Anyone taking classes on both platforms? I'm interested in hearing how they compare. I'm currently working through last fall's Stanford database class at my own pace. I have to say, while the content is great, the platform for that class just doesn't stack up to Udacity. So far the in-lecture quizzes are less numerous and consist exclusively of multiple-choice questions. Also, at 10 - 25 minutes, the instructional videos tend to be longer than those of Udacity. This makes it more difficult to stop and start within a unit, and I have to commit larger contiguous blocks of time to working on the course (tough when you have two small children.) However, since the DB class is not actually on the Coursera platform, this isn't really a fair comparison.
Any thoughts from people with experience with both?
Also, I have to think Udacity gained some first-mover advantage after the Coursera classes were delayed due to issues with Stanford administration. Honestly, I was initially planning on taking a Coursera class over Udacity. However, once those classes were delayed I signed up here for CS101 and now I'm locked in. I'll be taking three more Udacity classes starting in April. Who knows when I'll get around to Coursera.
Edit: Man, everyone is so gracious. I was really hoping to stoke the fires of an online university rivalry. Udacity vs. Coursera could be the unaccredited online computer science program version of Ohio State vs. Michigan, Alabama vs. Auburn, or Oxford vs. Cambridge (for you Europeans).
Udacity vs. Coursera
Video Host: Udacity
Design - Udacity
Content/Difficulty/Teachers - Tie
Right now overall I prefer Udacity, although part of the reason is superficial (ie comparison #4). But I also just like the spirit or culture or whatever you call it better. It's more cohesive since it's all being developed in one place and they've made their content free to distribute. But I like both.
Have you ever heard this little parable: if you gave a caveman a stove, you'd think they'd cook on it. But they wouldn't because they wouldn't change their concept of cooking; instead they would use the stove to start their campfire and keep doing what they've been doing.
Pedagogically, Udacity is cooking on the stove.
In the Coursera crypto class, the professor there even said directly that the questions during the lectures are just there to make the video more interesting. I can attest that the in-lecture questions are not learning steps, as they are in Udacity. By the way, with Udacity I wouldn't even use the phrase "in-lecture" because here it isn't just a 20 minute desktop lecture with some superficial interactivity thrown in.
The Coursera algorithms class is better, but it still isn't skill-building in its structure like CS101. Like the crypto class, the algorithms class so far is in its essence an information delivery system, and not a training program.
We shouldn't be surprised as they are the regular Stanford classes; they're required to cook over the campfire. And to be clear, I don't mean to belittle traditional instruction. I'm belittling the failure to get full use of new tools through changing the way things are done.
answered 24 Mar '12, 15:45
They are both excellent. I look forward to taking lots of courses from both... :-)
answered 16 Mar '12, 17:19
Personally, I hope both initiatives are successful. My personal preference in format leans toward Udacity at the moment, but it's still early. As they grow and are able to build larger teams of developers and designers, I expect to see a lot of changes on both sides. Right now, though, I'm just excited to have access to these incredible instructors and I'm looking forward to learning as much as I can for free.
answered 16 Mar '12, 17:01
How come nopbody has said anything about the people (other than teachers)? Or perhaps I missed it, so I'll say it:
The community in Udacity, at least in this course IS GREAT. I feel like more warmth, both from the teachers and students. The Udacity community is muc much more alive and active than the one at Coursera, at least in the NLP course. I feel like people are just studying there, here people are helping each other. For example, I saw a post about unenrolling there, people just told the poster how to do it. Now, people who want to quit here have been encouraged not to do so. The example is trivial but it shows how there is more warmth here. I like that.
answered 20 Mar '12, 03:58
I am currently taking courses on coursera, MITx and obviously udacity. So, I guess I can talk about their strengths and weaknesses!
I definitely prefer the udacity course over all the courses at coursera. The obvious reason is that in udacity, you can actually learn step by step and when you get stuck, you know exactly where you are in the material. In coursera and MITx, it's not this way. The videos are much longer in both coursera and MITx.
Also, in udacity, you actually feel more engaged in the lectures. It's like having a tutor by your side! You see the instructor's hand as he explains the concepts, and you get to do lots of quizes. You actually retain the material learned at udacity better.
Having talked about the good sides of udacity, I'll honestly say that the MITx course is also very good and (In my own opinion) better than udacity in some ways (although, these can easily be fixed).
Firstly, MITx's course actually gives you a book which you can read to gain more understanding. Secondly, MITx's course provides a 'playground' where you can play around with concepts. You can actually build circuits and see how they work. Thirdly, MITx's course videos are much sharper than those at both coursera and udacity. Also, I must confess that the formating, color and presentation of the MITx page and course is just great! They really put in lots of hours into making their course. Although I think MITx is great, I still prefer udacity to MITx because udacity is more 'hands on' compared to the other courses. I've had a better experience at udacity because they actually give you the important material and not unnecessary detail (Coursera and MITx are really found of giving such detail). I believe it's easier to follow the udacity course more than the others because it's just awesomely structured!
In the future, I see udacity being better than coursera and MITx for one reason - they are still under the control of the various institutions, while udacity is free to teach nontraditional courses (like the one about self driving cars! I must confess that that's a brilliant idea for a class.)
If I was to change two things about udacity to make it better, the first will be the formatting (and color) of the pages and then I will add a 'playground' for practicing at anytime. Just doing these two things will significantly improve the user experience. One suggestion for the udacity team is to teach using books which are freely available on the web so students can refer to sections to read up what they don't fully understand.
In general, if I had to rank the three learning systems from best to worst, it will be Udacity, MITx and Coursera.
answered 27 Mar '12, 00:37
i'm taking the course on MITx. it's definitely more challenging and it's obvious they put alot of work into it. what i can say for both platforms is the lecturers are great, and i think that's what's most important. at the moment i have a soft spot for udacity. i'm primarily taking the MITx course because i thought it would be cool to have an MIT certificate.
answered 16 Mar '12, 17:42
Leks Mak Ste...
Udacity wins by a significant amount, namely:
The only aspect that coursera is better is the on the grader feedback tool. However that can be emulated by using python on your machine.
I'm looking forward to the CS 253 -- Web Application Engineering.
answered 18 Mar '12, 12:42
Both of them are excellent.
The right step Udacity is taking is teaching a basic level course such as CS 101 that is absolutely required for newbies. After completing this course, we can move to any other courses.
Most of the Stanford courses are advanced level meaning they require a certain level of expertise in programming. I wish they could have started with their CS 101 course.
Udacity vs. Coursera
answered 16 Mar '12, 17:40