Stanford offers free CS, robotics courses

Sep 17, 2008

Stanford University has launched a series of 10 free, online computer science (CS) and electrical engineering courses. The courses span an introduction to computer science and an introduction to artificial intelligence and robotics, among other topics.

The free courses are being offered “to students and educators around the world” under the auspices of Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE). Each course comprises downloadable video lectures, handouts, assignments, exams, and transcripts.

The courses are nearly identical to what’s offered to enrolled Stanford students, according to the University. However, those taking courses through SEE are not eligible to receive Stanford credit for them.

Course participants do not register, and have no direct contact with Stanford instructors or professors. They do, however, have the ability to communicate online with other SEE students. A detailed SEE FAQ is available here.

The University says SEE’s initial courses include “one of Stanford’s most popular engineering sequences: the three-course Introduction to Computer Science taken by the majority of Stanford undergraduates, and seven more advanced courses in artificial intelligence and electrical engineering.”

Specifically, SEE’s first 12 courses are…

Course videos can be viewed using YouTube, iTunes, Vyew, WMV Torrent, and MP4 Torrent. Here, for example, is lecture 1 of the Introduction to Robotics course, as a YouTube video:



Introduction to Robotics, Lecture 1
(Click image to view)

The SEE courses have been released under a Creative Commons license, in order to “[encourage] educators and learners around the world to incorporate the video courses and materials into their educational endeavors and to form virtual communities around the classes,” the University says.

The license under which the courses are being released is the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. According to the University, this license stipulates that “original content [can] be the remixed, tweaked, and built into new non-commercial content as long as the original source is credited and the new creations are distributed under the identical terms.”

As noted, the courses are nearly identical to the ones offered to Stanford’s registered students. However, some content has been omitted in cases where a copyright holder’s consent could not be obtained for releasing the material under the Creative Commons license. There are also “a few other exceptions,” according to the University.

Jim Plummer, dean of the Stanford Engineering School, says the University is “excited to extend our teaching and learning opportunities worldwide through SEE. We hope SEE will enable a broad range of people to learn, to share their ideas and to make their own contributions to knowledge.”

For further information, visit the program’s landing page at Stanford Engineering Everywhere.




PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

44 Responses to “Stanford offers free CS, robotics courses”

  1. Frustrated I am says:

    It could be a good idea.

    However, it is unfortunate that it sems to be for MS Windows only ( – .wmv file? Why not MPEG?).

    It is unfortunate that a university involved in computer science education, appears oblivious to the need for multi-platform computing and education involving multi-platform computing.

    That shows a deficiency in the understanding of computing by the university, and, lessens the value of its teachings.

    Oh, well, maybe another university will try the same thing, but with more proficient computing education, and, demonstrating a better knowledge of computing.

  2. Art says:

    >It is unfortunate that a university involved in computer science education, appears oblivious to the need for multi-platform computing and education involving multi-platform computing.

    >That shows a deficiency in the understanding of computing by the university, and, lessens the value of its teachings.

    >Oh, well, maybe another university will try the same thing, but with more proficient computing education, and, demonstrating a better knowledge of computing.

    I am getting this just fine on my Mac Air iTunes.

    Sadly, some people will never be satisfied even when they get a free education. Yes, you may have to suffer the inconvenience of not having it in the exact format you want. Learning this material — if having to load it on iTunes is too difficult for you, then you really should not be taking this self-study course.

  3. Awesome says:

    Thanks! I will definitely go over these. Gives me something cool to do instead of drooling and thinking about “worthless” stuff.

  4. nelix says:

    Art: This might shock you. But many people run platforms which have no wmv decoder, or have ethical reasons for not running proprietary software (because perhaps, they would prefer to choose what hardware they own, and what software they use?)

    The idea that it’s a mater of intelligence seems a little rich.

    Some people will not be happy until people provide information in a manner that they can consume.

    Some people will always be ignorant of other peoples needs, because those needs do not match there own.

  5. dude says:

    If you guys were really interested in taking this course, you’d be finding ways to convert or view those files on a mac instead of wining here about “other people’s needs”. its a university course given to you for FREE people! (ps im a mac user)

  6. some other dude says:

    So lets see if I get this straight, there are only 2 Operative Systems in the world, Windows and Mac. and in Mac only inteligent people get to view .wmv files, inteligent meaning having iTunes installed.

    What about the other HUNDREDS of OSs out there you retard !!!

  7. the best says:

    Guys, read the article:

    Course videos can be viewed using YouTube, iTunes, Vyew, WMV Torrent, and MP4 Torrent. On my Ubuntu system I can open youtube, MP4 decoders can be found for a LOT of operating systems …

    In fact unless you are on a unix box or in a linux text only mode I think there are enough options to access the course, if even then you cannot access it use a frelling live CD like KNOPPIX or somthing like that to watch it through youtube, if you choose an OS that cannot handle MP4 or youtube you should be technically literate enough to solve this problem, else you would not be using that particular OS anyways

  8. jtravis says:

    Skip the wmv/mpg, for platform independence its offered through Youtube and this new service Vyew.com. Through Vyew, you actually get all of it in one — the lectures, videos and audio in once place.

  9. noid says:

    download file
    open VLC Player
    take the course
    enjoy.

    but first you gotta stop whining xD

  10. Dumax says:

    imho, if they want to release those videos in any file “format” they want, it’s their choice, they’re giving you that for free, like “dude” said, if you’re interested enough in watching these files, look for a way to convert them and stop whining, they give you the tools, you learn how to use them…

  11. Heero says:

    “download file
    open VLC Player
    take the course
    enjoy.

    but first you gotta stop whining xD”

    More clear than the water dude… Stop being so… so… dont know how to say it in english, but the word in spanish is “hembrita”, and look the way to see those videos in your pc.

  12. Gregg says:

    What a truly odd discussion. Anybody have comments on the idea of free courses or their content. I would like to see more introductory material that are prerequisites. The subjects are of great interest, but it is almost 30 years since I got my EE and CS degrees. A refresher seminar on Linear algebra would be very useful.

  13. Humored says:

    So lets see if I get this straight, there are only 2 Operating Systems in the world, Windows and Mac. and in Mac only inteligent people get to view .wmv files, inteligent meaning having iTunes installed.

    “inteligent” Only excusable if you’re a programmer.

    What about the other HUNDREDS of OSs out there you retard !!!

    Oh the irony.

  14. Tyrone says:

    Nice to see there are more options for this information but MIT opencouseware http://ocw.mit.edu/ has been available for years and I doubt they were the first.

    > A refresher seminar on Linear algebra would be very useful.

    They do have video for linear algebra and differential equations on the MIT site.

    UC Berkeley is also doing video webcasts for its introductory courses:
    http://webcast.berkeley.edu/

  15. Tihomir Stoev says:

    That is compiled information for god`s sake. What the hell do you want. A “Matrix” kind of learning? OK there is nothing perfect, but someone has decided to give this free, compiled and that is good enought.

    I do not care in which format it is, even pure txt file will be ok. That is compiled knowledge, and compiled knowledge is really difficult to find these days.

    I just visited a page of some new 3D browser and I am shocked. What the hell is
    going on!! Internet is about the information not the stupid pictures and the shiny colors.

    So do not dare to complain. That`s someones work. That someone has desided to give it to you free, so that you do not need to gather that on your own piece by piece.

    That’s a good work, and if you have troubles running it on your PC. Start trying to find a workaround, but not complaining.

  16. Morgan says:

    This discussion just goes to show that there will always be someone out there who won’t be satisfied unless free information can be accessed by moving bits on the hard drive platen with a magnetized needle and converting the vibrations into a visual feed using a laser pen.

    Seriously folks, if your technoreligion forbids the use of anything not GPLed (which is actually one of the most restrictive “free” licenses out there) just don’t bother downloading! I’m sure Stanford would be quite happy to give the extra bandwidth to those of us who don’t let our religion interfere with the free exchange of socially valuable information.

    Your hypocrisy truly knows no bounds.

  17. B says:

    This will look good on a resume for those who have a degree and are looking to get your first robotics job.

  18. dude laughing his * off says:

    So in the history of computer nerd-dom, whereby at one time a voraciously curious and open mind thirsted for ways to learn and do new things, electronics, computers, software and kernals were ripped apart, examined, analyzed and hacked. Don’t like the current corporate leader in tech? Build your own, and name it Linux. Dub it Be-OS. Name it after yourself even. Soon, it was cool for large numbers of the eager to go the long way around and configure their own device drivers, post a friendly man page, and impress their friends with the new level of knowledge gained through the effort. And, as with all evolution, those that came to depend on the efforts of the determined and expect shiny packaging and tech support are culled from the pool as they cannot take a class because they are not the real thing. Only a genetic mirage of the true intelligentsia forever to be heckled on forums for their epic lack of insight. LOLOLOL “Frustrated I am” is epic fail.

  19. Norman says:

    Really nice content, i’m really interested in robotics and these courses have helped me understand some key concepts about robots. I’m actually studying computer science in Guatemala and i want to get more involved in robotics. Thanks for the courses.

  20. just a thought says:

    #

    So in the history of computer nerd-dom, whereby at one time a voraciously curious and open mind thirsted for ways to learn and do new things, electronics, computers, software and kernals were ripped apart, examined, analyzed and hacked. Don’t like the current corporate leader in tech? Build your own, and name it Linux. Dub it Be-OS. Name it after yourself even. Soon, it was cool for large numbers of the eager to go the long way around and configure their own device drivers, post a friendly man page, and impress their friends with the new level of knowledge gained through the effort. And, as with all evolution, those that came to depend on the efforts of the determined and expect shiny packaging and tech support are culled from the pool as they cannot take a class because they are not the real thing. Only a genetic mirage of the true intelligentsia forever to be heckled on forums for their epic lack of insight. LOLOLOL “Frustrated I am” is epic fail.
    # Norman

    dude could you communicate in English please?
    And some of us don’t use windows and just as a matter of opinion -if you are distributing information and you intend it to be used by many people as possible make it as independent as possible (even the format).
    Am in africa and here we dont have the luxury of high bandwidth to start looking for codecs.
    We don’t even have net at home (you download and go view at home).
    Sure the info is free but if accessing it is hard then what’s the point?

  21. Cheeseman says:

    The comments on this page are mind boggling. If you can’t figure out one of a multitude of ways to access the information, then you really shouldn’t be considering computer science.

  22. random says:

    um, the time it took to write some of these complaints could have been used to find a solution to your problem.

  23. Peteris Krumins says:

    May I suggest to take a look at my Free Science Online blog?

    I have been blogging about free video lectures on the net for more than 2 years now! I have collected video lectures in physics, mathematics, computer science, engineering, biology, chemistry and many other fields.

    Sincerely,
    Peteris Krumins

  24. Lucian says:

    Hey there! Nice job with the free courses. Some sort of open-source strategy, or maybe something else.
    I would be really interested in the Robotics and IA, although i’m already studying these lectures at my University right now.
    BUT, I CANNOT DOWNLOAD THEM!!!
    Can anyone help?
    Thanks
    Best regards, Lucian

  25. Lucian says:

    Rectification: I cannot download the ZIP
    Thanks

  26. SimfishInquilinekea says:

    Heyy – does anyone know when the proposed “communities” for each of the courses will be made?

    and this SO beats MIT OCW.

  27. SimfishInquilinekea says:

    and for all the people who say that this cannot be a substitute for in-class professor interaction – the fact is – you can’t get much professor interaction at all when taking courses with a single professor and > 50 students (unless most other students are getting very little interaction w/the professor, in which case they wouldn’t lose anything from taking a course like this online either).

  28. RyeBlogger says:

    Awesome find. Bookmarked

  29. duncan says:

    Thank you for this to all the tutors who are opening their notes to us.

    The almost incredible commentary about formats above is beneath comment other than to note that if you don’t know, or know how to discover, the answer to this challenge then an intro to CompSci course is probably a bit too much for you to be considering anyway.

    The point is that busy, professional people are offering you this wonderful gift for free. How could anyone not be blown away by that generosity?

    Perhaps it’s not perfect, perhaps it’s not the first, perhaps a lot of things. None of that matters at all. What matters is it is a wonderful gift and I am so grateful.

    Thank you!!!

  30. zeff says:

    What happend to my reply ?

  31. keplenet says:

    the course will be useful for my college, thanks a lot

  32. Ehud says:

    Check out http://www.wepapers.com for free courses, books and class notes

  33. dachir says:

    It’s a great opportunity for african countries. I have been looking for free courses like that. The school may consider degree accreditation at lower cost for people who cannot afford those kind of courses.

    • no says:

      that would be a dumb thing for them to do, as it would cut into the value of their degrees. The big schools have this info out there free, but notice few, if any, offer online degrees. Perhaps we will get to the point when teachers will not need large institutions to offer accredited classes- right now online education is going in the opposite direction- institutions are attempting to cut out teachers, or reduce them to low paying content and class management functions while they rake in the money. Also, if MIT offers online degrees, who would take engineering from any other schools??? We will see where it all goes….

  34. Erico Nunes says:

    I’m trying to see the natural language processing lectures at the youtube.com but I can’t find them. Someonde, please, could help me with another source? I’m a Brazillian Mechanical Engineering student and I’m greatful for this opportunity to see real usable stuff.

    Did the guys at Stanford take off the videos from youtube?

    I’m also trying to watch Convex II and I’m having the same problems.

    (sorry, for my bad english!)

    thank you :D

  35. SETSOAFIA says:

    i am having a problem with the vedio. imean i cant see anything,infact no vedio

  36. Aaron says:

    All of these videos are available in iTunes, in the iTunes Music Store, under iTunes U. Quit searching Youtube and other sites, downloading .wmv fies, messing with converting formats and general whining. Don’t like iTunes? So what. Install it (it’s free!), subscribe to the courses (easily found by going to the iTunes U section of the store) and download the videos. Play them with iTunes, VLC, Mplayer or whatever player suits your fancy.

    Take a moment to appreciate the fact that these courses are given away for FREE. Normally, to get this kind of education, you would have to enroll in the university and pay thousands of dollars. The audacity of some of these comments is absurd. Take this free education (whether you have to lower your standards and use iTunes or convert to a different format) and get everything you can out of it because most of you, myself included, can’t afford to attend Stanford to take the classes in person.

  37. CS Specialist says:

    Really interesting considering I work in the computer science department at my university, and just today a gentleman called about sitting in on a few courses under some kind of free learning license (I’m not sure what it’s actually called). I directed him to the dean or assc. dean, who told him no. Later I overheard the assc. dean laughing at this guy and saying “What do these people expect, a free education. We charge for this stuff.” Granted I think the caller may have been talking about upper-level courses (which I understand being charged for), but still funny.

    And a lot of people have said this already, but it is sad to see people complaining about the files being offered in .wmv (which if read correctly, the article states other formats offered). How can someone possibly have a problem with free education, that is accessible by free software, regardless if the software happens to be from Micro$oft?

  38. qq says:

    Should’ve found this earlier. Very nice indeed. Now I can sit at home and watch these when I don’t have homework! :-)

  39. eBlu says:

    “It could be a good idea.

    However, it is unfortunate that it sems to be for MS Windows only ( – .wmv file? Why not MPEG?).

    It is unfortunate that a university involved in computer science education, appears oblivious to the need for multi-platform computing and education involving multi-platform computing.

    That shows a deficiency in the understanding of computing by the university, and, lessens the value of its teachings.

    Oh, well, maybe another university will try the same thing, but with more proficient computing education, and, demonstrating a better knowledge of computing.”

    I, personally, am glad that you will not take advantage of this great opportunity. Are you aware of the meaning of the expression “pearls before swine”?

  40. Shivputra.N says:

    my whole department is thankful for Oussama Khatib, Christopher D. Manning, and Andrew Ng.

  41. William Huie says:

    Thank you so much, Stanford, and Dr. Khatib. I am appreciative of being able to extend my knowledge. I have been an Electrical Contractor for a bit more than 4 years, and now I am interested in learning about Electrical Engineering, including Robotics and Electronics.

  42. Javier Gonzalez says:

    Thank for this, Stanford, Dr. Khatib. I am interest in learning this field , i am auto electric mechanic, i see this and all new cars, car they have now self parking is same the robotic system. i am have 28 years and car electronic system .

  43. Michelle Peng says:

    I volunteer a few times a week at a local high school. When I was there the other afternoon, a former student stopped by to talk about alternative methods for continuing education past high school… She’s actually interested in becoming a teacher (yay!). I decided to contact you because we came across your website in the course of our conversation. I’m glad you’re providing such great info! I thought perhaps you might be interested in linking to a few other resources that we came across as we spoke.

    Many additional online learning resources can be found at the Educator Labs Resource Bank, at: http://educatorlabs.org/resources/

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