Thursday, 01 December 2011 17:29

Free IT and Business courses from Stanford University


Commencing in January 2012, Stanford University is running a number of on-line based courses.  Dive in!  Be educated!

Following on from a tradition dating back a few years, Stanford University is again running free education in a wide variety of Computing, Business and Science topics.

In 2012, sixteen courses are available under a variety of categories (each course has its own web site):



  • Anatomy is exactly what it claims to be.

Civil Engineering:

Electrical Engineering:

  • Information Theory is the science of operations on data such as compression, storage and communication; this course is based around Shannon's Law.

Complex Systems:

  • Model Thinking examines the interaction of complex systems such as one sees in the behaviour of people.

Computer Science:

  • CS 101 covers the essentials of Computer Science and assumes no prior knowledge.
  • Machine Learning deals with the creation of systems that are self-operating and self-learning.
  • Software as a Service uses the Agile development methodology to produce long-lived software based on Ruby on Rails.
  • Human-Computer Interaction looks at rapid prototyping techniques aimed at evaluating multiple user interface alternatives.
  • Natural Language Processing looks at the fundamental algorithms and mathematical models for human language processing.
  • Game Theory looks at the mathematical modeling of strategic interaction amongst both rational and irrational agents.  This is the underlying theme of the movie 'A Beautiful Mind.'
  • Probabilistic Graphical Models gives students the basic foundation to model beliefs about the different possible states of the world and provides an essential tool for anyone who wants to learn how to reason coherently from limited and noisy observations.
  • Cryptography takes a broad look at cryptographic primitives and how to correctly use them.
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms I looks at the fundamental principles of algorithm design.
  • Computer Security assists students to design secure systems and to write secure code.  In addition, students will learn how to find vulnerabilities in code and how to design systems that avoid such problems.

According to all of the provided links, courses will be delivered as short (8 - 12 minute) video chunks with around 2 hours of content per week.  Successful completion of tests and other work will earn students a "certificate of completion."

Full descriptions for all courses are available via the links provided, as are the enrolment links (all you need is a name and an email address!).

Good luck, study hard.

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David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.





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