Coursera vs edX

I wanted to use MOOC for getting some education about Big Data, data science and machine learning. Some time ago I did an attempt at Coursera to follow Andrew Ng’s course on machine learning, but found it difficult to keep up. Afterwards I explored Udacity, and was only moderately enthusiastic. As these MOOC courses are also meant for “learning on the go” offering short videos, I think a good mobile app is important. Udacity’s app is clearly inferior to its website, and subscribing to a new course does not get updated in the app quickly. So bye bye Udacity.

coursera_logo1Updating myself about the options for 2016 I also encountered edX which gets a lot of praise on the web. Undecided about both options (Coursera vs edX) I took a course at both. Personally I was disappointed in edX. Course content is okay, but also here the app needs an update: screen sizes on iPhone 6 (Plus) are not supported (you get a stretched version of the iPhone 5 app) and even worse… no iPad version! Sorry?

Moreover, during DS101x the progress screen always showed a 4 weeks course and I am almost certain this was mentioned in the beginning too. I also based my time schedule on 4 weeks. After finishing the 4th week and having paid for the certification, suddenly a 5th week appeared. Nice to learn abou Bayesian stats, but not now actually. So I can choose: was $99 or quickly find some time to watch the videos and pass for the exercices. Not funny.

Finally, I find questions ambiguous and therefore easy questions can be difficult to answer. Not really helpful.

In contrast, Coursera’s Big Data Specialization is a delight… Good videos, good app (you do not even need a computer in the beginning) and clear questions. Clear instructions on how to use the virtual machine. Clear feedback on progress and finishing a course. That’s how I like it!

So based on my experience so far, Coursera is a clear winner here! Obviously I can only judge based on the courses that I took, and I intend to give edX another chance for their Python course. With hesitation though…

Hope this helps someone who is also looking on where to spend time (and maybe money) to learn…

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