The 10 Most Popular Courses on Coursera in 2017 (and 2,000 Courses You Can Take for Free in January, 2018)

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 Learn­ingNeur­al 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.

  1. Machine Learn­ing: A primer from Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty on get­ting com­put­ers to act with­out being explic­it­ly pro­grammed.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.”
  8. 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.
  9. 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.”
  10. 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.

Note: Open Cul­ture has a part­ner­ship with Cours­era. If read­ers enroll in cer­tain Cours­era cours­es, it helps sup­port Open Cul­ture.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Learn­ing How to Learn: The Most Pop­u­lar MOOC of All Time

New Deep Learn­ing Cours­es Released on Cours­era, with Hope of Teach­ing Mil­lions the Basics of Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence

Cours­era Part­ners with Lead­ing Uni­ver­si­ties to Offer Master’s Degrees at a More Afford­able Price


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.