A Love Note to Coursera

Dear Coursera,

I’ve never written a note like this before to a web site (or should I call you a “platform”?). Please excuse the awkward sentences that follow, but I need to express what a wonderful time I’m having with you, the great hopes & dreams for the future that I have for us, and a tinge of remorse for all the wasted years prior that we could have, should have, been spending time together.

Just a month ago I discovered I had a passion for Data Science. And in my wanderings on the great wide web, I saw you in the corner of a Google search result, looking confident and beautiful, but at the same time, very, very approachable.

courseraI saw that you had an educational program to offer, a “Data Science Specialization” I believe you called it. One that could take a shy, pensive but eager student like myself on a one-year whirlwind tour of the tools and techniques of a data scientist.

Heart in hand, I took the plunge and signed up for the first course in the series, “The Data Scientist’s Toolbox“. God help me, even though you freely offered all of the contents within for free, I wanted you to like me and I shelled out $29 for a digital certificate upon successful completion of the course.

And what a wonderful experience its been so far! What joy! What new passion for life I now have since I met you! Thanks to your lectures, your “free” (pay what you can/want) books, and your open community of students and teaching assistants I have learned about R, git, mathematics and data manipulation. And this is just the beginning…

I’m almost done with the second course, “R Programming” and I can feel our bond strengthening. We’ve taken that next step of physical intimacy, where I’ve been able to get “hands-on” with your gentle, expert guidance. I hope you don’t mind my awkward groping and fumbling on the keyboard. But your patience with me has paid off as I just now finished creating a fairly complex matrix caching function and committed it to my github account. What a wonderful release that was!

We’ve still got so far to go, Dear Coursera. The more I have of you the more I want! Just a few days ago, I took another leap of faith and signed up for your free “Machine Learning” course, and what a stimulating cornucopia you offer of Linear Algebra, solution learning algorithms, and a new (to me) software package called GNU Octave. You never cease to amaze me.octave

Well, my love… that’s it for tonight. I need to get some sleep and thanks to you, Coursera, I truly will be dreaming of data tonight.


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