The Amazing Colossal Lifelong Learning Ketchup


Taking inspiration from some guy who decided to do a self learning journey through the entire MIT CS undergrad education in 1 year, I’m curious how I stand after spending 1 year doing something in the same spirit.  There was quite a bit of overlap of my own undergrad education and that of the MIT CS undergrad, so let’s see how I would stack up if I were to attempt the MIT CS 1 Year Learning Challenge.  

8.01: Physics I – Classical Mechanics – COMPLETED @ UIUC

18.01: Single Variable Calculus – COMPLETED in High School

18.02: Multi-Variable Calculus – COMPLETED in High School

8.02: Physics II – Electromagnetism – COMPLETED @ UIUC

6.01: Introduction to EE and CS I – COMPLETED @ UIUC

5.111: Principles of Chemical Science – COMPLETED @ UIUC (I will count this as Orgo)

7.012: Introduction to Biology – COMPLETED @ UIUC (I will count my microbiology)

18.03: Differential Equations – COMPLETED @ UIUC

6.02: Introduction to EE and CS II – COMPLETED @ UIUC

6.042J: Mathematics for Computer Science – TBD 

6.006: Introduction to Algorithms – COMPLETED with Coursera

18.06: Linear Algebra – TBD with Coursera

6.041: Probabilistic Systems Analysis – TBD

6.002: Circuits and Electronics – COMPLETED @ UIUC

6.046J: Design and Analysis of Algorithms – COMPLETED with Coursera

6.034: Artificial Intelligence – TBD with EDX

6.003: Signals and Systems – COMPLETED @ UIUC

6.004: Computation Structures – TBD

24.241: Logic I – COMPLETED with Coursera

14.01: Principles of Microeconomics – TBD?

6.033: Computer Systems Engineering – COMPLETED @ UIUC & futher on Coursera

6.013: Electromagnetics and Applications – COMPLETED @ UIUC (I will count Power Circuits towards this goal)

14.02: Principles of Macroeconomics – TBD?

24.242: Logic II – TBD

6.011: Intro to Comm., Control and Signals – COMPLETED @ UIUC

24.244: Modal Logic – TBD

14.20: Industrial Organization – TBD

14.23: Government Regulation of Industry – TBD?

14.48J: Economics of Education – TBD?

6.005: Elements of Software Construction – TBD

6.801: Machine Vision – TBD

6.837: Computer Graphics – TBD

COSC 545: Theory of Computation – TBD

I’m not sure I’d actually want to complete the rest of this course list!  I’m very glad I am not forced to jump through these hoops.

I count Coursera curriculum as part of some hypothetical uber undergrad curriculum based on the level of rigor of the coursework.  Comparatively, the Coursera (Edx, etc) coverage will go far beyond that of any single undergrad major in breadth and sometimes in depth, without going into the details of research and papercraft!  

Mirroring the MIT Challenge FAQ, my Endless Coursera Et All Challenge FAQ.

Here’s my progress after one year.

Completed Fall 2011 

  • Intro to C Programming – UW Online * CS61A – UC Berkeley (Part 1/3)
  • Relational Databases – Stanford (no samples) Completed Spring 2012 

Completed Spring 2011

  • Software Engineering for Saas in Ruby on Rails – UC Berkeley 
  • Natural Language Processing – Stanford (1/4)
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms I Part 1 – Stanford
  • Udacity CS101 – Building a Search Engine
  • Game Theory – Stanford 
  • CS61A – UC Berkeley (Part 2/3)

Completed Summer 2012 

  • Algorithms I – Princeton 
  •  Networked Life – UPenn Completed Fall 2012

Completed Fall 2012

  • Statistics One – Princeton
  • Computing for Data Analysis – John Hopkins 
  • Introduction to mathematical thinking – Stanford – Lectures only
  • Web Intelligence – IIT  

Currently In Progress Fall 2012 

  • Functional Programming Principles in Scala – EPFL 
  • EDX CS188 – Berkeley 
  • Mathematical Biostatistics Bootcamp – John Hopkins
  • Computational Investing – Gtech 
  • CS61A – Berkeley (Part 3/3)

What rules am I following?
Coursera is definitely easier to delineate completion as it was designed to be taken in a self-study format.  However, I am also supplementing with EDX, Udacity, Berkeley, and any other online material that is sufficiently polished to cowboy on.  

Unless specified, I am doing all the following for “Class Completion”:
  • Watch all posted lectures
  • Do all in lecture quizzes
  • Do all assigned quizzes and homeworks
  • Do all non-optional programming assignments
  • Do all programming projects as long as they have some sort of unit tests or test cases written so that I can quickly measure my progress. 
  • Attempt to complete course within the time constraint that the class is in session or sooner

Because I hate exams, I generally do not do them unless it’s a math class.  Generally these online classes will automatically grant certificates based on achieving at least a 70% in the class, so I do not have to do that measurement myself.  I do aim for a score that I would be happy with if this were my GPA though.

Why do this?

I am not sadistic. I just feel like this is actually the path of least resistance to gaining knowledge.  I believe failing and trying again and sometimes taking longer than others is part of the learning process.  If I don’t complete a class within time constraints, I continue until I finish.  In the normal time-constrained world, that would be counted as failure — end of story.  I am doing this as part of an exploratory process that can only be simulated if I were to stay in college for decades.  

Is there No Failure?

Sometimes I have encountered classes I just cannot stomach or I just can’t seem to make any headway into.  Those I will abandon readily but with great sadness! 

What’s Next?

There’s quite a few more Courseras on my list in my bigger list of things I’d like to achieve personally. 
  • Go back and review some Calculus and Linear Algebra with the upcoming Courseras
  • Learn more Chinese with Memrise.com
  • With the undergrad curriculum as a guideline, use Coursera to further that as well as for my own exploratory desires
  • Start and finish a personal project
  • Get to 300K on Vocabulary.com!
  • Work on my colossal reading list, see also the Amazing Colossal Science Fiction Ketchup
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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Oct 27, 2012 @ 20:27:47

    Udacity is offering a course in 3D graphics. Somehow it is JavaScript based? Would be nice to learn quaternions.

    Reply

  2. Anonymous
    Oct 29, 2012 @ 03:53:16

    3d graphics is definitely on my learning wishlist! Hmm… I will have to look into this. I think I want to check out Unity eventually too.

    Reply

  3. bytex64
    Oct 31, 2012 @ 01:52:52

    Maybe it uses <a href="https://github.com/mrdoob/three.js">three.js</a&gt;.Unity is a good start for making games. It’ll definitely shield you from the more insane parts of 3D graphics. Quaternions are up there with linear algebra as something I just sort of nod my head and smile at. I know they work, but I couldn’t tell you how.

    Reply

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