As the coronavirus (COVID19) spread goes on, with 2,460 deaths and 78,630 infected so far, online learning resources multiply.
This month, Imperial College London launched on Coursera a free online course about the science behind the response to the virus outbreak.
“Science Matters: Let’s talk about COVID19” features on video experts from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis and Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics who have been working on modeling the epidemic, estimating the epidemic size, transmissibility, and severity since the first confirmed cases.
The course provides with updates on the state of the epidemic and deals with topics including:
Basic Reproduction Number (R0) of an infection
Case Fatality Rate: Why it varies and why that matters
Community participation and the role of social media
This week, Coursera started to pilot a new annual subscription program for individual learners at $399 per year. This offering, called Coursera Plus, resembles the existing subscription plans of Coursera for Business and Coursera for Campus – although these ones include analytics and other integration services.
Coursera’s plan follows the trend towards the subscription pricing model, increasingly executed among MOOC platforms and initiatives at scale such as Pluralsight or A Cloud Guru.
Essentially, Coursera Plus allows to access 90% of the courses, Specializations and Professional Certificates on its catalog – over 3,000 classes. There is no limit to the courses that the learner can enroll in or the certificates that can be earned, as long as those petitions fall into that program.
However, some popular courses, such as those of co-founder and AI-guru Andrew Ng e.g. “Machine Learning”, or professional certificate courses from IBM, AWS, and Stanford University, are not available.
The Coursera organization lets its partners decide whether or not to make their content part of the Plus initiative.
In addition, existing subscriptions to Coursera specializations will not be automatically canceled. Users must cancel their existing subscriptions to avoid being charged for both Coursera Plus and single Specialization subscriptions.
Anubhav Chopra, Lead Product Manager at the educational company, explained in a promotional blog post: “Coursera Plus is one of many enrollment options available on Coursera including the ability to audit a course, take a course for free, apply for financial aid, or pay for a course, Specialization, or Professional Certificate individually.”
Coursera encouraged students to explore the following examples:
Microsoft has launched a video series to learn Python for beginners on YouTube.
It consists of 44 videos of three-to-four minutes taught by two developers at Microsoft: Christopher Harrison, a senior program manager at Microsoft, and Susan Ibach, a business development manager from Microsoft’s AI Gaming unit.
The course focuses on Python version 3.x, but Microsoft says the lessons should still be valuable to users on Python 2.x.
There are many reasons why Microsoft is investing in Python courses. First, it is an opportunity to expand the population of Python developers using Azure for building AI applications. Second, Microsoft’s own Python extension for Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is its most popular extension in the company’s marketplace for developers.
More Python Courses
In the newest annual ranking of popular programming language by IEEE Spectrum, Python is seating in top place, just ahead of Java, C and R.
Google announced on Thursday plans to offer through a $3.5 million grant its IT Support Professional Certificate program to 100 community colleges by the end of 2020 in eight new states: Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Virginia and West Virginia. Those states come in addition to schools in Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, and Wisconsin, which have offered the course since earlier this year.
The online program consists of six modules, costing $49 each. It takes an average of six months to complete and is designed to prepare learners without a degree or tech experience for an entry-level job in IT support –which has a median salary of $53,000.
Launched at Coursera in January 2018, the program is part of the Grow with Google initiative.
More than 95,000 learners enrolled in these classes and thousands of people have found jobs in large companies such as Wal-Mart, Ricoh, GE Digital and Google.
Leah Belsky, Senior Vice President of Enterprise at Coursera, wrote a blog post analyzing the first year’s impact of the program.
Speaking at an event on October 3rd in Dallas, Texas, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company’s goal is to “make sure that the opportunities created by technology are truly available to everyone.”
Along with Pichai, President Trump’s senior advisor and daughter Ivanka Trump was on hand to discuss the importance of retaining workers in the U.S. During the event, Pichai signed a pledge to the White House to help retain workers in the American tech industry.
Udacity announced yesterday the DeepRacer Scholarship Challenge from Amazon Web Services (AWS), a new program that will enable students to expand and test their skills in machine learning by participating in the world’s first autonomous racing league.
The 200 top-performing students in the DeepRacer League will also have the opportunity to earn their way to a full scholarship to Udacity’s Machine Learning Nanodegree program.
A part of the program, students learn to create, train, and fine-tune a Reinforcement Learning model in the AWS DeepRacer 3D racing simulator.
The AWS DeepRacer is a 1/18th scale race car which gives students a hands-on way to get started with Reinforcement Learning (RL). RL is an advanced machine learning (ML) technique and is broadly useful when the reward function of the desired outcome is known but the path to achieving it is not and requires a lot of iteration to discover. Applications open on August 1.
The Scholarship program incorporates a brand-new free course, AWS DeepRacer: Driven by Reinforcement Learning.
“There simply aren’t enough people, who are equipped with machine learning skills. That’s why AWS and Udacity share a commitment to train machine learning talent. I’m confident that the DeepRacer Scholarship Challenge from AWS will empower learners to master Reinforcement Learning and land some of the most exciting and in-demand jobs in the field,” said Sebastian Thrun, CEO at Udacity.
Google has launched an initiative called “Code with Google” to train teachers in Computer Science (CS). It brings together Google’s free curriculum and programs that build coding skills.
Alongside these resources, Google.org also announced a grant of $1 million to the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) to expand the CS learning.
Currently, many schools don’t offer CS courses that include programming.
“Code with Google is the next step in our ongoing commitment to closing equity gaps in CS education,” wrote Google VP of Education and University Relations, Maggie Johnson, in a blog post.
With this initiative, Google continues its education strategy for schools. Affordable Chromebooks, free resources and cloud-based software is is how the giant company is trying to solidify its position among educators and students.
Amazon will invest $700 million over six years to provide upskilling, post-secondary job training for 100,000 of its employees (one in three) across the U.S.
This massive corporate retraining initiative breaks down to about $7,000 per employee or about $1,200 a year through 2025.
This way Amazon’s programs will help employees across corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retails stores and transportation networks to move into more highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.
The training will be voluntary and mostly free for workers. In addition, it won’t obligate participants to remain at Amazon.
The announcement, made last Thursday, highlighted that “employee upskilling investment builds on Amazon’s $15 minimum wage and comprehensive benefits including medical insurance, 401k savings plan, and generous parental leave.”
Most of this training will be built by Amazon alongside external experts.
Amazon’s fastest-growing highly skilled jobs over the last five years are data mapping specialist (832% growth), data scientist (505%), solutions architect (454%), security engineer (229%) and business analyst (160%). Within customer fulfillment, highly skilled roles have increased over 400%, including jobs like logistics coordinator, process improvement manager, and transportation specialist within our customer fulfillment network.
Through its Upskilling 2025 pledge, Amazon -with more than 630,000 employees worldwide- is focused on creating pathways to careers in areas such as healthcare, machine learning, manufacturing, robotics, computer science, cloud computing, and more.
Amazon Technical Academy, a training and job placement program that equips non-technical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into, and thrive in, software engineering careers. It combines instructor-led, project-based learning with real-world applications.
This tuition-free program was created by Amazon software engineers for Amazon employees who want to move into the field. More here.
Associate2Tech, a fully-paid 90-day program that trains fulfillment center associates to move into technical roles regardless of their previous IT experience. It pays for their A+ Certification test, a widely recognized certification. Learn more here.
Machine Learning University (MLU), an initiative that offers employees with technical backgrounds the opportunity to access machine learning skills via an on-site training program.
Divided into six-week modules, the program requires only half to one full day of participation a week. MLU is taught by more than 400 Amazon Machine Learning scientists who are passionate about furthering skills in the field. Originally launched as a small cohort, the program is on course to train thousands of employees.
AmazonCareer Choice, a pre-paid tuition program designed to train fulfillment center associates in high-demand occupations of their choice. Amazon will pay up to 95% of tuition and fees towards a certificate or diploma in qualified fields of study, leading to in-demand jobs. Since launching Career Choice in 2012, over 25,000 Amazonians have received training for high-demand occupations including aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, and nursing. The company is investing in expanding the program by building additional classrooms in its fulfillment centers globally and expects to have over 60 on-site classrooms by the end of 2020.
Amazon Apprenticeship, a Department of Labor certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon.
Providing a combination of immersive learning and on-the-job training, the Amazon Apprenticeship program has already created paths to technical jobs for hundreds of candidates working to break into careers including cloud support associate, data technician and software development engineer.
AWS Training and Certification, a program that provides employees with courses to build practical AWS Cloud knowledge and discounted AWS Certification exams to validate cloud expertise.
Billionaire investor, host of “Shark Tank” and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban takes online courses to stay up-to-date on programming languages and evolving technologies and make him a savvier investor.
“I’m not trying to be great at that [coding or machine learning], but I want to understand it so I understand all the nuanced elements of it and how it works so that I have an advantage,” he explained.
Mark Cuban has poured his money into more than 120 tech startups over the years.
George Mason University (GMU) and Northern Community College (NOVA) are partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer students a pathway to earn a Bachelor’s of Applied Science degree and pursue a career in cloud computing.
Both institutions worked with AWS Educate curriculum designers to create a degree program which will be mapped to in-demand technical skills required by Amazon and other employees in cloud services, cybersecurity, software development and DevOps.
Students will first earn an Associate degree at NOVA and transfer to George Mason to complete a four-year Bachelor’s degree.
“This degree pathway marks the beginning of a ground-breaking initiative that will deliver innovative educational opportunities to students across the commonwealth. The collaboration with AWS helps give our students, and our region, a competitive edge,” said Ángel Cabrera, president of George Mason University, at Campus Technology.
“We are delighted to be working with George Mason University and NOVA to turn the growing demand for cloud skills into pathways in technology for students from all backgrounds,” stated Teresa Carlson, vice president for worldwide public sector at AWS.
Amazon, which is building its second corporate headquarters in Northern Virginia, expects to bring 25,000 jobs to the region by 2030.