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AI Class: Week One

Stanford's AI-Class

Stanford's AI-Class: Image from ai-class.com

Back in August I signed up to the free Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class being offered by Stanford University, it’s finally got underway and a week in, I thought I should jot down first impressions.

The Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course is taught via a series of video lectures. They can be viewed all at once or as individual lessons. AI-Class has the sense of a fun interactive experiment. It’s a bit like an adult version of those V-TEC laptops we buy our kids, but with deadlines and homework.

Most of the learning points are reinforced with a multiple choice quiz. There is a real sense of achievement in getting the answer right. What still amazes me is the fact I am one of 160,000 or so students from 190 countries taking part in the class.

Yes, there have been a few technical glitches with the video, with accessing content, but I’m guessing the level of response to the course has exceeded all expectations.

I obviously can’t speak for all my ‘fellow classmates’ but it feels like we’re part of something innovative. In my post back in August I mentioned that I was intrigued to see how this differed from the Open University, I’ll wait until the end of the course to make comparisons.

As expected though, this feels exciting – I guess as much for Stanford as for the students. A couple of years ago there was a BBC Digital Planet programme (as it was called then) which talked about the future of Open Access education (What Stanford calls a distributed education system.)

The programme talked about the future of education – being able to connect people to great teachers, to extend their teaching reach. The programme, which has stuck with me, is worth a listen. This class feels like the aspirations being talked about in that programme.

If you read the Twitter stream of @aiclass, it’s full of tweets from people all over the world thanking the guys from Stanford just for the opportunity of being able to take part.

It’s only been seven days, and at the time of writing my first homework assignment has yet to be graded, but I’m glad I’m able to participate.



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