't cheap, but come on. You hae to work to pay that much for school.
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#5 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: [Link] $200K for a CS Degree Or These Free Online Classes

Posted 13 June 2013 - 11:24 AM

Looks like you can do it without too much work.

http://nces.ed.gov/f...splay.asp?id=76

Apparently private not-for-profit institutions are up to ~30K annually. Assuming this is an average, there must be people paying above that, though I don't know the spread. I can name at least one school that's over $50K annually now, though.

Even at $30K, if we assume there are loans involved I imagine the cost is going to be close to $200K, by the time all is said and done.
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#6 Michael26  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Link] $200K for a CS Degree Or These Free Online Classes

Posted 13 June 2013 - 01:39 PM

I think those free courses can be supplement to someone who is already familiar with the subjects or someone who is only a hobbyist.
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