Stanford AI Class

11 Oct 2011AI

Along with about 160,000 other people, I’ve signed up for the Stanford Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course. My interest in this is two-fold: first for the material, which should be pretty cool if Peter Norvig’s book is anything to go by, but second for just how they (the two instructors plus presumably an army of TAs) are going to do this.

Perhaps I’m not a very good teacher in a lecture setting, but I have real trouble connecting even to a class of 90 or so students. Most effective teaching occurs one-on-one or in small groups in office hours. And most learning occurs when students are sitting quietly thinking about things themselves. How you make contact with and retain the attention of 85,000 students is a problem that boggles the mind. I’m very interested to see how it goes!

The first couple of modules are up on the website already, and it looks like the format of most of the course will be pretty nice and accessible. How assignments and exams will work, we’ll have to see. I really hope Stanford are supplying some additional resources to help with this project. It’s a very cool thing to be doing, and very exciting, but it has the potential to be a pretty high stress adventure for the instructors!

If AI doesn’t float your boat, Stanford are also running Intro to Machine Learning and Intro to Databases courses online as well.