This is No.1 open-online course of “Deep Learning”. It is a new year present from Google!

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I am very happy to find this awesome course of “Deep Learning” now . It is the course which is provided by Google through Udacity(1), one of the biggest mooc platforms in the world. So I would like to share it to any person who are interested in “Deep Learning”.

It is the first course which explains Deep Learning from Logistic regression to Recurrent neural net (RNN) in the uniformed manner on mooc platform as far as I know. I looked at it and was very surprised how awesome the quality of the course is.  Let me explain more details.

 

1. We can learn everything from Logistic regression to RNN seamlessly

This course covers many important topics such as logistic regression, neural network,  regularization, dropout, convolutional net, RNN and Long short term memory (LSTM). These topics are seen in some articles independently before. It is however very rare to explain each of them at once in the same place.  This course looks like a story of development of Deep Learning. Therefore, even beginners of Deep Learning can follow the course. Please look at the path of the course. It is taken from the course video of L1 Machine Learning to Deep Learning .

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Especially, explanations of RNN are very easy to understand. So if you do not have enough time to take a whole course, I just recommend to watch the videos of RNN and related topics in the course. I am sure it is worth doing that.

 

2. Math is a little required, but it is not an obstacle to take this course

This is one of the courses in computer science.  The more you understand math, the more you can obtain insights from the course. However, if you are not so familiar with mathematics, all you have to do is to overview basic knowledge of “vectors”, “matrices” and “derivatives”.  I do not think you need to give up the course because of the lack of knowledge of math. Just recall high school math, then you can start this awesome course!

 

3. “Deep learning” can be implemented with “TensorFlow“, which is open source provided by Google

This is the most exciting part of the course if you are developers or programmers.  TensorFlow is a  python-based language. So many developers and programmers can be familiar with TensorFlow easily.  In the program assignments, participants can learn from simple neural net to sequence to sequence net with TensorFlow. It must be good! While I have not tried TensorFlow programming yet, I would like to do that in the near future. It is worth doing that even though you are not programmers. Let us challenge it!

 

 

In my view,  Deep Learning for sequence data is getting more important as time series data are frequently used in economic analysis,  customer management and internet of things.   Therefore, not only data-scientists, but also business personnel, company executives can benefit from this course.  It is free and self-paced when you watch the videos. If you need a credential, small fee is required. Why don’t you try  this awesome course?

 

 

(1) Deep Learning on Udacity

https://www.udacity.com//course/viewer#!/c-ud730/l-6370362152/m-6379811815

 

 

 

Notice: TOSHI STATS SDN. BHD. and I do not accept any responsibility or liability for loss or damage occasioned to any person or property through using materials, instructions, methods, algorithm or ideas contained herein, or acting or refraining from acting as a result of such use. TOSHI STATS SDN. BHD. and I expressly disclaim all implied warranties, including merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose. There will be no duty on TOSHI STATS SDN. BHD. and me to correct any errors or defects in the codes and the software.

 

 

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It is an awesome course to start learning digital marketing in 2016!

bake-1058862_640Happy new year!  This is the first article in 2016. So I would like to recommend a course to everyone who wants to learn digital marketing.

Social Media in Public Relations“is provided by Dr.Tracy Loh, Visiting Fellow Department of Communications and New Media in National University of Singapore through Coursera, one of the biggest mooc platforms.

This is good as a starting point to learn digital marketing in a theoretical manner.  I would like to introduce several interesting points from the course as they are useful and beneficial for business personnel who are interested in marketing and public relations.   These points come from week 3 ” Content Creation and Management” in the course.

 

1. Levels of content

There are many contents in social media so I would like to classify them effectively.   Dr.Tracy Loh provides us levels of content based on its value as follows.

Filler : information that is copied from other sources

Basic content  : original content, but relatively simple

Authority building content : Original contents that position the organization as an authority in a particular area of relevance to the organization

Pillar content : Educational content that readers use over time, save and share with others.

Flagship  : Seminal works that set the tone on an issue and which people refer back to time to come

I think this classification is very useful when we consider a portfolio of our contents  in terms of strategies of marketing and public relations. We can analyze our own content-portfolio based on levels of content. My article may be classified as “Authority building content”.  I would like to write the contents of “Flagship” in future, even though it is very difficult. Yes, you can challenge “Flagship”, too.  It should be noted that these contents should be used to reach our goals of marketing and public relation as a whole.

 

2. Social currency

To create viral contents, it is important that the contents have “social currency.”   Dr. Tracy Loh explains that “social currency” can be found in content that contain a level of “inner remarkability”.  For example,  when you share the new information that is not shared in your circle yet,  your social currency is increasing.  It is one of three aspects of  “social currency”. Others are explained in the course.

 

3. Trigger

“Trigger” is important to make content viral as daily life events can be associated with certain products.  These two examples are famous because everyone knows they are associated with daily life-events. Let us see these short videos.

Have a break, have a Kit Kat

What time is it?   It’s Tiger Time

Dr.Tracy Loh introduces this phrase  “Social currency gets people talking, but triggers keep them talking. Top of mind means tip of tongue.” (Jonah Berger, 2013)

 

 

I think we can apply these points above to our marketing strategies effectively.  Because they are theory-driven, but not so complicated.  It is easy to get some insights based on the points I referred.

I mentioned just a part of the course for the purpose of introduction. This course has many interesting topics and provides us knowledge of social media. It is free to just see the course. When you need the certification of the course,  some cost is needed to pay. I would like to recommend for you to overview the course first, and if you like it,  you can upgrade the course with the certification when it is available.  Let us enjoy this course in 2016!

Is this a game changer of MBA in a digital economy, isn’t it?

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Hi friends, I am Toshi. Today I update my weekly letter. This week’s topic is about online MBA.  If you have a plan to obtain an MBA, I hope it is good information to you.

I love MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Because I can choose any topics from computer programming to languages.  In addition, I can learn anytime and anywhere I want. Finally, Most of courses are free. You do not need to pay any cost to take these courses. So as CEO of start-up, this is the best choice to learn new things I need. However, it might not be applicable to persons who want MBA titles. Because most of the certificates on MOOCs are not regarded as formal academic credit, although MOOCs are provided by many famous universities. For example, I took “Machine learning” by associate professor Andrew.Ng in Stanford university last year and got the statement of accomplishment of that course.  I think this is one of the best courses to learn state of the art algorithm of Machine learning. But unfortunately  Stanford university does not provide academic credits to learners of this course.

 

But when I found this article of new online MBA course from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I thought it can be a game changer. Because, firstly this is a full MBA course with credits.   Second, the cost of the MBA is around 20,000 USD and significantly lower than similar online courses.  Third, we have opportunities to take courses without certain projects in the MBA program before paying fees.  Third one is significantly important to lower the entry barrier, especially for the beginners of MOOCs.  “Digital marketing“, one of the parts of the MBA program, is already open for everyone.  So we can try this and confirm how this online MBA works before applying the admission processes. Therefore, there are few risk where we have mismatches between the contents of the program and the needs of students.

 

I think one of the reasons why this new online MBA is developed may be that a lot of students cannot repay student loans in the United states.  Some financial experts warn that these bad loans might be the biggest risk in the credit market. So high cost of higher educations are not only students’ problems, but also society’s problems.  This is not sustainable anymore. This new online MBA can be one of the solutions to this problem. Since major MOOCs platforms such as edx and Coursera  opened in 2012,  MOOCs certificate has not been considered as equivalent to academic credits.  However, this new online MBA may change this situation.  I would like to see what other top MBA schools do, going forward.

 

If you are beginners of MOOCs,  how about start “Digital marketing”?  You can do it without any fee. If you like it and want to be an MBA holder,  this new-online course can be one of the candidates of MBA for you to consider in addition to residential MBA.  I have already started “Digital marketing” by myself in order to enhance my expertise.  Could you join us?

Is it possible to raise the quality of services if computers can talk to you?

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When you go to Uniqlo,  people of Uniqlo talk to you and advise how you can coordinate your favorite fashion.  When you go to hospitals, doctors ask you what your condition is and advise you what you should do in order to be healthy.  Then let us consider whether computers can talk to you and answer your questions, instead of a human being.

It is the first step to know the customers in service industries,  students in education.  So there are many people working to face with customers and students. If computers can face with customers and students,  it means that quality of services dramatically is going up because computers are cost-effective and operate 24hours per day, 365 days per year without rest time.

 

I like taking courses in open online courses.  It is very convenient as we can look at courses whenever we want as long as internet connection is available.  But the biggest problem is that there are no teachers to be asked for each learner when you want to ask.  This description explains this problem very well.

Because of the nature of MOOC-style instruction (Massive Open Online Course), teachers cannot provide active feedback to individual learners. Most MOOCs have thousands of learners enrolled at the same time and engaging personally with each learner is not possible.”

When I cannot understand the course lectures and solve the problems in exams by myself, it is very difficult to continue to learn because I feel powerless.  This is one of the reasons why completion rate is very low in open online courses (usually less than 10%).  If you need assistance from instructors,  you should pay fees which are not cheep for people in developing countries. I want to change this situation.

 

A technology called “Machine learning” may enable us to enjoy conversations with computers cross industries from financial to education.  Computers can understand what you ask and provide answers in real-time basis.  It takes some time to develop to make computers more sophisticated, so that computers can answer exactly what you want.  This is like a childhood.  At the beginning, there is very little knowledge so It may be difficult to answer questions. Then computers start learning from interactions with human.  The more knowledge they have,  the more sophisticated their answer is.

So I would like to start to examine how computer is learning in order to provide sophisticated answers to learners and customers. If computers obtain enough knowledge effectively, they can talk to you and enjoy conversations with you.  I hope computers can be good partners to us.

Three self-paced online courses that I strongly recommend. They are awesome and free!

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If you are businessmen/women, your schedule sometimes cannot be controlled by yourself.  Meeting with clients may be required by your client with short notice.  The emergency situation may happen and you should cope with it.  That is why it is difficult for business men/women to complete on-line training/courses with limited time.

However, there is no need to worried about that.  As the number of online courses is increasing,  the number of self paced courses is also increasing.  In Coursera, one of the biggest platforms of online courses, has 70 on-demand courses. Unlike session courses, self paced courses have no deadline to complete. It is very good for busy business men/women because schedules can be more flexible to complete.

Now I enroll several self-paced courses that I am interested in but have no concrete schedule to complete them so far. Instead, when I have spare time, such as time to wait my flight in the airport or suddenly cancelled meetings,  I can enjoy these courses any time I want. I think it is good!  Here is the list of self-paced online courses I recommend.

 

1.  Machine Learning

This is the best course for people who want to understand what is going on in the digital economy deeply.  Andrew Ng. Associate Professor, Stanford University; Chief Scientist, Baidu; Chairman and Cofounder, Coursera, provides us the course about Machine learning. It is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed.  This state of art technologies is explained in plain English so that people with knowledge of high school math can understand what machine learning is and how it is used in the real world.  I always recommend this course. But the problem was that we had to complete the course within three months.  It is considered too short for most of business men/women.  Now this course is available as self -paced course!  Then we can learn the course at your own pace!

 

2. Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies

This course is about fashion trends and industries.  It says “This module is dedicated to a general introduction to fashion and luxury concepts, what they mean, how they are perceived, how they differ, and other basic information on this peculiar industry.”  This kind of courses are very few in on-line courses so I recommend this course.  I expect we can obtain new insights about fashion industries.

 

3. Chinese for Beginners

One of the candidates of self-paced courses to take is the one about languages because it can be repeated many times by ourselves. I currently choose the course about Chinese.  Xianoyu Liu, Associate Professor School of Chinese as A Second Language, Peking University provides the course for beginners of Chinese.

 

Yes, you can go to a coffee shop from now, where wifi connections are available. Then open your mobile and access to Coursera website and sign up.  You can enjoy the courses you choose anytime you want!

This course is the best for beginners of data analysis. It is free, too!

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Last week, I started learning on-line course about data analysis. It is “The Analytics Edges” in edx, one of the biggest platforms of MOOCs all over the world (www.edx.org).  This course says “Through inspiring examples and stories, discover the power of data and use analytics to provide an edge to your career and your life.”   Now I completed Unit one and two out of  total nine in the course and found that it is the best course for beginners of data analysis in MOOCs. Let me tell you why it is.

 

1. There are a variety of data sets to analyze

When you start learning data analysis, data is very important to motivate yourself to continue to learn.  When you are sales personnel, sales data is the best to learn data analysis because you are interested in sales as professional.  When you are in financial industries, financial data is the best for you.   This course uses a variety of data from crime rate to automobile sales.  Therefore, you can see the data you are interested in. It is critically important for beginners of data analysis.

 

2. This course focuses on how to use analytics tools, quite than the theory behind the analysis

Many of data analysis courses take a long time to explain the theory behind the analysis.  It is required when you want to be a data scientist because theory is needed to construct an analytic method by yourself. However, most of business managers do not want to be data scientists.  All business managers need is the way to analyze data to make better business decisions. For this purpose, this course is good and well-balanced between theory and practice.  Firstly, a short summary of theory is provided, then move on to practice. Most of  the lectures focus on “how to use R for data analysis”. R is one of the famous programming languages for data analysis, which is free for everyone.  It enables beginners to use R in analyzing data step by step.

 

3. It covers major analytic methods of data analysis.

When you see the schedule of the course,  you find many analytic methods from linear regression to optimizations.  This course covers major methods that beginners must know.  I recommend to focus on linear regression and logistic regression when you do not have enough time to compete all units because both of method is applicable to many cases in the real world.

 

 

I think it is worth seeing only the video in Unit 1 and 2.  Interesting topics are used especially for people who like baseball. If you do not have enough time to learn R programming, it is OK to skip it. The story behind the analysis is very good and informative for beginners. So you may enjoy the videos about the story and skip videos of programming for the first time. If you try to obtain a certificate from edx, you should obtain 55% at least over the homework, competition and final exam.  For beginners, it may be difficult to complete the a whole course within limited time (three-month).  Do not worry.  I think this course can be learned again in time to come.  So first time,  please focus on Unit1 and Unit2, then a second time, try a whole course if  you can. In addition, most of edx courses including this are free for anyone.   You can enjoy anytime, anywhere as long as you have an internet access.  Could you try this course with me (www.toshistats.net) ?

Three reasons why I recommend the MOOCs of Machine Learing in Coursera

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There is no doubt that machine learning is a hot topic in 2014.  It is difficult, however, to answer what machine learning is.  I think the best way to understand machine learning is taking MOOCs by Andrew Ng in Stanford university at Coursera.  Actually, I am taking this course now and I am able to understand how to program complex mechanism in machine learning. This is amazing as it is free and available to everyone.  I would like to present three reasons why I recommend this course to everyone.

 

1.  Several models are explained and compared each other in the course

In this course, we can learn regression models, support vector machines, neural networks, unsupervised learning algorithms.  In addition, we can compare them each other.  So it is good to obtain an overview of machine learning.  Of course we can implement algorithm of each method by using MATLAB/Octave. You can be an expert of machine learning after completion of this course.

 

2.  The math theories behind the algorithms are also explained in it.

When each algorithm is introduced,  math theory behind them are also explained.  Even thought it is high level,  rather than proof of them,  it is useful because  it can help us to understand what the theory behind the algorithms is and we do not need to treat machine learning as “black box”.  I do not think math at postgraduate level is needed in this course.  If you are not familiar with math, there is no need to worry as basic linear algebra lecture is available in the course. This linear algebra lecture starts with high school level and covers everything which is needed in the course. I like it very much!

 

3.  Best practice in the industry is also presented

Dr.Andew Ng, who is the instructor of this course, has been working in the IT industries and currently works for Baidu as their Chief Scientist . So he provides us a lot of best practice in analyzing data by machine learning. It is very important because I assume that most participants in this course are practitioners rather than theorists.  I hope a lot of  startups will be born based on the best practice presented in this course.

 

These three points above keep a good balance in the course. Therefore, even beginners of machine Learning can understand how it works in theory and practice. I cannot say it is easy to pass the program exercises in this course if you are not familiar with MATLAB/Octave, however, I can say it is worth just looking at the video lectures of this course. Although it takes 10 weeks to complete,  you can learn anytime and anywhere through internet once you register the course. I want to give a strong recommendation to this course  for your career development. It might be also good for high school students who is interested in programming. I would like to appreciate Dr. Andew Ng, who prepares this great course.  This is a treasure for everyone!

 

Is it a new star in MOOCs ?

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Followed by last week’s blog,  I would like to write MOOCs again because I found the potential new star in MOOCs yesterday.   This is “Nanodegree” provided by Udacity, one of the big names in MOOCs.   Unlike Edex and Coursera,  two big names of MOOCs,  Udacity have a close relationship with industries, such as AT&T,  Facebook and Google.  Therefore “Nanodegree” courses will provide project based programs and make participants be ready to be hired.  According to the blog of Udacity,  AT&T is offering 100 paid internships to top graduates of the nanodegree program and will consider students with nanodegrees when there is a potential job match. Nanodegree is a trademark of Udacity.

 

Comparing other courses that I took before in MOOCs, nanodegree might have advantages to them.

1.  It is focused on “being ready to be hired”

It is always said that current higher education cannot meet the demand from industries so there is a gap between knowledge and skills of college graduates and ones required by employers.  Although the details of the courses are not disclosed, it is expected to be based on activities and operations in industries, rather than academics.  From the standpoint of employers,  it is good that Nanodegree is created for the needs of industries, so that It has far less mismatch to the needs of the industries.

2.  It is not free, however, still far cheaper than on-campus courses.

It will cost $200 USD per month and it takes from 6 to 12 months to complete the courses.  Compared with the on-campus courses, it is much cheaper.  I think one of the reasons not to be free is that coaching is available to participants during the courses.  It is considered to be necessary for participants to learn the courses effectively and be motivated through the courses.

3. It takes less than one year to finish the courses and obtain the certificates

According to Udacity,  it takes from 6 to 12 months to complete the courses when participants use 10 hours per week for the course.  So it may be completed less than 6 months when participants use more than 10 hours per week to learn the course.  It is very good, especially for participants who are already working.  Although course sequences are also available In Edex and Coursera (X-series in Edex, Specialization in Coursera),  some of them can not be completed within 6 months. Business environment changes so quickly so the shorter the course is,  the better it is for participants.

 

According to Udacity blog, nanodegree is expected to start this fall in 2014.  There will be five courses, front-end web developer, back-end web developer, iOS mobile developer, Android mobile developer and data analyst. I would like to take one of them and obtain the expertise of it. It must be exciting!

 

Ultimate knowledge source “MOOCs”

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Recently I took several courses in MOOCs and enjoyed them.  Do you know “MOOCs”?  MOOCs is massive open online courses.   A lot of famous universities  provide us their courses from computer science to Art & Literature.  Edex, Coursera and Udacity are famous brands in MOOCs.   They started providing courses in 2012 and now millions people take courses through their platforms.  It consists of videos,  documents,  questions and mid/final exam. When you obtain the score over the criteria which depends on courses, you can get the certificate.  I was very surprised when I knew most of the courses are provided as free.  When you want the certification with your identification, it takes reasonable costs.  But courses itself are basically provided as free.  So MOOCs is expected to lower the barrier to enter higher educations in developing countries.

Currently I am taking two courses about credit risk management by TU delft and financial programing and policies by IMF in Edex.  They are very good to brush up my knowledge. Each author of both courses is a professor in one of top universities or international institutions,  contents are updated with the current situation.  Both of them are strongly recommended.

 

Since last year, I have taken more than 10 courses in MOOCs.  Based on this experience, I can explain what the pros and cons of MOOCs are.

Pros

1. Most courses are new and updated periodically.

This is the advantage of digital contents and the internet.  Most courses are updated to react the performance of previous versions of courses. More than 1000 or 10000 people participate and provide their opinions to the courses so it is always improving steadily.

2. We can take courses anytime and anywhere

This is also the advantage of digital contents and the internet.  As long as you have an access to the internet, you can enjoy MOOCs anytime and anywhere  all over the world.  I moved from Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur in the middle of courses this year, but there is no problem to continue it.  This is very good when jobs are becoming mobile and cross border.

 

Cons

1. It is very difficult to keep your motivation to finish the courses.

There is no teacher in the classroom physically when you take MOOCs.  There is no warning for you to skip one of learning sequences or miss the exams. Although there are  a lot of participants, only less than 10 percent of them finish the courses in MOOCs.  It is a problem that we should solve going forward.

2. There are a lot of courses so it may be difficult to choose the best one for each participant.

As a lot of universities have participated in MOOCs recently.  You can see a lot of courses in the certain topic, so it is getting difficult to find courses which fit your learning needs in MOOCs. In nature, we cannot see the whole story of the courses in advance (we cannot check each video in advance), although the course summary is available.  I sometimes refer participants reviews and opinions to the course before I take it.

 

Anyway, I love MOOCs and continue to learn their courses.   Next week I will start the course about machine learning by the famous professor of Stanford University.  I hope I will enjoy it and learn machine learning a lot!  I would like to report how this machine learning course is going.