Some thoughts about online course providers (#coursera, #edx, #acm)

Some notes on the exeperience of online courses I have taken.

I have taken online courses at the following institutions:


I took the following courses at coursera:

  • Model Thinking (in progress)
  • Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computing (completed)
  • Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 1 (completed)
  • Software Engineering for SAAS (completed)
  • Machine Learning (dropped out)
  • Algorithms, Part 1 (dropped out)
  • Cryptography (dropped out)

The site has currently 198 different courses from universities (as of 30 September 2012). I was like a kid in a candy store. I just could not help myself. I took on too many courses and had to drop out of several because of the workload.

The interface was clunky at times, but workable. Video quality varied greatly. The best production was Algorithms, Part 1 from Princeton.


edX has currently seven (7) courses, of which I am doing the following:

  • CS169.1x Software as a Service
  • CS188.1x Artificial Intelligence

Compared to coursera,

  • the interface is much better laid out,
  • the video production is of much higher standard (about equal to that of the Princeton course mentioned about,
  • the length of each video is much shorter—2-3 mins as compared to 10-15 mins for coursera
  • the quiz interface is about the same,
  • no comparison yet about the assignment submission
  • I have stayed away from the forums in both cases because of the high volume of posts


ACM has a portal into skillsoft for members.

Over the years, I have tried to start courses here, but the access to the courses is so involved. I have to go through several pages while watching the cursor spin. By the time I get to the course, I have forgotten why I wanted to be there in the first place. Both edX and coursera place me only two (2) clicks away from my courses.


I think the quantity at coursera will win over the quality at edX. Professional societies, such as ACM are going to be trampled unless they sort out their portals.

One thought on “Some thoughts about online course providers (#coursera, #edx, #acm)

  1. Douglas

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