Harvard’s Free Computer Science Course Teaches You to Code in 12 Weeks

At the begin­ning of last year, we wrote about CS50, Harvard’s Intro­duc­to­ry Com­put­er Sci­ence course, taught by Pro­fes­sor David Malan. Today, we bring you the updat­ed ver­sion of the class, filmed through­out the past semes­ter at Har­vard. Why revis­it an updat­ed ver­sion of the same class a year lat­er? For one thing, the mate­r­i­al has been updat­ed. And, as you can tell by the rous­ing recep­tion Malan receives from the audi­ence at the start of the first lec­ture (above), Malan is kind of a big deal. From his open­ing boom of “This is CS50,” Malan imme­di­ate­ly comes off as an unusu­al­ly charis­mat­ic pro­fes­sor. He offers what might just be the most engag­ing online class you’ve ever seen.

So what does this charis­mat­ic com­put­er sci­en­tist cov­er over three months? An impres­sive­ly large amount of infor­ma­tion about cod­ing. Malan builds the course from the ground up, and begins by describ­ing how tran­sis­tors are employed to trans­mit infor­ma­tion with­in com­put­ers. From then on, he out­lines a vast amount of com­put­er sci­ence in high­ly acces­si­ble lan­guage. This will almost undoubt­ed­ly be the clear­est pre­sen­ta­tion of top­ics like “com­mand-line argu­ments,” “cryp­tog­ra­phy,” and “dynam­ic mem­o­ry allo­ca­tion” that you’re like­ly to hear.

The class videos are avail­able on iTune­sU, YouTube, and in audio, 1080p HD video, and text tran­script form on a crisp course web­site. The course may also be accessed through edX, Har­vard and MIT’s MOOC plat­form, which allows users to receive a cer­tifi­cate upon com­ple­tion. It’s easy to tell that Malan and his team have gone above and beyond the require­ments of cre­at­ing a help­ful intro­duc­tion to com­put­er sci­ence. They deliv­er an astound­ing­ly easy-to-grasp primer on a daunt­ing top­ic.

For oth­er Comp­Sci class­es taught by David Malan, check out our list of Free Com­put­er Sci­ence cours­es, part of our larg­er list, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman, or read more of his writ­ing at the Huff­in­g­ton Post.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Com­put­er Sci­ence: Free Cours­es

Codecademy’s Free Cours­es Democ­ra­tize Com­put­er Pro­gram­ming

Learn to Build iPhone & iPad Apps with Stanford’s Free Course, Cod­ing Togeth­er


The President of Northwestern University Predicts Online Learning … in 1934!

1934 predictions

One of our most pop­u­lar posts this year cen­tered around a pre­scient set of pre­dic­tions that Isaac Asi­mov made for 2014, way back in 1964. Asi­mov, how­ev­er, wasn’t the only one whose vision of the future seems to have been real­ized.

The web site Pale­o­fu­ture fea­tures a 1934 issue of Every­day Sci­ence and Mechan­ics mag­a­zine, where North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty pres­i­dent Wal­ter Dill Scott made some far­sight­ed pro­nounce­ments of his own. Scott believed that the phys­i­cal col­lege cam­pus would no longer need to be a lynch­pin for edu­ca­tion, and that stu­dents could learn by way of radio and pic­tures. Fax machines and tele­vi­sions would allow stu­dents to access lec­ture mate­ri­als world­wide, and ensure that researchers could con­duct their research remote­ly. He also fig­ured that we’d all end up com­mut­ing by planes. Every­day Sci­ence and Mechan­ics wrote:

The uni­ver­si­ty of twen­ty-five years from now will be a dif­fer­ent look­ing place, says Pres­i­dent Scott of North­west­ern. Instead of con­cen­trat­ing fac­ul­ty and stu­dents around a cam­pus, they will “com­mute” by air, and the uni­ver­si­ty will be sur­round­ed by air­ports and hangars. The course will be car­ried on, to a large extent, by radio and pic­tures. Fac­sim­i­le broad­cast­ing and tele­vi­sion will enlarge great­ly the range of a library; and research may be car­ried on by schol­ars at great dis­tances.

Air­ports and hangars aside, Scott’s con­jec­tures hit pret­ty close to home. While fax machines and radio may have been sup­plant­ed by the Inter­net, the essence of our edu­ca­tion­al advance­ments is the same: uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents can often lis­ten to lec­tures and com­plete assign­ments online, spend­ing only a few short face-to-face hours in the class­room. Oth­er times, class­es may be whol­ly avail­able online, and stu­dents may nev­er step foot on cam­pus alto­geth­er. Schol­ars, too, can trawl through data­bas­es like JSTOR and PsycIN­FO with­out get­ting out of bed, con­duct­ing research as they trav­el.

In fact, today almost any­one can have access to uni­ver­si­ty knowl­edge. Feel like tak­ing a Tech­nol­o­gy Entre­pre­neur­ship class offered by Stan­ford, or learn about Walt Whit­man, cour­tesy of The Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa? Noth­ing sim­pler! Mas­sive Open Online cours­es (MOOCs) are pro­lif­er­at­ing, and you can down­load audio & video lec­tures from top tier uni­ver­si­ties. Vis­it our col­lec­tion of 825 Free Online Cours­es to see what we mean.

In the end, it’s a good thing Scott was right. Oth­er­wise, there’d be no Open Cul­ture.

via Pale­o­fu­ture

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts in 1964 What the World Will Look Like Today — in 2014

Arthur C. Clarke Pre­dicts the Future in 1964 … And Kind of Nails It

Wal­ter Cronkite Imag­ines the Home of the 21st Cen­tu­ry … Back in 1967

The Inter­net Imag­ined in 1969

Mar­shall McLuhan Announces That The World is a Glob­al Vil­lage

180 MOOCs to Start the New Year (Is This the Crest of the Wave?)

Once the MOOC “rev­o­lu­tion” got under­way, uni­ver­si­ties, usu­al­ly slow-mov­ing and tight-fist­ed insti­tu­tions, could­n’t run fast enough to put their own MOOCs online. And, right now, we’re see­ing the results. In Jan­u­ary alone, 180 MOOCs from major inter­na­tion­al uni­ver­si­ties, will get under­way. Below we’ve high­light­ed some of the cours­es that intrigued us most, but you can peruse the com­plete list here and make your own choic­es.

If you haven’t tried a free MOOC, I’d do it soon­er than lat­er. In recent weeks, the whole MOOC project took a hit when a Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia study found what was becom­ing empir­i­cal­ly obvi­ous — that MOOCs gen­er­al­ly have very low par­tic­i­pa­tion and com­ple­tion rates, and what’s more, most of the stu­dents tak­ing the cours­es are “dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly edu­cat­ed, male, [and] wealthy,” and from the Unit­ed States. This study, com­bined with oth­er dis­ap­point­ing exper­i­ments and find­ings, will like­ly make uni­ver­si­ties think twice about sink­ing mon­ey into cre­at­ing MOOCs (they can cost any­where from $15,000 to $50,000 to devel­op). It might take anoth­er 6–12 months to see the shift. But I’d haz­ard a guess that this Jan­u­ary might be the peak of the free MOOC trend. Enjoy them while they last. What­ev­er their short­com­ings, they can be quite infor­ma­tive, and you can’t beat the price.

See our com­plete list of MOOCs from Great Uni­ver­si­ties here, along with our MOOC FAQ.

Don’t miss any­thing from Open Cul­ture in 2014. Sign up for our Dai­ly Email or RSS Feed. And we’ll send cul­tur­al curiosi­ties your way, every day.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen Col­bert Tries to Make Sense of MOOCs with the Head of edX

The Big Prob­lem for MOOCs Visu­al­ized

Google & edX to Cre­ate MOOC.Org: An Open Source Plat­form For Cre­at­ing Your Own MOOC

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MOOC Providers Take Flight in Britain and Germany: Introducing Future Learn and Iversity

They may be a lit­tle late to the MOOC par­ty, but two new­ly-launched Euro­pean open course plat­forms might still be able to carve out a niche.

Cours­era and edX, the two main play­ers in the US at this point, have been up and run­ning for almost 18 months. And although both ven­tures have a long list of inter­na­tion­al part­ners, the ris­ing cost of high­er edu­ca­tion is build­ing inter­est in MOOCs in Europe and the UK. The founders of new Euro­pean plat­forms  — Future Learn in the UK, and iver­si­ty in Ger­many — are bet­ting they can still make head­way in an increas­ing­ly crowd­ed mar­ket.

A sub­sidiary of the British Open Uni­ver­si­ty, Future Learn is in its beta stage, but it’s already boast­ing part­ner­ships with uni­ver­si­ties across Britain, Ire­land, and Aus­tralia. And come this Novem­ber, it will be rolling out cours­es across mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines. Take for exam­ple:

Mean­while Berlin-based start­up iver­si­ty recent­ly relaunched itself as a MOOC plat­form. This week, iversity’s first six cours­es begin. Four are in Ger­man and two are in Eng­lish: Con­tem­po­rary Archi­tec­ture and Dark Mat­ter in Galax­ies. A total of 115,000 stu­dents are cur­rent­ly enrolled.

Future Learn and iver­si­ty both seem to be aimed at audi­ences who are rel­a­tive­ly new to the MOOC con­cept. Both sites take care to explain what MOOCs are in very sim­ple terms—which may be a smart strat­e­gy for busi­ness­es set­ting out to con­vince Europe and Britain that the MOOC trend is for real.

You can find all cours­es by Future Learn and iver­si­ty list­ed in our big col­lec­tion of 600+ MOOCs from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mas­sive Open Online Cours­es (MOOCs) Go Inter­na­tion­al

625 Free MOOCs from Great Uni­ver­si­ties (Many Offer­ing Cer­tifi­cates)

The Big Prob­lem for MOOCs Visu­al­ized

Kate Rix writes about dig­i­tal media and edu­ca­tion. 

Google & edX to Create MOOC.Org: An Open Source Platform For Creating Your Own MOOC

mooc org

Almost exact­ly a year ago, we told you about Google’s release of Course Builder, an open source plat­form that would let you build your own online courses/MOOCs for free. This week, Google has a new announce­ment: it’s join­ing forces with edX, (the MOOC provider led by Har­vard and MIT), to work on a new open source plat­form called MOOC.org. The new ser­vice will go live in the first half of 2014. And it will allow “any aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tion, busi­ness and indi­vid­ual to cre­ate and host online cours­es.” This will give inno­v­a­tive edu­ca­tors the oppor­tu­ni­ty to put a MOOC online with­out nec­es­sar­i­ly mak­ing a steep invest­ment in a course. (When added all up, the costs can oth­er­wise be enor­mous.) If MOOC.org sounds of inter­est to you, you can put your name on a wait­ing list, and they’ll con­tact you when the ser­vice launch­es next year.

Mean­while, let me men­tion that 125 MOOCs will be launch­ing between now and the end of Octo­ber. To see a full list, vis­it or our col­lec­tion of 625 MOOCs/Certificate Cours­es from Great Uni­ver­si­ties. You’ll find many inter­est­ing titles on the list — His­to­ry of Chi­nese Archi­tec­ture: Part 1Søren Kierkegaard – Sub­jec­tiv­i­ty, Irony and the Cri­sis of Moder­ni­ty; Dark Mat­ter in Galax­ies: The Last Mys­tery, and Explor­ing Engi­neer­ing, just to name a few. If you have ques­tions about what MOOCs are all about, please see our new MOOC FAQ.

via The Chron­i­cle of High­er Ed

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Google Releas­es “Course Builder,” an Open Source Plat­form for Build­ing Your Own Big Online Cours­es

Har­vard and MIT Cre­ate EDX to Offer Mas­sive Open Online Cours­es (MOOCs) World­wide

Stephen Col­bert Tries to Make Sense of MOOCs with the Head of edX

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Stephen Colbert Tries to Make Sense of MOOCs with the Head of edX

Last week Anant Agar­w­al, Pres­i­dent of edX (the MOOC con­sor­tium launched by Har­vard and MIT), paid a vis­it to The Col­bert Report. And it did­n’t take long for the host, the one and only Stephen Col­bert, to ask fun­ny but unmis­tak­ably prob­ing ques­tions about the advent of Mas­sive Open Online Cours­es. “I don’t under­stand. You’re in the knowl­edge busi­ness in a uni­ver­si­ty. Let’s say I had a shoe store, ok, and then I hired you to work at my shoe store. And you said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s give the shoes away for free.’ I would fire you and then prob­a­bly throw shoes at your head.” In oth­er words, why would uni­ver­si­ties dis­rupt them­selves and give edu­ca­tion away at no cost? Where’s the san­i­ty in that?  If you have five min­utes, you can watch Agar­wal’s response and get a few laughs along the way. And if you’re ready to take a MOOC, then dive into our col­lec­tion of 550 Free MOOCs from Great Uni­ver­si­ties. 120 new cours­es will be start­ing in August and Sep­tem­ber alone.

via The Har­vard Crim­son

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen Col­bert Talks Sci­ence with Astro­physi­cist Neil deGrasse Tyson

Stephen Col­bert Dish­es Out Wis­dom & Laughs at North­west­ern

Har­vard and MIT Cre­ate EDX to Offer Mas­sive Open Online Cours­es World­wide

Seven New Courses Coming from the School of Open: Sign Up Today

school of open logoThe School of Open is offer­ing its sec­ond round of free, facil­i­tat­ed, online cours­es. Through August 4, you can sign up for 7 cours­es on open sci­ence, col­lab­o­ra­tive work­shop design, open edu­ca­tion­al resources, copy­right for edu­ca­tors, Wikipedia, CC licens­es, and more. Cours­es will start after the first week of August and run for 3 to 7 weeks, depend­ing on the course top­ic and orga­niz­er. All cours­es will offer badges for recog­ni­tion of skills and/or course com­ple­tion as part of P2PU’s badges pilot. Here’s a list of the upcom­ing cours­es, all of which have been added to our com­pre­hen­sive list of MOOCs.

If you are too busy to take a course this time around, you can sign up to be noti­fied for the next round of facil­i­tat­ed cours­es, or take a stand-alone course at your own pace, at any time. All cours­es are free and open to take and re-use under the Cre­ative Com­mons Attri­bu­tion-Share­Alike license.

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55 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for the Dog Days of Summer

At least here in the Unit­ed States, we’re enter­ing the Dog Days of Sum­mer. In New York, it’s expect­ed to hit 92 degrees today. That’s hot, but not near­ly as bad as the tem­per­a­tures in St. Louis (95), Phoenix (103) and Las Vegas (107). It’s time, my friends, to let Moth­er Nature declare vic­to­ry (even if we’ve giv­en her an arti­fi­cial hand) and find ways to stay cool and pro­duc­tive at the same time. Here’s one option to con­sid­er: Even though most col­lege stu­dents have gone home for the sum­mer, there are 55 MOOCs (Mas­sive Open Online Cours­es) start­ing between today and August 31, plus anoth­er 40 launch­ing in Sep­tem­ber. They’re spon­sored by some of the world’s lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties and cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions; they’re all free; and many offer cer­tifi­cates if stu­dents suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete their cours­es. Below, we’ve high­light­ed sev­er­al cours­es that speak to our inter­est in the lib­er­al arts. You can find the course that speaks to you by vis­it­ing our reg­u­lar­ly-updat­ed page: 500 Free MOOCs from Great Uni­ver­si­ties.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

525 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

425 Free eBooks: Down­load to Kin­dle, iPad/iPhone & Nook

535 Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, etc.

160 Free Text­books: A Meta Col­lec­tion

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.