MOOCs: OR Courses for Free!

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Luciana Salete Buriol buriol@inf.ufrgs.br

Several courses in Operational Research and related subjects are available for free in MOOCS - Massive Open Online Courses. Many of these courses address Computer Science, Maths and other OR related subjects, but a range of courses from other areas are also available, from Artificial Intelligence to Writing. People all over the world can attend these for free: it is a great opportunity for many operations researchers!

The courses last for about 2-10 weeks, taking 2-6 hours per week. The classes are given by video/audio-classes, and each course can have such extra resources as student discussion forums, student work, lecture notes, assessments, online textbook, interactive simulations. Some of the courses charge (about US$60 per course) for having access to some of the extra resources, even giving a certificate at the end. However, a free version of the course is usually available.

Although courses are available in about 17 languages, most of them are in English. Some courses have subtitles in other languages. The courses are offered dynamically, usually announced 2-4 months before they start.

To find a course of interest, you can access the MOOC aggregator at www.class-central.com. Searcher need only to type a keyword at the top bar. Be aware that the term “Operational Research” is not a very useful keyword – it is better to search on the specific subject or topic within OR. For example, searching on November 9th 2016 on Dynamic Programming gave a list of 36 courses (many of which had taken place and some which were not relevant) including one by Stanford University starting on 5th December on ‘Greedy algorithms minimum spanning trees and dynamic programming’. A search on Linear Programming gave 30 results, one of which was for ‘Discrete optimisation’ by Melbourne University starting on 11 December.

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