Back in 2012, Coursera started offering MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) to the world at large. And they've since amassed some 28 million registered users, a catalogue of 2,000 courses, and reams of data about what people want to learn. In the waning days of December, Coursera published a list of their 1o most popular courses of 2017. (Find below, and enroll in any of these courses for free.) From this list, it drew some larger conclusions about trends in education and technology.
The list shows, writes Nikhil Sinha, Coursera's Chief Content Officer, that "cutting-edge tech skills continue to be the most sought after in online education." Artificial intelligence--encompassing Machine Learning, Neural Networks and Deep Learning--topped the list of courses. Meanwhile "Blockchain has also burst onto the scene, putting Princeton’s Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency course at number five on the list." But, Sinha adds, it's "not just technology skills that are trending." The "basic learning and information-retention skills taught in our popular Learning How to Learn course are extremely sought-after by people of all ages." The same applies to the problem-solving skills taught by Stanford's Introduction to Mathematical Thinking.
You can review the Top 10 list below, and enroll in any of those regularly-offered courses. You can also find (click here) a complete list of 2,000 free MOOCs getting started in January, pick the course that appeals to you, and start some new trends in 2018.
- Machine Learning: A primer from Stanford University on getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed.
- Neural Networks and Deep Learning: Building on the course above, this course will teach you to feed a computer system a lot of data, which it can then use to make decisions about other data.
- Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects: The most popular MOOC ever, this course developed by Dr. Barbara Oakley gives you access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines.
- Introduction to Mathematical Thinking: Stanford University will teach you a style of thinking that will help you think outside the box and solve real problems in the everyday world.
- Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: From Princeton University comes a course that explains what is special about Bitcoin, and how it works at a technical level.
- Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python): The University of Michigan offers a course everyone should take--a primer on the basics of programming computers, using Python.
- Algorithms, Part I: Princeton's course covers "essential information that every serious programmer needs to know about algorithms and data structures, with emphasis on applications and scientific performance analysis of Java implementations."
- English for Career Development: Created by the University of Pennsylvania, this course is for non-native English speakers "interested in advancing their careers in the global marketplace." Along the way, you'll learn about the job search, application, and interview process in the U.S., and also explore your own global career path.
- Neural Networks for Machine Learning: The University of Toronto gives you the chance to "learn about artificial neural networks and how they're being used for machine learning, as applied to speech and object recognition, image segmentation, modeling language and human motion, etc."
- Financial Markets: Created by Yale's Robert Shiller (winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics), this course offers an overview of the financial markets, which allow human society to manage risks and foster enterprise. It includes an introduction to risk management and behavioral finance principles underlying the securities, insurance, and banking industries.
Those were the top courses of 2017. Again, find a list of courses starting in January 2018 here.
Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses, it helps support Open Culture.