Take and Learn Statistics For Free

Last week, Udacity started a course on Introduction to Statistics, Making Decisions Based on Data. This is a beginners level course on statistics, so it should be accessible to everyone. The course consists of seven units, which are intended to last about one week each. Udacity does not enforce any time limits though. Homework problems are also a part of the course, so you will get a chance to practice what you learn.

Udacity is a learning environment similar to Coursera. I would say the presentation is more focused on the web and the experience is a bit more enjoyable. Courses at both sites are taught by professors from top universities and other leading experts in the field. Both sites offer lots of knowledge for free, and I say try them both. Then let you own personal preference decide which you like better.

What do you think about Udacity? Have you tried it?

4 thoughts on “Take and Learn Statistics For Free”

  1. Pros for Udacity:
    – videos are broken into 2-3 minute chunks separated by questions/programming quizzes, it makes you feel a bit more engaged than the 10+ minute videos published on Coursera.
    – quality controls are a lot higher – a couple times on Coursera it was obvious that nobody had watched the video between when it was recorded and when it was released, since there were a lot of typos and often you couldn’t actually see the diagram because something was overlapping it.
    – Udacity runs all software projects through Javascript on their site, so there is no dependence on external software (useful for those running Mac/Linux).
    – Uses the StackExchange Q&A software which is a really well done way of managing community discussions.

    Cons for Udacity:
    – seemed to be less stable in the beginning, not sure about now
    – fewer courses to choose from
    – higher level classes seem less challenging than in Coursera – I found PGMs on Coursera to be much more difficult than the robotic car course on Udacity, but that might have been more the material than the sites.

    1. That is an excellent list of pros and cons. I definitely noticed the difference in video length. I get the feeling that Udacity has put more thought into presentation on the web versus just sharing information. Thanks for commenting.

  2. While I haven’t taken any courses from Coursera (everything I’d like to take / could take at the moment is yet to begin), I do love Udacity. Their practice of chunking their units makes for a much easier time progressing through the course, while the quizzes every other or every third video really help solidify the concepts as you go along. I find it mentally easy to come back to classes on Udacity after a break, because I don’t feel like I have to tackle an hour-long dense lecture upon returning. The idea of putting their classes in the framework of a single overarching project makes it much more interesting than the normal array of small unrelated toy programs I was assigned in my previous CS classes. Plus, I feel like I can learn much more material in a shorter amount of time, because I don’t have to slog through dense and dry textbooks to pick up the material. I’ve also never had a live CS class as engaging and interactive as the ones I’ve taken on Udacity; I feel much more engrossed in the material.

    Given that they’ve progressed to offering essentially a minor in CS in the span of half a year, I’m really excited to see how it continues to progress, especially with the launch of their career placement and certification programs. Together with Coursera and the forthcoming edX, this is an exciting time to be a self-learner.

    1. I totally agree with you. Udacity has great presentation. It will be fun to see how their programs and courses progress over the next few years. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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