The 50 Most Popular MOOCs of All Time

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MOOCs – or Massive Open Online Courses – are picking up momentum in popularity – at least in terms of initial enrollment.

Unlike regular college/ university courses, MOOCs can attract many thousands of enrollees around the world. They can come in the form of active course sessions with participant interaction, or as archived content for self-paced study. MOOCs can be free, or there can be a charge – either on a subscription basis or a one-time charge. Free MOOCs sometimes have a paid “verified certificate” option.There are now thousands of MOOCs available worldwide from several hundred colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of 50 of the most popular MOOCs, based on enrollment figures for all sessions of a course. The ranking is based on filtering enrollment data for 185 free MOOCs on various elearning platforms.NOTES:

  • All-time MOOC enrollment numbers are obviously a moving target. Consider any figures here as merely a snapshot at time of writing, not as exact enrollment data.
  • Primarily English-language MOOCs – or those with English subtitles – have been considered.
  • The majority of top courses come from two platforms: Coursera and edX. The latter, in this case, amounts to MIT and Harvard courses, whereas top Coursera courses in this list come from several schools.
  • Of the 185 courses considered (unique, not including versions of the same course), 66 were on Coursera and 55 on edX.
  • There may be other MOOCs with higher enrollment figures than those presented here. Courses that require payment for full access were not considered.
  • Due to differing schedules for course offerings, enrollment data for some courses may be changed over time as reported (causing some MOOCs to change position in rankings). If you have information on updated enrollment data, feel free to report through OnlineCourseReport’s contact page.

Some of the courses listed here have had no recent active sessions, and some do not have archived content. If you cannot find what you are looking for on a learning provider’s platform, check out our list of 5400 free online courses.

  

50. Internet History, Technology, and Security / University of Michigan

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The MOOC Internet History, Technology, and Security, from University of Michigan on Coursera, covers the history of the Internet, how it was created, and the innovators who had an involvement in its growth and features. Content in this course is suitable preparation towards Web design and Web development courses. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Jul 2012 is about 46K. The course (currently archived content) is taught by Charles Severance, a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Information at U of Michigan. Severance wrote several books covering topics that include the Python programming language and the Raspberry Pi miniature computer, writes and produces a variety of online and print content, and teaches several online courses.Additional info:
 

49. Maps and the Geospatial Revolution / Penn State

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The MOOC Maps and the Geospatial Revolution, from Pennsylvania State University on Coursera, covers digital mapping and geospatial technology, analytical methods, digital mapmaking, concepts in cartography and spatial thinking. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Jul 2013 is about 47K. The course (currently recently archived) is taught by Dr. Anthony C. Robinson, who is the “Lead Faculty for Online Geospatial Education for the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, and Assistant Director for the GeoVISTA research center in the Department of Geography at Penn State.” Robinson’s research includes designing new geo-visualization techniques and map symbol standards. He oversees Penn State’s Master of GIS and grad-level GIS certificate programs.Additional info:

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Institution homepage: Penn State
  • Total enrollment: 47000
  • Lecturers: Anthony C. Robinson

 

48. Calculus One / Ohio State University

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The MOOC Calculus One, from Ohio State University on Coursera, covers the basic topics of introductory calculus, including functions and limits, derivatives, the chain rule, optimization, linear approximation, antidifferentiation, integration, the fundamental theorem of calculus and the substitution rule. Also see Calculus Two: Sequences and Series for more intro calculus topics. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Jan 2013 is about 47K. The course (archived content) is taught by Jim Fowler, PhD, a professor in Mathematics at Ohio State. Fowler’s research includes geometry, topology and group theory.Additional info:
 

47. The Camera Never Lies / University of London/ Royal Holloway

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The MOOC The Camera Never Lies, from University of London’s Royal Holloway constituent college on Coursera, covers the use of images and media as historical evidence and for authentication of various issues. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Jun 2013 is about 47.9K. The course, which has an upcoming session at time of writing, is taught by Dr. Emmett Sullivan, PhD (economics), the Senior Department Tutor in the History department at University of London’s Royal Holloway constituent college.Additional info:
 

46. Functional Programming Principles in Scala / École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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The MOOC Functional Programming Principles in Scala, from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) on Coursera, covers the combination of object-oriented computer programming and functional programming techniques using the Scala programming language. Functional programming is particularly useful for distributed systems using multiple computer processors, such as that used by Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and other Web sites. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Sep 2012 in about 50K. The course, which has archived content from two sessions in 2014, is taught by Martin Odersky, PhD, a professor at EPFL in Switzerland. Odersky has contributed functional programming features to the Java programming language, as well as developed javac, which is currently used for compiling Java program code.Additional info:
 

45. Computing for Data Analysis / Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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The MOOC Computing for Data Analysis, from Johns Hopkins University’s (JHU’s) Bloomberg School of Public Health on Coursera, covers the basic computing skils needed for data analysis, including the R statistical programming language, applying statistical methods, producing useful graphs. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Sep 2012 is about 50.9K. The course, which currently has archived content from a session in 2013 and which is part of Coursera’s JHU Data Science Specialization, is taught by Roger D. Peng, PhD (statistics), an Associate Professor of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins.Additional info:
 

44. Introduction to Statistics: Descriptive Statistics / UC Berkeley

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The MOOC Stat2.1x Introduction to Statistics: Descriptive Statistics, from University of California (UC) Berkeley on edX / BerkeleyX, covers “descriptive statistics,” which is used to present numerical information that is useful to the end user. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Feb 2013 is about 52.6K. The course, currently with archived content, is taught by Philip B. Stark and Ani Adhikari, both of whom have a PhD in statistics and work at UC Berkeley. Adhikari is a Senior Lecturer in Statistics who has won awards for teaching. Stark is a Professor of Statistics who has published research on the Big Bang, earthquake prediction, election auditing and more, has consulted for various U.S. federal government departments and testified to Congress and the California legislature.Additional info:

  • Platform: BerkeleyX
  • Institution homepage: UC Berkeley
  • Total enrollment: 52661
  • Lecturers: Philip B. Stark, Ani Adhikari

 

43. Software Defined Networking / Princeton University

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The MOOC Software Defined Networking, from Princeton University on Coursera, covers a relatively new area of computer networking which relies on software to control how an entire network behaves. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Jun 2013 is about 53K. The course, which has an upcoming session at time of writing, is taught by Dr. Nick Feamster, PhD (computer science). Feamster’s research is in various aspects of computer networking. He has received a number of awards and fellowships since 2001.Additional info:
 

42. Human Health and Global Environmental Change / Harvard University

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The MOOC PH278x Human Health and Global Environmental Change, from Harvard University on edX / HarvardX, covers the impact on human health that climate change and biodiversity have globally. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in May 2013 is about 53.3K. The course, which is currently archived, is taught by Aaron Bernstein and Jack Spengler. Aaron Bernstein (MD, MPH) is the “Associate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health and a pediatric hospitalist at Boston Children’s Hospital.” His research involves the global health impact of environmental changes. Jack Spengler is the “Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health as well as the Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation.” His research includes air pollution (indoor and outdoor) and related areas of interest. He has been an advisor to WHO (World Health Organization) and other organizations.Additional info:
 

41. Introduction to Astronomy / Duke University

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The MOOC Introduction to Astronomy, from Duke University on Coursera, covers “quite literally, everything in the universe,” including Newtonian physics, classical astronomy and the night sky, the Milky Way galaxy, deep space, black holes and more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Nov 2012 is about 60K. The course, currently unavailable and unarchived, is taught by Ronen Plesser, PhD (physics), an Associate Professor of math and physics at Duke. His research interests include geometry and physics aspects of string theory and particle physics.Additional info:
 

40. Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical & Public Health Research / Harvard University

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The MOOC PH207x Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical & Public Health Research, from Harvard University on edX / HarvardX, covers much of the same content as epidemiology and biostatistics classes from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), including quantitative methods for public health and clinical research. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Oct 2012 is about 61.2K. The course, currently archived, is taught by Earl Francis Cook, ScD, and Marcello Pagano, PhD, both of Harvard. Cook is a Professor of Epidemiology at both HSPH and Harvard Medical School. He has won several teaching awards. Pagano is a Professor of Statistical Computing at HSPH. He won a Teacher of the Year award and his widely used Biostatistics textbook is published in seven languages.Additional info:
 

39. Social Network Analysis / University of Michigan

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The MOOC Social Network Analysis, from University of Michigan on Coursera, covers the analysis of social networks, theory and computational tools. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 61.3K. The course, which was unavailable and unarchived at time of writing, is taught by Lada Adamic, PhD (applied physics), an Adjunct Associate Professor at the UMich School of Information. Her research includes early studies into social networks, and she teaches the course Networks: Theory and Application, which she created. Adamic won an award for her teaching and research.Additional info:
 

38. The Ancient Greek Hero / Harvard University

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The MOOC The Ancient Greek Hero (CB22x and CB22.1x), from Harvard University on edX / HarvardX, is an introduction to classical Greek concept of heroes and anti-heroes, and classical Greek texts. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Mar 2013 is about 61.5K. The original course, CB22x, is no longer available and was taught by Greg Nagy and Leonard Muellner. The newer version, CB22.1x, is archived and is taught by Greg Nagy, Leonard Muellner, et al. The edX platform also offers a 5-course series “The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours” (Part 1a>), also archived. Greg Nagy, is a Professor of Comparative Literature and the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature at Harvard, as well as Director of the Center of Hellenic Studies (CHS). He has written several books on Greek literature and other topics. Leonard Muellner is a Professor of Classical Studies at Brandeis University and Director of IT and Publications at CHS. His interest include the anthropology of myth and historical linguistics.Additional info:
 

37. Introduction to Databases / Stanford University

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The MOOC Introduction to Databases, from Stanford University on Coursera, covers the basics of database design and database management systems for software applications. The original course is currently unavailable (initially offered through Stanford’s Class2Go platform, which merged with edX, but the course is now listed on Coursera). As of Summer 2014, the course was split up into 14 free, self-paced database mini-courses that cover five key areas: Data Models, Querying Relation Databases, Querying XML Databases, Database Design, and SQL Advanced Features. (These courses can be selected in number of pathways.) Total enrollment in the original course since its launch in Oct 2011 is about 64.1K. The original course and new mini-courses are taught by Jennifer Widom, the Chair of the Computer Science Department at Stanford, and the Fletcher Jones Professor. Widom started her career in music (bachelor’s, Indiana University School of Music) but completed a PhD in Computer Science (Cornell). She was a Guggenheim Fellow and received an ACM innovations award. Her research includes nontraditional data management.Additional info:
 

36. Drugs and the Brain / Caltech

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The MOOC Drugs and the Brain, from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) on Coursera, covers topics in medicine, biology and life sciences, including ageing, the neuroscience of drugs for therapy, prevention and recreation. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Dec 2012 is about 66.8K. The course, currently archived (use “Preview Lectures” button), is taught by Henry A. Lester, PhD, the Bren Professor at Caltech and a faculty member in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering. Lester has won several awards, holds multiple patents related to drugs and the brain, and written over 300 scientific papers. His research has been sponsored by numerous organizations including the Michael J. Fox Foundation and NIMH (U.S. Institute of Mental Health).Additional info:

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Institution homepage: Caltech
  • Total enrollment: 66800
  • Lecturers: Henry A. Lester

 

35. Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life / MIT

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The MOOC 7.00x Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on edX / MITx, covers the basics of genetics, disease, potential for inherited illnesses, biochemistry, recombinant DNA and more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Mar 2013 is about 68K. The course, which is currently archived, has been taught by various lecturers in different sessions, including Brian White, with Eric Lander being part of all three sessions to date. Lander is a professor of Biology at MIT and of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute (joint MIT and Harvard), as well as a “principal leader” of the Human Genome Project. He co-chairs PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology), and advisory council to the White House.Additional info:

  • Platform: edX / MITx
  • Institution homepage: MIT
  • Total enrollment: 68036
  • Lecturers: Various in different years: Biology-1 [Eric Lander, Graham Walker, Brian White, Michelle, Mischke, and Mary Ellen Wiltrout], Biology-2 and Biology-3 [Eric Lander]

 

34. Statistics – Making Sense of Data / University of Toronto

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The MOOC Statistics: Making Sense of Data, from University of Toronto (U of T) on Coursera, covers introductory concepts in statistics, particularly for the collection, display and analysis of data for making conclusions. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Apr 2013 is about 68.1K. The course, which is currently archived, is taught by Jeffrey Rosenthal, PhD, and Alison Gibbs, PhD, both of U of T. Rosenthal — born on a Friday the 13th — is a professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences. His research includes Markov Chains as they related to randomized computer algorithms. He has won a number of awards, including for his teaching, and has a book on “curious probabilities” which is published in ten languages. Gibbs is a senior lecturer in the Department of Statistical Sciences. She teaches a number of probability and statistics courses at undergrad and grad levels, and won a teaching award in 2012.Additional info:
 

33. Critical Thinking in Global Challenges / The University of Edinburgh

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The MOOC Critical Thinking in Global Challenges, from the University of Edinburgh on Coursera, covers critical thinking in relation global challenges in society, including epidemics, population increase and its impact on resources, and health and well-being. The course, which is currently unavailable and unarchived, is in English, with subtitles in Nederlands, Portuguese and Spanish. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Jan 2013 is about 75.9K. The course is taught by Professor Mayank Dutia, PhD, and Dr. Celine Caquineau, PhD (neuroendocrinology), both biomedical scientists at U of Edinburgh’s School of Medicine. Dutia works in the School of Medicine’s Centre for Integrative Physiology. His research includes balance/ balance disorders, and brain recovery from receptor damage. He has overseen new medical biology courses at U of E. Caquineau is a teaching fellow at the U of E’s School of Biomedical Sciences. Her research includes appetite and obesity control mechanisms.Additional info:
 

32. Learn to Program – Crafting Quality Code / University of Toronto

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The MOOC Learn to Program: Crafting Quality Code, from University of Toronto (U of T) on Coursera, covers writing quality code by comparing similar programs and studying their efficiency, and testing and debugging programs to improve their efficiency. Suggested preqrequisites are some knowledge of the Python 3 programming language, and the course Learn To Program: The Fundamentals, taught by the same team. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Mar 2013 is about 76.9K. The course, which is currently archived, is taught by Jennifer Campbell and Paul Gries, both Senior Lecturers in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. Campbell has taught several courses at U of T, including intro computer science. She co-authored a course textbook and has an interest in computer science education. Gries has won several teaching awards, co-authored textbooks, and been involved in developing department curriculum.Additional info:
 

31. Neural Networks for Machine Learning / University of Toronto

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The MOOC Neural Networks for Machine Learning, from University of Toronto (U of T) on Coursera, covers artificial neural networks in relation to machine learning, speech and object recognition, image processing, and the modeling of language and human emotion. Recommended prerequisites are some programming experience with Python (or Matlab or Octave) and some basic calculus and linear algebra. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Oct 2012 is about 77.5K. The course, which has its original session archived, is taught by Geoffrey Hinton, PhD (artificial intelligence), a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the U of T. Hinton has contributed research that includes the back-propagation algorithm, neural networks, Boltzmann machines, and learning networks. He is a director at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.Additional info:
 

30. Creative Programming for Digital Media & Mobile Apps / University of London/ Goldsmiths

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The MOOC Creative Programming for Digital Media & Mobile Apps, from Goldsmiths (constituent college of University of London) on Coursera, covers the application of technical skills to creative aspects, such as interactive music, video games, and mobile apps. As such, it’s recommended that students have some experience in creative work and some programming experience (although resources will be provided). Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Jun 2013 is about 78.6K. The course, which is currently unavailable and unarchived, is taught by Dr. Marco Gillies, Dr. Matthew Yee-King and Dr. Mick Grierson, all of the Computing Department at Goldsmiths / U of London. Gillies is a Senior Lecturer with an interest in computer graphics, animation and interaction, and who teaches programming in Processing and Computer Graphics. Yee-King is a Lecturer with an interest in digital signal processing as applied to computer music, and who teaches this topic. Grierson is a Senior Lecturer who also designs software for entertainment media use, and who teaches Audio and Visual processing.Additional info:
   

29. A History of the World Since 1300 / Princeton University

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The MOOC A History of the World Since 1300, from Princeton University on Coursera, covers world history events over the past seven-plus centuries. Topics include Chinggis Khan (aka Genghis Khan) and relationships between societies since the Mongol conquests, and the globalization and fragmentation of the world since then. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Sep 2012 is about 83K. The course, which is currently unavailable and unarchived, is taught by Jeremy Adelman. Adelman is or holds the titles of Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor of Spanish Civilization and Culture and Henry Charles Lea Professor of History (specialization: Latin America). Adelman has written several books about history, including a textbook, and earned a number of awards.Additional info:
 

28. Justice / Harvard University

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The MOOC Justice, from Harvard University on edX / HarvardX, covers theories of justice, affirmative action, income distribution, same-sex marriage, human rights, property rights and more, using readings from “Aristotle, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and John Rawls.” The course has two editions, ER22x, the original “Justice,” and ER22.1x, aka “Justice v2″. Content is archived, with videos available in English and German, and transcripts in German, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Mar 2013 is about 84.2K. The course is taught by Michael J. Sandel of Harvard, Sandel is a professor of political philosophy and is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government. Sandel has written multiple books and justice, ethics and related topics, and his writing is available in over 20 languages.Additional info:
  

27. Introduction to Mathematical Thinking / Stanford University

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The MOOC Introduction to Mathematical Thinking, from Stanford University on Coursera, aims to teach students how to think mathematically, to think “out of the box” and develop cognitive abilities — which deviates from typical math education that simply teaches “how to do math.” Subtitles for the video content is available in Portuguese. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Mar 2013 is about 86.2K. The course, which had an open session at time of writing, is taught by Dr. Keith Devlin. Devlin is a co-founder of both the H-STAR Institute (also Executive Director) and Media X research network — both part of Stanford. He has held several “Fellow” titles and won a number of prizes/ awards, including the Pythagoras Prize, Peano Prize, and Carl Sagan Award. He is on NPR (National Public Radio) as “the Math Guy.” His writing output includes over 30 books and over 80 researched articles.Additional info:
 

26. Introduction to Operations Management / University of Pennsylvania / Wharton

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The MOOC Introduction to Operations Management, from University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Wharton School of Business (Wharton) on Coursera, is part of Coursera’s Wharton Business Foundation Specialization track. It focuses on analyzing and improving business processes (process analytics) in service or manufacturing, productivity and responsiveness increases, bottlenecks, flow rates, inventory levels and more. The course, which has multiple sessions scheduled for 2015, is taught by Christian Terwiesch. Terwiesch is a professor of The Wharton School’s Operations and Information Management department, the Andrew M. Heller Professor at Wharton, and a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics. He co-authored an Operations Management textbook and has won teaching awards for his efforts in the Wharton MBA program.Additional info:
 

25. Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science / Harvard University

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The MOOC SPU27x Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science, from Harvard University on edX / HarvardX, covers the intersection of physics and engineering principles with the chemistry of everyday cooking. Topics include emulsions, elasticity, diffusion through spherification and more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Oct 2013 is about 92K. The course, which has a session scheduled for Jun 2015, is taught by Michael Brenner, David Weitz, Pia Sörensen (PhD, chemical biology), and Daniel Rosenberg, all of Harvard. Brenner is a professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics and developed this course with Weitz, Brenner and Chef Ferran Adrià. Weitz is a professor of Applied Physics. Sörensen is Preceptor of Science and Cooking. Rosenberg contributed to the science demos in this course.Additional info:

  • Platform: HarvardX
  • Institution homepage: Harvard University
  • Total enrollment: 92045
  • Lecturers: Michael Brenner, David Weitz, Pia Sörensen, Daniel Rosenberg

 

24. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python / MIT

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The MOOC 6.00.1x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on edX / MITx, covers the basic principles of computer programming, including computation, algorithms, testing and debugging, data structures, and algorithmic complexity — all using the Python programming language. This plus a companion course (6.00.2x Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science, taught by the same team) are meant for anyone without prior computer programming experience.Total enrollment since course’s launch in Oct 2013 is about 98.7K. The course, which is currently archived, is taught by Eric Grimson, PhD (mathematics), John Guttag, PhD (mathematics) and Ana Bell, PhD, all of MIT. Grimson is professor of computer science and engineering, the Chancellor of MIT (as of 2011), and the Bernard M. Gordon Professor of Medical Engineering. His area of specialty is computer vision for medical image analysis. Guttag is the Dugald C. Jackson Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at MIT and heads up the Data Driven Medical Research group of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His research includes medical-related predictions. Bell lectures in the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department. Her research includes computational biology. Grimson and Guttag have both served as head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.Additional info:

  • Platform: MITx
  • Institution homepage: MIT
  • Total enrollment: 98688
  • Lecturers: Eric Grimson, John Guttag, Ana Bell

 

23. Data Analysis / Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School

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The MOOC Data Analysis, from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Bloomberg School of Public Health (BSPH), covers data analysis and applied statistical techniques, finding patterns in data, and communicating conclusions. The course is typically intended for first year graduate biostatistics students and uses the R statistical programming language. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Jan 2013 is about 102K. The course, which is currently archived, is taught by Jeff Leek, PhD (biostatistics), and has won a teaching excellence award (student-voted) each year it was taught by him. Leek is an associate professor of Biostatistics at JHU. Leek’s research topics include genomic data analysis for personalized medicine. He has published work in several top journals and created the Data Analysis courseAdditional info:
 

22. Machine Learning / Stanford University

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The MOOC Machine Learning, from Stanford University on Coursera, covers machine learning, data mining, and statistical pattern recognition at broad level. More specifically, topics include supervised learning, unsupervised learning, best practices in machine learning, case studies and application of learning algorithms for building smart robots, text understanding, computer vision, medical informatics and more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Oct 2011 is about 104K. The course, which is archived, and which led to the founding of Coursera, is taught by Andrew Ng, Ng is an associate professor of Computer Science at Stanford and Chief Scientist of Baidu. He co-founded Coursera with Daphne Koller, another Stanford computer science professor. Ng is Chairman of Coursera, while Koller is PresidentAdditional info:
  

21. Modern & Contemporary American Poetry / University of Pennsylvania

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The MOOC Modern & Contemporary American poetry is provided by the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. The course centers around teaching participants how to read poems that are often purported to be “difficult,” including the work of modern and contemporary U.S. poets working in “experimental mode.” Often, sessions aren’t lectures, but rather recordings of close collaborative readings of texts (seminar style) with professor Al Filreis. Professor Filreis is Kelly Professor, founder, and faculty director of the Kelly Writers House, a writing and academic center at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing.
Additional Info:

20. Introduction to Financial Accounting / University of Pennsylvania / Wharton

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The MOOC Introduction to Financial Accounting, from University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Wharton School of Business (Wharton) is part of Coursera’s Wharton Business Foundation Specialization track. It focuses on financial analysis, financial reporting process, and accounting standards — all of which will give participants the knowledge to read income statements, balance sheets and statements of cash flow. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 155.5K. The course, which has several sessions scheduled for 2015, is taught by Brian J. Bushee, PhD, of UPenn. Bushee is the Gilbert and Shelley Harrison Professor of Accounting at Wharton. He was previously affiliated with Harvard Business School and University of Chicago, and was a credit analyst. Bushee has taught various MBA-level courses and won two teaching awards.Additional info:
 

19. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming / MIT

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The MOOC 6.00x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, from MIT and edX / MITx, covers the fundamental concepts of programming using Python, including the elements of a computer program, simple algorithms, functions, recursion, objects, debugging, efficiency, memory and search, classes, and object-oriented programming. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Sep 2012 is about 157.4K. The course, which is currently only partially archived, is taught by Larry Rudolph, PhD (computer science) of MIT. Rudolph has spent time as a faculty member at several universities. Currently, he is a researcher at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His research includes contributing to the Ultracomputer architecture (1978), parallel processing, switching networks and more. His mobile virtualization project for VMWare is used on Verizon’s Android phones.Additional info:

  • Platform: MITx
  • Institution homepage: MIT
  • Total enrollment: 157431
  • Lecturers: Larry Rudolph

 

18. Introduction to Artificial Intelligence / Stanford University

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The MOOC Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, from Stanford University on Udacity, is the course that is instrumental in the launch of Udacity itself. The course focuses on the basics of AI, including statistics/ uncertainty/ Bayes networks, machine learning, Markov chains (decision processes, reinforcement learning, hidden models and filters), image processing and computer vision, robotics and robot motion planning, NLP (Natural Language Processing) and information retrieval and more.Total enrollment since the launch of the course in Oct 2011 is about 160K. The course, which is currently archived, is taught by Peter Norvig, PhD (computer science), and Sebastian Thrun, PhD (computer science), both of whom co-founded Udacity. Norvig is currently a Director of Research at Google, and previously an Assistant Professor at University of Southern California and Research Faculty member at UC Berkeley. He has written extensively (articles and books) about computer science topics including artificial intelligence and natural language processing. Thrun is a Research Professor of Computer Science at Stanford and a Google Fellow. His main areas of research are robotics and machine learning, including Google’s self-driving cars and before that Stanford’s Stanley autonomous car.Additional info:
 

17. Financial Markets / Yale University

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The MOOC Financial Markets, from Yale University on Coursera, covers finance and risk management; efficient markets vs behavioral finance; debt vs equity; real estate, regulation and enterprise; forward futures and options markets; monetary policy; critical elements of the financial infrastructure and other topics. Content for the course is also available in Chinese. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 162K. The course, which is currently archived from a Fall 2014 session, is taught by Robert Shiller, PhD (economics) of Yale. Shiller is a professor of Finance at the Yale School of Management, and the Sterling Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics at Yale. He won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, and has written extensively on economics, financial markets and related topics, including a number of books and a regular column for the NY Times.Additional info:

16. Computational Investing, Part I / Georgia Institute of Technology

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The MOOC Computational Investing, Part I, from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech or GT) on Coursera, covers the basics of the electronic markets aspect of stock markets, including stock price behavior, and looks at building algorithms and visualizations that aid in investing. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Oct 2012 is about 78.8K. The course, which is currently unavailable and unarchived, is taught by Dr. Tucker Balch. Balch is an Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at GT, and a cofounder of Lucena Research, a provider of hedge fund software. His research includes machine learning and automated perception, and he has written two books and over a hundred technical articles.Additional info:

15. Startup Engineering / Stanford University

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The MOOC Startup Engineering, from Stanford University on Coursera, covers the engineering skills and toolset that a technology startup needs. Topics include development tools, frontend Web development (HTML, CSS, JS, wireframing), backend (databases, frameworks), APIs, devops (testing, deployment, continuous integration, monitoring, performance), dev scaling, business scaling and more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 170.3K. The course, which is currently archived, is taught by Balaji S. Srinivasan, PhD (electrical engineering) and Vijay S. Pande. Srinivasan is a co-founder of Counsyl, a genomics startup, and previously taught statistics and computational biology in the Statistics department of Stanford. Pande is a professor in the departments of Chemistry, Computer Science and Structural Biology, as well as the founder and director of Folding@Home, which for many years was the world’s most powerful distributed supercomputer, using the computing power of volunteers’ computers during idle times.Additional info:

14. Greek and Roman Mythology / University of Pennsylvania

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The MOOC Greek and Roman Mythology, from University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) on Coursera, covers, as the title suggests, the myths of ancient Rome and Greece, and the value of myth for us an individuals and societies. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Sep 2012 is about 180K. The course, which has a future session at time of writing, is taught by Peter Struck, PhD, an Associate Professor of Classical Studies at UPenn. His research topics include myth, meaning, literary criticism and divination. He won a classical studies award for his first book, as well as two teaching awards. He has consulted for a number of media organizations, including NBC, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report.Additional info:

13. Game Theory / Stanford University, University of British Columbia

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The MOOC Game Theory, from Stanford University and the University of British Columbia on Coursera, covers game strategy, Nash equilibria, minimax strategies, correlated equilibria, Bayesian games, game trees, backward induction, behavioral strategies and much more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 196.0K. The course, which is currently archived from a Fall 2014 session, is taught by Kevin Leyton-Brown, PhD, Yoav Shoham, PhD (computer science) and Matthew O. Jackson. Jackson is a professor of Economics and the William D. Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford. His research includes game theory, microeconomic theory and social and economic networks, for which he has won a number of prizes/ awards. Shoham is a professor of Computer science at Stanford. His research includes game theory and electric commerce, and he has written five books and a number of articles. Leyton-Brown is an associate professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia but completed his PhD at Stanford. His research includes “the intersection of computer science and microeconomics.”Additional info:
 

12. Learn to Program: The Fundamentals / University of Toronto

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The MOOC Learn to Program: The Fundamentals, from University of Toronto (U of T) on Coursera, covers the basics of computer programming, using Python as the language of choice. and is intended for people with no programming experience. Recommended background includes grade school math. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Sep 2012 is about 198.6K. The course, which is archived from a 2013 session, is taught by Jennifer Campbell and Paul Gries, both Senior Lecturers in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. Both Campbell and Gries also teach Learn to Program – Crafting Quality Code, which is listed at #30 on this list, and which elaborates on their career achievements.Additional info:
 

11. A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior / Duke University

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The MOOC A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior, from Duke University on Coursera, covers rational and irrational behavior from the aspect of behavioral economics and standard economic theory. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 217.3K. The course, which currently has no profile page on Coursera nor any archives, is taught by Dan Ariely, PhD, of Duke. Ariely is a professor of Economics and is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, and is also associated with the Fuqua School of Business and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. His research includes topics on psychology and behavioral economics, on which he has written three books. Ariely, who had much of his body burned as a teen, also teaches MBA-level courses.Additional info:

10. Creativity, Innovation and Change / Penn State

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The MOOC Creativity, Innovation and Change, from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) on Coursera, covers creativity techniques for building your business, including the creative diversity model, paradox of structure, creative process, intelligent fast failure, value creation strategies and more. Content is in English and has Chinese subtitles. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 220k. The course, which is currently available through Coursera’s on-demand format, and is taught by Kathryn W. Jablokow, PhD (electrical engineering), Darrell Velegol, PhD (chemical engineering), Jack V. Matson, PhD (environmental engineering) and Elizabeth Kisenwether – all of Penn State.Jablokow is an associate professor in Mechanical Engineering and Design, and has won awards for her teaching. Velegol is a Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, has won awards for teaching, has written over 70 papers on colloid science and related topics, and several books, including CENTER, which is suggested reading for this course. Matson is Professor Emeritus in Environmental Engineering, has developed courses in innovative design, has founded/ cofounded three startup companies, and written several books. Kisenwether is an Assistant Professor in Engineering Design and has interest in encouraging entrepreneurship on campus, especially as co-director of the Lion Launch Pad, a business accelerator for students.Additional info:

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Institution homepage: Penn State
  • Total enrollment: 220000
  • Lecturers: Kathryn W. Jablokow, Darrell Velegol, Jack V. Matson

9. Think Again: How to Reason and Argue / Duke University

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The MOOC Think Again: How to Reason and Argue, from Duke University on Coursera, covers reasoning, analyzing arguments, evaluating deductive and inductive arguments, argument fallacies and more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Nov 2012 is about 226.9K. The course, which has an archive from Fall 2014, has one session scheduled in 2015, which started Jan 5th and ends May 4th. It is taught by Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Dr. Ram Neta. Sinnott-Armstrong is a professor of Philosophy at Duke, and is the Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Philosophy Department and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke. He has written several books, including on moral theory, philosophy of religion and theory of knowledge. Neta is a professor of Philosophy at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He has written many articles on epistemology and related topics, and is an editor of works on epistemology.Additional info:

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Institution homepage: Duke University
  • Total enrollment: 226895
  • Lecturers: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Ram Neta

 

8. Circuits and Electronics / MIT

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The MOOC 6.002x Circuits and Electronics, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on MITx, covers introductory circuits, resistive elements, independent and dependent sources, switches, energy storage, amplifiers and more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 229.8K. The course has one session scheduled in 2015, running from Jan 20 for 16 weeks. It is taught by Anant Agarwal, Gerald Sussman, et al, all of MIT. Agarwal is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, President of edX, founder of a number of startups, and a co-author of this course’s textbook. Sussman is a professor of Electrical Engineering and author of a top textbook of computer science.Additional info:

  • Platform: MITx
  • Institution homepage: MIT
  • Total enrollment: 229813
  • Lecturers: Anant Agarwal

 

7. Social Psychology / Wesleyan University

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The MOOC Social Psychology, from Wesleyan University on Coursera, covers the why of human behavior. Topics include social psychology, decision making, persuasion, group behavior, personal attraction and more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Aug 2013 is about 260.0K. The course, which has an open session running from Jul 14, 2014 to May 31, 2015, is taught by Scott Plous, PhD (pyschology) of Wesleyan. Plous teaches courses in social psychology and has won several awards, including for teaching.Additional info:

6. Gamification / University of Pennsylvania / Wharton

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The MOOC Gamification, from University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Wharton School of Business (Wharton) on Coursera, covers gamification, which is the application of game theory and digital game design techniques to non-gaming disciplines. Gamification has been applied to learning, productivity, team-building, customer engagement, crowdsourcing and other areas. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Aug 2012 is about 148K. The course, which is currently unavailable, is taught by Kevin Werbach of UPenn. Werbach is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics and founder of technology consulting firm Supernova Group. He has advised/ consulted for agencies of the U.S. federal government. He developed this course on Gamification and co-wrote a book on game theory/ gamification for business.Additional info:

5. Data Analysis and Statistical Inference / Duke University

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The MOOC Data Analysis and Statistical Inference, from Duke University on Coursera, covers statistics from the aspect of a “science of understanding and analyzing data,” and using real world data to make inferences and conclusions. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is over 190k. The course, which had an open session at time of writing, is taught by Dr. Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, PhD (statistics), Assistant Professor of the Practice at Duke’s Department of Statistical Science. Çetinkaya-Rundel’s research includes the development of student-centered learning tools for introductory statistics, and spatial modeling as related to survey, public health and environmental data. She co-authored the free online textbook OpenIntro Statistics (PDF), which is used in the course, as well two other statistics textbooks (one for high school students), all of which are available for free download, along with data sets used.Additional info:

  • Platform: Coursera
  • Institution homepage: Duke University
  • Total enrollment: 291703
  • Lecturers: Dr. Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel

4. Introduction to Computer Science / Harvard University

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The MOOC CS50x Introduction to Computer Science, from Harvard on edX / HarvardX, covers the basics of computer programming for both comp sci majors and non-majors. Topics include algorithms and problem solving, abstraction, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, Web development and more. Languages, markup and databases covered include C, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and SQL. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Oct 2012 is about 348.5K. The course, which is currently archived, is taught by David J. Malan, PhD (computer science) et al. Malan is a professor of Computer Science and is the Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard. Other members of the team are doctoral and undergrad students at Harvard.Additional info:

  • Platform: HarvardX
  • Institution homepage: Harvard University
  • Total enrollment: 348476
  • Lecturers/team: David J. Malan, Rob Bowden, Zamyla Chan, Allison Buchholtz-Au

3. Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence / Case Western Reserve

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The MOOC Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence, from Case Western Reserve University (Case) on Coursera, covers topics in leadership using mindfulness, compassion and emotional intelligence. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 493k. The course, which has multiple sessions from 2014-2015 archived, is taught by Richard Boyatzis, PhD (social psychology). Boyatzis is a Professor in several departments (Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science) and a Distinguished University Professor at Case. Boyatzis has written over 100 articles on leadership, emotional intelligence and related topics, and written several books on leadership and management, published in several languages.Additional info:

2. Introduction to Philosophy / University of Edinburgh

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The MOOC Introduction to Philosophy, from University of Edinburgh on Coursera, covers key topics in contemporary philosophy, what its aims and methods are, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, metaphysics and more. Total enrollment since the course’s launch in Jan 2013 is about 500K. The course has archived text and video content, with seven sections — each taught by a different lecturer: Dr. Dave Ward, Professor Duncan Pritchard, Dr. Michela Massimi, Dr. Suilin Lavelle, Dr. Matthew Chrisman, Dr. Allan Hazlett and Dr. Alasdair Richmond — all University of Edinburgh faculty.Additional info:

1. Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems – Part 1 / University of Maryland

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The MOOC Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems – Part 1, from University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) on Coursera, covers the basics of developing mobile apps for the smartphones and tablets on the Android platform, from development environment setup to creating apps. This course and Part 2 are part of the Coursera Mobile Cloud Computing with Android specialization track. Total enrollment since the course’s launch is about 600000K. The course, which has both archives and several sessions scheduled for 2015, is taught by Dr. Adam Porter of UMD. Porter is a professor of Computer Science at UMD and the UMD Institute for Advanced Studies. He has won awards for teaching and research, and has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals.Additional info:
   

REFERENCES

Some information for this list is referenced from the following Web pages and sites.

  • http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2014/01/the_first_year_of_edx_research_findings_to_inform_online_learning.html
  • http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/mooc-completion-and-retention-context-student-intent
  • http://harvardx.harvard.edu/multiple-course-report
  • http://thedata.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/mxhx/faces/study/StudyPage.xhtml?globalId=doi:10.7910/DVN/26147&studyListingIndex=1_3e705cc9acc624ec58fa1c90a2c3
  • https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/05/10/new-study-low-mooc-completion-rates
  • http://www.katyjordan.com/MOOCproject.html
  • http://odl.mit.edu/mitx-working-papers/
  • http://harvardx-mitx-year2.odl.mit.edu/appendix.html
  • http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2381263
  • http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2382242
  • https://weatherhead.case.edu/news/2013/05/08/a-class-of-75000-aspiring-leaders-flock-to-professor-boyatzis-mooc


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