After start-ups like Coursera, Codecademy and Udacity redefined MOOC, its been a little confusing for newbie learners about which platform is better and hos. Actually, I am currently taking a class on Programming Languages on Coursera and also learning programming on Codecademy. I have taken a look at Udacity which also a brilliant MOOC platform.

But there are many unknown leaning platforms which have not yet gained popularity like I know it's just a collection of learning resource but still I came to know about it just know. There is also Udemy which is kind of paid learning platform. There are many others of which I don't know currently. Like Edmodo which is came to know about via the Crunchies Awards.

I would like to take a look at some more learning platforms so that I can find which platform is good aand how and for whom. I would like to request everybody to contribute there experiences (review) of using such learning platforms, be it free or paid, MOOC or something else. Please list out every learning platform out there so that avid learners can get to know about them.

asked 07 Feb '13, 10:55

Ashutosh's gravatar image


As a platform, I prefer Udacity over all the others because they have high quality in-browser programming exercises. Still the best coursera classes I have taken, Andrew Ng's and Geoffrey Hinton's, have better content than anything I have taken at Udacity.

I think the main difference is that coursera (and EdX) makes it easy for teachers to put up content and they cast a wide net. The result is that you have a huge number of classes and a lot of diversity in quality. By contrast Udacity insists that professors record on site. They spend a lot of time refining each class. The result is a smaller set of classes of generally higher quality. But they have less world class professors.

As for codeacademy, khan academy, and the others you mentioned I have too little experience to say much.


answered 07 Feb '13, 11:08

Ben%20Haley's gravatar image

Ben Haley

Yes you are right. Coursera, Udacity and EdX are currently the best MOOC's out there. I will try EdX soon. Thanks Ben!
(07 Feb '13, 13:28) Ashutosh Ashutosh's gravatar image
I have to agree. Udacity is vastly superior in production quality, user friendliness and integration, but Coursera really leads the pack in terms of content. I think the main difference is, that Udacity wants to maximize the total utility rendered to students, thereby prefering common, attractive and "approachable" subjects with hundreds of thousands of students, whereas coursera targets mainly elite professors, and those then target a specific audience they have in mind, which can be pretty narrow.
(11 Feb '13, 15:38) BayesianHorse BayesianHorse's gravatar image
Good comparison. I would qualify slightly and say - Udacity wants to maximize the total utility rendered to students per unit staff effort. I think Coursera's greater number of classes means it is probably reaching more students, but it is getting a lot of labor from the partner universities. Does anyone have order of magnitude estimates for the number of students in Udacity classes? I see about 20 Udacity classes right now. From what I have seen in Coursera, I am guessing they have ~100 classes (221 listed, but many are upcoming) with ~10k average students each (ranging from say ~1k to ~100k depending on class, average of my classes has been more like 30k but I'm guessing that is biased high). It would be better to quote successful completions, but I see those numbers less often.
(11 Feb '13, 18:55) rseiter ♦ rseiter's gravatar image

Some others to add to your list:

Indiana Universty's Information Visualization MOOC
HPI's Semantic Web Technologies
Sante Fe Institute's Introduction to Complexity

There are more if you search the AIqus forums (e.g. Google Powersearch, Hillsdale College history and constitution classes, etc.)


answered 07 Feb '13, 11:15

rseiter's gravatar image

rseiter ♦
6.7k741 lists (and rates) courses from several different providers.


answered 09 Feb '13, 11:52

Tgr's gravatar image


Best means what serves your needs best. Decide what you want to get out your online learning experience, and choose among the available tools. I find that Udacity, Coursera, and edX all fit my needs.

I think (fully knowing that these are generalizations) that if you need a learning environment closer to the college experience, then Coursera will be a better fit. If you're looking for a more innovative learning environment for your CS needs, you'll find Udacity to be pretty amazing. I love Udacity and like Coursera, and find that both fit my needs well. The edX class on AI was very good, though the platform didn't meet 100% of my needs. But these are only my opinions about what works best for me... be sure to look around and form your own.

IMO, the best learning platform I've seen is Udacity's. Integrated programming exercises, short, digestible videos that take advantage of the online learning experience, as opposed to "classroom in a video". Some really outstanding instructors.

To riff off of Ben Haley's response from earlier: I found Andrew Ng's class on Machine Learning to be one of the best of Coursera, and I highly recommend it, but I think it'd be a degree of magnitude better on Udacity's platform. Geoffrey Hinton's course on Neural Networks was, for me, a complete bust. He was unwatchable, IMO. (Again, this just my opinion; judge for yourself!) That class for me represents what happens when you don't embrace the unique challenges of online learning, and try to cram a classroom experience onto the Web. Perhaps, however, Ben's personal experiences and tastes led him to appreciate the class more than I.

If you want to learn to code, I can endorse codeacademy. If you want to learn Python, codeacademy + Udacity will serve you well. There's also an Interactive Programming in Python class on Coursera that will recur again. The path I am taking to learn how to code is as above, plus Udacity's course by the co-founder of Reddit on Web Application Engineering. I'm trying to build a useful web site that contains a digital product that I can sell.

Again, YMMV. There are also practical courses and tutorials that you can buy from Udemy, Lynda, and others.


answered 09 Feb '13, 16:52

smjohns's gravatar image


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