Announcing the first ever Mostly Harmless course for 2024
A fast-paced, hands-on course on very concrete skill sets from scientific computation to machine learning.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you’d know I’m an educator at heart, but I also happen to be an educator by profession. I’m a full-time computer science college professor. I’ve toyed with the idea of running an interactive online course with a selected group of subscribers for a while. Until now, I’ve never had the bandwidth to tackle that, but I believe 2024 is the year to try the first iteration. So I’m currently preparing the materials for that first course.
What is this about?
I’m planning to begin with something like Mostly Harmless Python for Data Analysis. A fast-paced, hands-on, 6-week course to get you from “I’ve never coded before” to be able to do your own data analysis on a variety of sources: running basic exploratory data analysis, coding simple predictive models, building visualizations, and packaging all of that in a sleek web app to show potential customers or colleagues.
I’m still figuring out all the details, but the plan is to have a very hands-on, project-based, practically-focused course, with lecture materials you can follow on your own but, most importantly, a lot of one-on-one and community-based mentoring.
This means by enrolling you will not only receive first-class content you can consume passively. You will also get access to a community of learners just like you, to work on projects together. And you will get personalized and timely feedback and advice from me.
Every week we’ll kick off with a challenge, I’ll give you the materials to work through, and I’ll be at your side guiding you, answering all your questions, and reviewing your progress. Every week you’ll end with a full data science project you can showcase. At the end, you’ll have 6 different projects on your Github profile, plus the confidence and skills to make 100 more.
Why am I the right person to teach you this?
You should ask this from anyone who offers to teach you something.
I’m a full-time college professor in a Computer Science major. I’ve been teaching the introductory programming course for over a decade now, and I’ve seen hundreds of my students graduate and become successful entrepreneurs, data scientists, researchers, and software engineers worldwide, including in some of the biggest companies and universities.
I designed the programming and algorithms curriculum for the new Data Science major we just launched at my alma mater, and I’m the head of the Programming and Computational Systems discipline in the National Committee of the Data Science career. I’m also a PhD in machine learning, with years of experience building data science solutions.
But more importantly, I’ve been an online educator for over 4 years now, and I’ve thought a lot about how to make this type of learning as effective as possible. I’ve discovered that articles, videos, and any other form of passive content are insufficient. You need an environment to learn, and these courses —of which this is just the first one— will provide you with that environment.
Why am I doing this?
For starters, I just love education. I teach a lot of classes in college, and I’m always trying to squeeze an extra course or two. However, college courses are different from online courses.
First, students are there for a long time, and they are taking many courses in parallel. So the pace is much slower, and you can’t ask the same kind of engagement. Second, college courses are part of a large curriculum and thus not so easy to mold and twist as you see fit. And third, I think there are many people out there who could benefit from short, very skill-focused courses like this. So this is a really interesting challenge for me that I also believe can be very valuable for some of you.
How can you get access?
As with everything in Mostly Harmless Ideas, the educational content will be published for free. This includes articles, example code, datasets, etc. However, to ensure I have time to give you quality feedback, the mentoring part will be available for a small subset of subscribers. I’m not exactly sure how many, but definitely in the lower two-digit numbers.
Since spots will be limited, I’ll send an email in due time with a link to an enrollment form. Long-term paid subscribers of Mostly Harmless will be given priority. So if you’re interested, the best way to RSVP your spot is to subscribe today using the following massive discount, and also get all the benefits of a full subscription.
That was all for today. This course is still a work in progress and details will change significantly between now and the minute we kick off. You can expect regular updates on this topic until early 2024. My plan is to begin at or before the next Spring.