MOOC: Networked Life

I have signed up to participate in a MOOC via the University of Pennsylvania, delivered by Professor Michael Kearns. Why? To gain more experience of MOOCs (as part of my research) and to learn something useful.

The course is described as follows:-

“Networked Life will explore recent scientific efforts to explain social, economic and technological structures — and the way these structures interact — on many different scales, from the behavior of individuals or small groups to that of complex networks such as the Internet and the global economy.

About the Course

•What science underlies companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google?
•How does your position in a social network (dis)advantage you?
•What do game theory and the Paris subway have to do with Internet routing?
•How might a social network influence election outcomes?
•What are the economics of email spam?
•How does Google find what you’re looking for… and exactly how do they make money doing so?

Networked Life looks at how our world is connected — socially, strategically and technologically — and why it matters.

The answers to the questions above are related. They have been the subject of a fascinating intersection of disciplines, including computer science, physics, psychology, sociology, mathematics, economics and finance. Researchers from these areas all strive to quantify and explain the growing complexity and connectivity of the world around us, and they have begun to develop a rich new science along the way.

Networked Life will explore recent scientific efforts to explain social, economic and technological structures — and the way these structures interact — on many different scales, from the behavior of individuals or small groups to that of complex networks such as the Internet and the global economy.

This course covers computer science topics and other material that is mathematical, but all material will be presented in a way that is accessible to an educated audience with or without a strong technical background. The majority of the course is grounded in scientific and mathematical findings of the past two decades or less (often much less).”

Today is Day 1 and I’m already impressed:

The course lasts 7 weeks and clashes with other CPD activities I have taken on which means I will have to juggle. The course content is clearly laid out listing which video lectures should be watched each week and which self-assessment quizes are due by when. To make it easy to keep an eye on upcoming deadlines (submission of quizes) there is also a calendar feature. I really appreciate having access to all the materials from Day 1 because it will enable me to do more in the weeks that I have some spare time and less when I have other priorities enabling me to juggle my commitments and, hopefully, meet all the deadlines.

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