Note on Courses

This section covers free or low cost data-related courses. The main sources for the below online courses are:

  1.  University-based Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)
  2.  Online Course Marketplaces
  3.  An Online Course Aggregator.
  4.  Online courses that leverage live coding environments

Please note that MOOCs and marketplaces have a broad array of subjects covering much more than data science.

(1) MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses): The original big three, each of which have university roots, are Coursera, edX, and Udacity. Coursera and Udacity were started out of Stanford University, and edX was launched by Harvard and MIT (there are also now MOOC initiatives by universities in Europe and Australia). Most courses have become “On-Demand”, or offered very frequently (some Coursera ones are offered monthly). At the moment, there still is an option to access content for free. However, in the past year or so, several MOOCs began bundling single courses into paid certificates (or nanodegrees in the case of Udacity). Certificate programs include:

Again to reiterate, individual course content can still be viewed for FREE, e.g. Pattern Discovery in Data Mining.

(2) Course Marketplaces: Udemy, which is a online course marketplace akin to Amazon and somewhat like E-bay (the “sellers” are instructors from a variety of backgrounds, and so in a way Udemy is a wholesaler / reseller marketplace). Udemy includes a broader scope of software such as SAS or SPSS. Although some Udemy courses are free, most charge on the order of $50-100+. Additional marketplaces are Lynda and pluralsight, however for each there is little R content just yet (they appear more developer-oriented). The online MOOC / Ed startup scene is still very active. Crunchbase shows Udemy, Lynda and pluralsight each to be well-funded. Pluralsight recently acquired CodeSchool; though conversely LearnStreet recently went out of business.

(3) Online Course Aggregator: CourseTalk is an online course aggregator that mashes up course info (such as from Coursera and Udemy) along with integrating user ratings and reviews. The site covers many topics such as “machine learning”. However, topics such as R and other “initial” based topics like C do not appear easily indexed at the moment; and the site as this time does not use topic tags.

(4) Learn By Coding: DataCamp complements video instruction with a live R coding environment (called R-Fiddle). For example, Duke University’s “Data Analysis and Statistical Inference”, which is on the Coursera platform, has partnered with DataCamp. Labs for the Data Analysis class can be done within DataCamp’s interactive environment (or offline in R-Studio, or the like if one prefers). DataCamp has developed their own courses, such as with data wrangling and dataviz, and have more in the pipeline. Please note DataCamp has a monthly subscription fee ($25). Another online interactive coding site is CodeCademy which has courses for several languages including Python and JavaScript. CodeCademy has recently started to have offline courses called CodeCademy Labs to occur in cities such as Chicago, New York, LA, etc.

John Verostek, Organizer Boston Predictive Analytics Meetup
2016-02-21