June 15, 2017 (Vol. 37, No. 12)


Strong Points: Large collection of free online minicourses
Weak Points: None


Big Data University is a wonderful community initiative by IBM that provides free online courses to start learning data science. At present, approximately 50 courses are available. The majority of courses are labeled as “beginner” courses, though there are a few “intermediate” courses, as well. Each course is accompanied by a description and syllabus, as well as a list of course statistics, such as the target audience, course level, and time to complete. The courses are short, typically requiring only 3–5 hours to complete, and are completely self-paced. To enroll in a course, users simply need to register for an account on the site. Beyond single courses, students have the opportunity to earn “badges” that signify particular levels of competence by completing a set of related courses. The site also recommends themed “learning paths” that are comprised of particular combinations of courses.

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