Learn Differential Equations in Action

I remember starting engineering school and dreading the differential equations course I’d eventually have to take. Upperclassmen loved to taunt us with horror stories about professors talking a million miles a minute in math jargon and coursework so abstract and complicated that problems felt meaningless.

This is not that course.

Differential Equations in Action will teach you to create solutions to systems of differential equations using numerical approximation methods, which we’ll code in Python.

The methods you’ll learn in this class are the same ones that physicists, engineers, biologists, economists, social scientists, and professionals in many other fields rely on every day in their work.

We’re very excited to now begin offering Coaching support and Verified Certificates for Differential Equations in Action. With the paid course, your personal Coach will be available to help you set learning goals and work through any problems you may be stuck on. Plus, after passing an assessment completing the course, you’ll earn a snazzy Verified Certificate to show off your new knowledge. See you in class!

Check out the course

New Statistics Courses: Understand & Make Predictions Using Data

Quick, how long is your daily commute to work? (or to school, coffee shop, or favorite breakfast hangout)?  If you came up with an answer, then you already are a statistician!
If you came up with an answer like “It usually takes me 30 minutes,” then you are already using the subject of our new course, Descriptive Statistics, to describe and summarize data.

If you came up with an answer like “It usually takes me 30 minutes, give or take about 5 minutes,” you are already constructing confidence intervals, a topic covered in our second new course, Inferential Statistics!

Why should you learn statistics? Statistics is formalized intuition.  Most people already use it on a daily basis (most people…that sounds like a statistics word, right?).  In these two introductory courses, you will learn the difference between probability and statistics, and see how statistics is pervasive in our personal and professional life.

Even better, you can apply concepts learned to every industry, subject, and passion in your life. Statistics forms the underlying prerequisite skill set for careers in Data Science, Computer Science, and many more technical and non-technical sectors.

In Descriptive Statistics, you will learn to gain insight from data by calculating sample statistics that summarize central tendency.  Learn to visualize data using histograms, quickly compare sample distributions to the Normal Distribution, and calculate variance, skew, and kurtosis.

In Inferential Statistics, learn to construct 95% and 99% confidence intervals, test statistical hypotheses using the Standard Normal z-score, and expand out of normality with the Student’s t-distribution.

If this is a completely new subject to you, begin with Descriptive Statistics and continue on to Inferential Statistics.  See you in class!

College Algebra as a Path to Higher Education

Victoria
Victoria

At Udacity, we love hearing from students (seriously, drop us a line!) and we love sharing student stories with the community. Recently we got a note from Victoria, who took College Algebra for credit at San Jose State University, with the goal of passing a placement exam to test out of remedial math classes when she returned to university.

I graduated high school in 95. I went back to school at Dalton State College, a local school, for a few semesters in 98 and 2000. While there, I was not able to attempt College Algebra before passing remedial math as my skills fell below the requirements for College Algebra. I had always had a really difficult time with math all through school. I did take and pass the remedial math classes (one had to be attempted twice), but failed College Algebra on my first (and only) attempt. The combination of my struggles with my crazy work schedule as a shift worker in a 911 center made it essentially impossible to dedicate the level of attention needed to succeed at school.

It was so discouraging that I was convinced that college just wasn’t for me and put aside the idea of trying to get a college degree. Life went on while I worked and several of my friends went to school at various spots. Some even went on to earn two Master’s and one earned her PhD in Library Science. It was such a disappointment to feel that I was forever locked into the working world over the struggle I had with just one class. The feeling that I somehow wasn’t as smart or capable as the people I had identified with for my whole life as best friends was such a blow to my ego. Even though they never made me feel like this, I was an intellectual outcast.

As I got older and amassed friends from all walks of life, inevitably the conversations would turn to who went to school where, what his/her background is, etc. Again, I would just hang around and offer up, “Well, I’m a 911 Supervisor. I have lots of work certifications! I can help talk a drug-crazed psychopath into putting down the gun he’s holding against his family! I know CPR!!!” Not that I feel that my training or experience isn’t beneficial to the community I serve, because I know that it most certainly is. But it’s still not the same satisfaction of saying, “I earned my Bachelor’s at ____ in _____.”

In order to go back to school, I had to take the Compass placement exam. Depending on my scores there, I would be able to sign up for either College Algebra or be forced to take remedial math classes again. I decided to work my tail off with every available online resource I could find in order to pass the Compass with a score high enough to exempt from remedial math.

That’s where I ran across your College Algebra class on Udacity.

I worked all through the summer weeks, spending every moment at home online, going through each lesson until I completely understood each portion. I cried, I wanted to punch my screen, I yelled….but most importantly, I EVENTUALLY got it! Several times when I’d think I wasn’t getting it and then submit my answer to a problem to have the screen pop up in that lovely green font “Good Job!” I honestly did cry happy tears.

Seriously. It happened more than it should for a woman rounding the corner to age 40, over a math problem. 😉

I’m so proud to say that with the help from all of you wonderful folks, I cleared the cutoff on Compass! There were questions there that I didn’t know how to answer because I only made it to Lesson 8 on Udacity before the test. I DO know for a fact that if I hadn’t found your class, I certainly would not have cleared the cutoff for remedial classes. Lots of the material in the exam was material covered up to Lesson 8, and it was those questions I *know* I aced!

I will be registering for College Algebra for Fall semester this morning!!! I know it’s not going to be easy, but now I know it’s absolutely possible. That’s all I need.

Coffee Break EP15 [VIDEO]: Brain Growth, Mindset and Learning

Happy Friday and welcome to Coffee Break!

Tune in this week to hear Professor Jo Boaler, who teaches Mathematics Education at Stanford University, talk about brain growth, mindset and online learning.

Feeling inspired? Grow your brain by taking a Udacity course — browse our course catalog and get started today. You can also learn more by taking Professor Boaler’s free online course, How to Learn Math.

12-Year-Old Udacity Student from Pakistan On MOOCs

Muhammad rocking a Udacity shirt!
Muhammad rocking a Udacity shirt!

Muhammad, a 12-year-old Udacity student hailing from Pakistan, shared his MOOC journey in “After ‘Every Astronomy Book in Pakistan,’ A 12 Year Old Turns to MOOCs.” We’ve cheered Muhammad, one of our youngest students, from the start of his Udacity career, and are excited to hear from him again.

Muhammad is currently taking our College Algebra course, and has shared this goal for the next step of his journey: “I would love to complete as many courses as I can before I turn 13!! (That’s 4 months in September.) I think College Algebra and Visualizing Algebra are the best courses after PH100, CS101 and ST101.”

Way to go, Muhammad! Stay Udacious and happy learning!

College Algebra with Udacity and San Jose State University

Hi, I’m Miriam, one of the course developers for College Algebra, a course you can take this summer with Udacity and San Jose State University to learn the fundamentals of algebra — and earn college credit while you’re at it.

College Algebra, taught by San Jose State’s Dr. Julie Sliva Spitzer, fellow course developer Sarah Norell, and myself, will take you all the way from defining variables through finding roots of higher degree polynomials through solving exponential and logarithmic equations.

Learn to use algebra to predict panda population growth.
Learn to use algebra to predict panda population growth.

Whether you are new to algebra or want to strengthen your understanding of the subject, College Algebra will make concepts resonate on a deep level and will help develop your intuition for problem solving. The engaging, and often amusing, examples used will give you a chance to play around with math while also realizing its relevance for everyday life.

If you’d like to help out a startup that makes windshield wipers for glasses, determine the age of the Dead Sea scrolls, or predict how a panda population will grow, joins us in College Algebra!

One of the awesome things about Udacity is that once a course is created, it will always be available. Now that all of the lessons for College Algebra have been released, you can work through the entire course at your own pace, whether you want to zip through as quickly as possible or give yourself a generous summer vacation break.

Also, join me as I fly through the solar system!
Also, join me as I fly through the solar system!

Of course, if you want to earn college credit this summer at San Jose State University, you do have to enroll for credit by Friday, May 24th, so sign up today!

Miriam Swords Kalk
Udacity Course Developer

Entry-Level Mathematics with Udacity and San Jose State University

Summer is almost here! You might have travel plans or you might be staying in one place. Either way, I hope you’ll find time to learn something new and join me for Entry-Level Mathematics. My name is Chris Saden, and I’ve teamed up with not just one but two professors at San Jose State, Sandra DeSousa and Susan McClory, to create an exciting math course.

Now if you’re thinking, “Hey, Algebra is not for me” or “I’m no good at math”, then watch this clip about London’s Black Cab Drivers and see if you can change your mind.

These drivers learned an immense amount of knowledge over time, and the number of their neural connections actually grew. You have that same ability to make your own connections with math!

In this course, we will take a visual approach to learning Algebra. We’ll explain math symbols, like a cube root, by drawing perfect cubes, and we’ll draw diagrams to support our reasoning.

I’m much more of fan of showing rather than telling so here is a sample question from the course.

math6promo

If this has you thinking, then come join us for Entry-Level Mathematics. Be sure to register by May 24th if you’re seeking to satisfy the the ELM requirement in California. While this course does not offer college credit toward a degree, successful completion of the course can allow you to take more advanced math courses.

This course will prepare you for our College Algebra course so if you are looking to brush up on the basics or wondering which course to take, this is a great starting point. I hope to see you in class!

Chris Saden
Udacity Course Developer