Debasmita Banerjee
Debasmita Banerjee
Instrumentation
22 Feb 2017

10 Best MOOC And Online Courses For Computer Science On Coursera, Edx And Udacity

Consider yourself a Computer Science or an Electronics Engineer with AICTE-UGC approved university degree (if you are chained to Indian education infrastructure) and you feel, your education is not complete. You need more, more of what is called valued perspiration and knowledge to recreate your ideas in a very different way. Often, the case turns out that the subject of your interest was not *only* the thing you wanted do. Solution? Have a double M.A, using the conventional way?

Well, that could have been an authentic approach but a nowadays, people have less time and more things to do. You can’t quit your just-found job and join a class just because you like it, can you? So, people, much before the digital age, started forming an idea of “correspondence classes”. Once the internet bloomed in 2000, the world fell at its feet to sprout as the knowledge-tree, giving nourishment to the billions of people out there, connected through this resource.

Short Introduction to MOOCs –

However, we are not here to discuss the glorious history of this mature idea to promote “education for all”. But, we need a more-or-less prerequisite, based upon which we will discuss throughout the primary objective of this article. As I mentioned, having internet with us made all this very easy and eventually we had what we know as “Massive Open Online Courses” and with time and tide, the initials are changing from M to P to C ( Massive to Participatory to Corporate ), varying the same idea and fitting it into a new dress. Now that the point is there, an online education, targeting a massive amount of people we jump into this very idea, “A course for me”, “A course that suits my hobbies/my passion/my long lost love” and whatever that can’t get a space in formal education.
mooc

With this dream, instructors and futurists weaved different platforms to provide a quality education in form of courses. Some believed in free learning, some believed in certificates and degrees and some wisely put their work in form of complied lectures that spark an idea. Very soon, we had the Khan Academy, edX, Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, Kadenze and other online extensions of some high ranked universities that actually have blown the wind of the movement.

Today, we all know about it, but the numbers of courses are so badly cluttered that we think twice before we jump in, before we put faith and sometimes money on the line. And so? Just to put you at ease and take your ideas in to sort out some of my very own confusions, I am here to jot down some of the best courses in computer science I have found so far ever since I joined the MOOCs, back in 2013.

The courses are based on my experience as a learner, as a beta tester and as a leaner guide. All of them are not ongoing sessions and you might have to wait a little longer to catch the next session but all of them are worthwhile. So, here goes my top 10 list of computer science courses that can easily dethrone your regular classes with glory but be aware, they all require your full hearted participation. The list mentioned below, is in no particular order of priority or importance.

TOP 10 Computer Science MOOCs:
computer-programming
1. Introduction to Computer Science by David J. Malan (CS50x, Harvard University)

Platform: Edx

Review: A must-watch lecture series with in-depth understanding of basic programming, this course can teach you how to algorithmically think and enjoy the baby steps to your final destination, being a knowledgeable programmer. Artistically, David and his team implants “the programming” concept in such a way, I have never seen before. You get it like that day when you magically knew the alphabets. It’s purely a course requiring no prerequisites and simply the urge of learning something new and the zeal of mastering it can suffice. It’s also considered as the most popular course of computer science.

Average Rating: 4.5/5 on Edx community

Course Free: Free to audit but you need to pay $90 if you need a certificate.
Link to Course: CS50x

2. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from “Learn Program and Analyze Data With Python” specialization by Charles Severance (University of Michigan)

Platform: Coursera

Review: An absolute masterpiece specially curated by Professor Chuck aka Charles Severance. You will laugh your heart out, while you get to discover the most non-venomous programing language ever possible! This is again beginner’s course and you will seriously get time to go through things, over and over again. The course consists of several MCQ based weekly exams with peer-to-peer assignments and with each one, you will get to knock down one hurdle you generally come across when you are first introduced to the programming.

Average Rating: 4.8/5 on Coursera community

Course Fee: Free to audit but you need to pay Rs.3996 if you need a certificate. However, Coursera is always there to help you, if you are financially weak. Please search for “Financial Aid” embedded with each course that is available in Coursera platform.

Link to Course: Python On Coursera
3. Cryptography 1 by Dan Boneh (Stanford University)

Platform:
Coursera

Review: Ever wanted to be the “Susan Fletcher” of NSA or tried some cool codes out of your own interest? If you ever had a serious crush on those jittery numbers and associated number line, it’s probably time for you to take “Number Theory” seriously. Well, not getting into the theory you can have a short cut to the practical stuff known as “Cryptography” that hackers and anti-hackers use every day to initiate countless cyber battles. Sounds like your thing? This course is an introduction to cryptography but definitely not to the programming. Warning!! You probably would like to polish your python skills before your jump into this. However in terms of theory, it’s a pro and it will impart the knowledge in you that is required to understand the notion of Cyber security and cryptography.

Average rating: 4.8/ 5 on Coursera community

Course Fee: Rs. 3996 is the cost, but yes you can always seek financial assistance from Coursera using Financial aid form.

Link to Course: Cryptogaphy On Coursera
webdesign_mooc


4. Introduction to HTML5 and Introduction to CSS3 from “Learn to Design and Create Specialization” by Colleen Van Lent (2 courses) ( University of Michigan)

Platform: Coursera

Review: A pure basic course to nurture your web development ideas but with enough prerequisites to help you learn the rest. The best part, her words will influence you to go deeper into the ocean of web jargons. With adequate resources, this is absolutely way better than any advanced specialization. It consists of Coursera special MCQs and peer to peer assignments that enormously help you build your online portfolio.

Average rating: 4.7/ 5 and 4.8/5 respectively on Coursera community

Course Fee: Free? No and Yes! When no, you need to pay Rs. 1964 and Rs. 3996 respectively or if you are out of money, you can always apply for Financial Aid.

Link to Course: HTML On Coursera and CSS On Coursera

5. “Machine Learning” by Andrew Ng ( Stanford University)

Platform: Coursera

Review: By all means, this should sit atop the list but purposefully I fit it in the fifth position. The best course ever offered online in Computer science, and definitely one you can jump into without giving much of a thought. If you need a pro intro to this freshly brewed concept called machine learning, you won’t find a better explanation and solid ground like this one. Not just theory, it embeds more practice that you can logically relate. Why won’t it be? He is the cofounder of his platform himself!!

Average rating: 4.9/5.0 on Coursera Community

Course Fee: Following the Coursera policy they take Rs. 3996 to offer you a certificate. Now, if you the money is what troubling you then you are all welcome to apply for the “Financial aid”.

Link to Course: Machine Learning On Coursera

6. “Data Structures” from “Data Structures and Algorithms” specialization by UCSD

Platform: Coursera

Review: The pot which contains the water known as Algorithms is known as Data Structures. A good algorithm is always dependent on a set of good data structures that gives the flexibility to algorithm to manipulate over data. This is an introductory course where you will learn how data structure are implemented in different programming language and you will be the one to explore them via various programming assignments that come with this course. Scraping some of the reviews combining with my audit experience, theoretical explanations are really helpful if personal engineering classes are compared.

Average rating: 4.6/5.0 on Coursera Community

Course Fee: The course has a price tag of Rs. 3996 and like all other courses in the same platform, it comes with “Financial Aid” option to help you choose the best course without thinking twice about your poor economic background.

Link to Course: Data Structures On Coursera
Logical-Thinking
7. “Introduction to Logic” by Michael Genesereth (Stanford University)

Platform: Coursera
This is a really great introductory course in Logic from a computer science angle. Professor Genesereth gives a brilliant overview of Logical Analysis, the processes involved in logically encoding and subsequently reasoning with information and also introduces us to the diversified applications of logic in mathematics, science, engineering and even business. Although this course was initially conceived for undergrads, it is equally helpful for both interested secondary school students and even graduate students who are not familiar with the content.

Average Rating: 4.3/5 on the Coursera Community

Course Fee: The course contents are available for free, but in order to earn a certificate one has to pay Rs. 5079. Like always with Coursera, financial aid is available.

Link to Course: Logic On Coursera

8. Computer Graphics by Ravi Ramamoorthy (University of California, San Diego)

Platform: edX

Computer graphics forms an integral part of our lives, be it in movies, games, cameras or computer simulation. If all these domains intrigue you and if learning the art of creating images of 3D scenes excites you, this course is for you! Although on paper, this is an introductory course in Computer Graphics, it’s pretty rigorous and requires hours of dedicated coding. Having a good grasp of C/C++ languages, along with a solid foundation in high school mathematics is essential for this course. However, if you’re ready to sweat it out, the knowledge you’ll gain from this course is extremely valuable.

Average Rating: 4/5 on the edX Community

Course Fee: It’s completely free. The verified certificate option is currently closed.

Link to Course: CSE167x-1

9. Developing Android Apps by Google

Platform: Udacity

What could possibly be better than learning the Android platform from Google itself? If the sheer brilliance of the dozens of Android apps on your smartphone has amazed you and you can’t wait to make your own apps, this is the ultimate course for you. This offering from Udacity is the first course in the Google certified Android Developer Nanodegree, and the first step towards embarking on an exciting career as an Android developer. This course starts from the very basics of mobile development and provides a step-by-step procedure to build a cloud connected Android App in the correct way.

Average Rating: Not available

Course Fee: Free? Yes, this one is available for free

Link to Course: Learn Android On Udacity

interaction_design

10. “Human-Centered Design: An Introduction” in Interactive Design specialization by UCSD

Platform: Coursera

Are you a professional graphic designer or a free time doodler? If not, do you simply possess an enthusiasm to learn more about design that envelops us through various machine platforms? Then probably you can give a shot to the aforementioned course. With a very basic introduction the course simply guide you to the principles of Human Computer Interaction. In the process you will suddenly discover that you already amalgamated electronic digital services with art, making you successful as a designer and user both.

Average Rating: 4.6/5 in Coursera Community

Course Fee: Priced at Rs. 2641, this one also follows Coursera policies and can be offered as a free course if you happen to be a needy student. Learn more about Financial Aids on the site itself.
Link to Course: Interaction Design On Coursera

Those are the top 10 courses that I believe every engineer interested to learn about Computer Science should follow. That brings me to the topic of appealing to you all for building a fruitful discussion about the best MOOC courses in Computer Science. Please care to share your favorites with us so that in long term, we can come up with a list of courses ( here it’s computer science ). Also, tune in for more in upcoming articles targeting Data Science, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Bio, Engineering and many more. Till then, enjoy learning!​
Ankita Katdare

Ankita Katdare

Computer Science
22 Feb 2017
This is a great list. I am thinking that we can have a course on PHP and HTML/CSS each in this list. It's the most needed for developing web applications and this list could be handy for startup owners and budding developers.

Wondering if anyone else has any few good course names to add to this list. Tagging a few - @simplycoder @Praveen-Kumar @vinod12345madhu @Vishal0203 @Satya Swaroop Dash @Amit Kumar Jha @Anoop Kumar @proffy @Dipankar Ganguly
22 Feb 2017
A few cents from me:
  • Pluralsight
  • CodeSchool
  • TeamTreeHouse
Amit Jha

Amit Jha

Electronic
22 Feb 2017
@Debasmita Banerjee - The list is simply great ! It will help many enthusiasts to learn new skills and to excel further in their academics. From the above list my favorite ones are -

2. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from “Learn Program and Analyze Data With Python” specialization by Charles Severance (University of Michigan)


4. Introduction to HTML5 and Introduction to CSS3 from “Learn to Design and Create Specialization” by Colleen Van Lent (2 courses) ( University of Michigan)

and i feel these are some of the best online learning resources available in Coursera, especially for those who are complete beginners in the field of programming.

Further, i would also like to suggest the following resources which are not only free to access but are also great for self learning -

1. How To Build A Website From Start To Finish -
If any one of you are into Website design stuff and want to get full idea of how it gets done, this YouTube video series is completely for you . You can click on the heading(link) to access the complete series which consists of 26 videos which teaches how to frame a complete website and host it using GitHub and Jekyll.

2. Khan Academy - Its my all time favorite. It contains stuffs ranging from mathematics to computer science to economics to everything. Those who are interested in computer science can learn basics of Graphics design, Javascript, HTML, CSS and even communicate with experts to get a hang of advanced courses. Its completely free and uses both video + interactive GUI based teaching methods. Click on the header( link ) to check it out.

Apart from these free resources, there are NPTEL video series which i would highly recommend to students who wants to stick to their technical line. Covering a wide range of topics, these videos were created by IIT mentors and is really helpful for GATE and IES aspirants. Though these courses are available on subscription as these courses provide certificate, they can be accessed for free on YouTube if you want to pursue learning without opting for any certificates.

Some few online resources like -
1. Codecademy - Provides easy way to learn languages like Python, Ruby, HTML, CSS, etc. Codecademy is for those who quickly want to learn language syntax and develop quick small projects.

2. MATLAB Community - MATLAB software is something really very cool. You can not only design and simulate your technical projects but can also develop DIY stuffs related to IoT, Arduino, and many more.You just simply can't think of what wonders MATLAB software can bring to your life. There are many free resources available for students in the MATLAB community and they organize monthly( free )webinars for their registered users. You can check the link by clicking on the header as this software is pretty useful for Engineers and Scientists

I hope my friends will find this list useful !
Anoop Kumar

Anoop Kumar

Branch Unspecified
01 Mar 2017
Great post @Debasmita Banerjee .
Few months back I started looking for online courses.
I have completed the following course and few data science courses.
Debasmita Banerjee
5. “Machine Learning” by Andrew Ng ( Stanford University)
Platform
: Coursera
Debasmita Banerjee
Today, we all know about it, but the numbers of courses are so badly cluttered that we think twice before we jump in, before we put faith and sometimes money on the line.
.
👍👍

Online courses are just great. Now we have such easy access to internet with high speed we can find almost every lesson learned from pre-nursery to Graduation. Mostly free and from great teachers.
I wonder if we have access to videos like following when we were in school.
How amazing and simple explanation.



Adding one more source for Data science and Big data:
Big Data University

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