The popular press on massively open online courses, or MOOCs, is that they're disrupting the higher education model. Yet, the fact of the matter is, the savviest of higher ed institutions are actually sponsoring or investing in what have turned out to be the most established and sustainable platforms.
Coursera's advisory board (and investors) include Princeton University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and Duke University.
EdX is a nonprofit created by none other than Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) -- not just two of the best colleges in Boston, but perhaps in all of Massachussetts (if not the country).
Udacity was born from the minds of two Stanford researchers who have stacked its advisory board with public-sector and private-sector heavyweights like former US Secretary of Education Bill Bennett, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Blank, and investors George Zachry and Laurene Powell Jobs.
For their courses, all three of these outfits claim to bring together some of the top scholars in a given field along with effective pedagogy.
If all this isn't proof enough, the mere fact that they use the word "pedagogy" should alert you to their earnestness as academic institutions.
That said, whether you're just looking to refresh your knowledge on a topic or gain new knowledge -- or even earn a certificate such as the ones you can buy through Coursera or the college credits such as available from Udacity -- you can't argue against the convenience, learning opportunities, and even fun presented by them.
Yes, for analytics, too. Here's is a list of upcoming analytics-related and other data-inspired MOOC courses to check out:
Course: Introduction to Statistics: Inference Provider: EdX Start date: July 19 Description: An intro to statistics that covers the most common techniques, particularly how to make valid conclusions based on data from random samples. Teachers: Ani Adhikari and Philip B. Stark of University of California, Berkeley More information: Available here
Course: Computing for Data Analysis Provider: Coursera Start date: September Description: Learn the fundamental computing skills needed for effective data analysis, including how to program in R and to use R for reading data, writing functions, creating visual analytics and applying the latest statistical methods. Teacher: Roger Peng of John Hopkins University More information: Available here and in this video:
Course: Model Thinking Provider: Coursera Start date: Oct. 7 Description: Learn to think with and apply models to make sense of the real world. Teacher: Scott E. Page of University of Michigan More information: Available here and in this video:
Course: Elementary Statistics: The Science of Decisions Provider: Udacity Start date: Rolling start Description: Apply statistics to everyday life, while also learning the methods to collect and organize data. Teachers: Sean Laraway, Ronald Rogers, and Katie Kormanik of San Jose State University More information: Available here and in this video:
Course: Introduction to Data Science Provider: Coursera Start date: To be determined Description: Data scientists are in big demand at big companies. Why, and what are the basic skills that these professionals bring to the table? Teacher: Bill Howe of University of Washington More information: Available here
Course: Intro to Statistics: Making Decisions Based on Data Provider: Udacity Start date: Rolling start Description: Freshen up on the techniques for systematically understanding relationship among data through math, and learn how to visualize those data relationships. Teachers: Sebastian Thrun and Adam Sherwin of Stanford More information: Available here and in this video:
Course: Social and Economic Networks: Models and Analysis Provider: Coursera Start date: To be determined Description: How do social and economic networks form, what patterns do they exhibit, and why do they impact human behavior? Learn how modeling and techniques from statistics, computer science, sociology, math, economics, and other disciplines can provide answers. Teacher: Matthew O. Jackson of Stanford More Information: Available here and in this video:
Have you taken any MOOCs? Share what you liked, or didn't, below.
Let's see... I've already enrolled in a few and couldn't make the deadlines for quizzes and projects. It all started with Coursera's Human-Computer Interaction class. Then I tried to get through an Internet History class (also at Coursera). I've signed up for HTML5 game development at Udacity but haven't had time to watch the lectures. None of these were scheduled concurrently so I thought I could totally get through them... I was oh so wrong.
@SethBreedlove -- great tip about adding this coursework to LinkedIn profiles. A love of learning and desire to extend a skill set are certainly desirable characteristics for most any employer/partner.
That's a good point, regarding independent study. So I suppose another concern is that people who shouldn't be attempting to study independently will attempt to do so anyways when they can get online courses less expensively than from a community college. One more consideration to think about in studying the MOOC model!
@Noreen, community colleges better watch out. I think four-year residential institutions have something to offer that MOOCs don't and can't ever --- that famed experience of getting out of the parents' nest in a somewhat protective environment, with dorms, late-night study sessions, frat parties, etc. Community colleges offer cheap credits for working professionals (for the most part) --- a prime market for MOOCs.
SAS Global Forum Executive Conference 2014 The Executive Conference is held in conjunction with SAS Global Forum, a SAS users technology event. Investing in thought leadership and technical training are two of the best moves a successful company can make so take advantage of the world-class speakers, sessions and discussions around Analytics, Big data, Risk, Fraud and Data management.
LEADERS FROM THE BUSINESS AND IT COMMUNITIES DUEL OVER CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY ISSUES
The Current Discussion
Visual Analytics: Who Carries the Onus? The Issue: Data visualization is an up-and-coming technology for businesses that want to deliver analytical results in a visual way, enabling analysts the ability to spot patterns more easily and business users to absorb the insight at a glance and better understand what questions to ask of the data. But does it make more sense to train everybody to handle the visualization mandate or bring on visualization expertise? Our experts are divided on the question. The Speakers: Hyoun Park, Principal Analyst, Nucleus Research; Jonathan Schwabish, US Economist & Data Visualizer
At the Strata Conference / Hadoop World 2013, Samuel Kommu, technical marketing engineer at Cisco Systems, shares some of the benefits that Hadoop brings to analytics platforms that leverage next-generation hardware. Kommu looks at big data operations that required 3,500 nodes in 2009, 2,000 in 2011, and now require only 64 nodes.
Wayne Thompson, manager of SAS Data Sciences Technologies, delivers a fascinating preview demonstration of SAS Visual Statistics, a tool that enables fast and flexible modeling against massive datasets on the fly. Visual Statistics will be made generally available in March, but you can see it here first.
At Strata/Hadoop World 2013, Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly discusses the new Enterprise Data Hub offering, explaining how it works with Hadoop, how it creates a single repository of full-history and full-fidelity data, and how it exposes that data to all users interested in exploratory analytics.
At this year's Strata Conference/Hadoop World 2013, SAS big data vice president Paul Kent presented a session on setting up Hadoop clusters for advanced analytics. We caught up with several audience members and recorded their impressions of the presentation.
In hearing directly from a doctorate-level Hadoop specialist, a healthcare data analyst, and a marketing executive, it's clear that big data analytics is a burgeoning field that cutting-edge companies are eager to explore.
At this year's Strata Conference/Hadoop World 2013 event, SAS VP of Big Data Paul Kent presented several sessions about modernizing and deploying advanced data analytics infrastructures based on Hadoop. In this video, he talks about the state of Hadoop adoption among enterprises today and looks out to the big data-driven applications of the future.
Companies that use SAS analytics tools for their traditional databases are looking to derive even more value by mining unstructured data. Data management platforms like Hortonworks enable that relationship by delivering an enterprise-ready Hadoop framework.
In this video, Shaun Connolly, vice president of corporate strategy at Hortonworks, explains how companies can incorporate Hadoop into their data analytics streams.
At the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series in Orlando, Manuel Sanchez, CRM Manager for Club Premier Aeromexico, explains the challenges and opportunities of transaction data. Using dozens of data sources among participating airlines and merchants, Club Premier creates robust customer profiles and works to maximize benefits for members and business partners alike while protecting individual privacy.
At SAS's October Premier Business Leadership Series (PBLS) in Orlando, attendees from the corporate and academic worlds joined thought leaders and analytics professionals to share insights and strategies around big data.
Will Hakes, CEO and co-founder of Link Analytics and keynote speaker at the SAS Analytics 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla., last month, talks candidly about the challenges that large enterprises face as they explore advanced analytics solutions. He also shares some practical tips for smoothing the transition.
At the SAS Analytics 2013 conference in Orlando, Bob Gladden, vice president for decision support and informatics at the Ohio nonprofit health insurance provider CareSource, explains how his company uses advanced analytics to keep administrative costs down and to identify at-risk patients for targeted healthcare initiatives.
At the Analytics 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla., two analytics experts from Dell -- global decision sciences manager Natalie Kortum and senior credit risk consultant Jack Chen -- share their real-world advice for analysts who want to sell their project ideas to business executives.
At the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series in Orlando, Fla., Lousiana State Representative Chris Broadwater outlined the state's success with analytics-driven fraud detection and shared his vision for streamlined processes at the DMV, the healthcare system, and even the department of corrections -- all delivered via a centralized repository of rich customer data.
Organizations that are ready to leverage big data need to move beyond buzzwords and approach the challenges with a business focus. Peter Guerra, principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, shares his insight and experience in helping clients transition to Hadoop and embrace new decision support platforms.
At this year's Strata Conference / Hadoop World 2013, Michael Steinhart chats with Rackspace Product Marketing Manager Sean Anderson about Hadoop, cloud computing, and how the two come together for companies that want to undertake a "proof of value" project.
With today's advanced visual analytics tools, you can stream data into memory for real-time processing, provide users the ability to explore and manipulate the data, and bring your data to life for the business.
Dynamic data visualizations let analysts and business users interact with the data, changing variables or drilling down into data points, and see results in a flash. Advance your use of data visualization with tools that support features like auto-charting, explanatory pop-ups, and mobile sharing.
No doubt your enterprise is amassing loads of data for fact-based decision-making. Hand in hand with all that data comes big computational requirements. Can traditional IT infrastructure handle the increasing number and complexity of your analytical work? Probably not, which is why you need a backend rethink. Big data calls for a high-performance analytics infrastructure, as Fern Halper, a partner at the IT consulting and research firm, Hurwitz & Associates, discusses here.
Redbox's bright-red DVD kiosks are all but ubiquitous these days, located in more than 28,000 spots across the country. Jayson Tipp, Redbox VP of Analytics and CRM, provides an insider's look at how the company has accomplished its phenomenal nine-year growth.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a seven-brand global hotelier, has woven analytics into the fabric of its operations. David Schmitt, director of performance strategy and planning, shares IHG's analytics story and his lessons learned.