UC Berkeley has joined edX, the online-learning initiative founded by Harvard University and MIT, and details are available of six new courses for Fall 2012.
It was only a day ago that we commented that edX, launched in May, had not yet announced any courses. Overnight the edX website has been given a fresh look and there are seven courses on offer.
From MIT there's a re-run of 6.002x: Circuits and Electronics, the inaugural course that was used as a proving ground for the methods used for online delivery of already established undergraduate classes.
There are two introductory computer science courses to choose between. MIT's is 6.00x: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, described as:
an introduction to using computation to solve real problems. The course is aimed at students with little or no prior programming experience who have a desire (or at least a need) to understand computational approaches to problem solving.
Prerequisites are high school algebra an a aptitude for math and the estimated effort is 12 hours per week from October 1st to January 14.
The alternative is Harvard's CS50x: Introduction to Computer Science I, the on-campus version of which was Harvard's third-largest course in Fall 2011 and is described as a:
demanding but doable introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming
It is for students with or without prior programming experience and it requires completion of 8 problems sets (15-20 hours each) 2 quizzes and a final project between October 15 and April 15.
UC Berkeley's two courses are for those with programming experience.
CS188.1x Artificial Intelligence involves Python programming and you also need math, specifically probability. This course last 8 weeks, September 24 to November 16 requires 15 hour per week:
It will introduce the basic ideas and techniques underlying the design of intelligent computer systems. A specific emphasis will be on the statistical and decision–theoretic modeling paradigm. By the end of this course, you will have built autonomous agents that efficiently make decisions in stochastic and in adversarial settings.
CS169.1x: Software as a Service:
teaches the fundamentals for engineering long–lasting software using highly–productive Agile techniques to develop Software as a Service (SaaS) using Ruby on Rails.
it requires proficiency in an object-oriented languages such as Java, C#, C++, Python or Ruby. Lasting only 5 weeks, September 24 to October 26, it requires 12 hours per week with weekly coding assignments.
Each of these courses will issue edX certificates to those who successfully complete them with the name of the university where the course originated. For Fall 2012 certificates will be free but there is a plan to charge a modest fee in future.
With both Coursera and Udacity also offering courses on Computer Science and AI, and Coursera also having a SaaS class, there is now a real choice for anyone with a desire to learn more and gain credentials. And as all these classes are free there is nothing to lose by trying them out.