As if I weren’t doing enough this semester already I have decided to take on the task of learning about Machine Learning. The course is offered by a Stanford University associate professor of computer science, Andrew Ng (see http://ml-class.org if you are interested). Originally I was interested in this course simply because I’m a nerd and I like classes like that. Now I am sticking with the course and taking it more seriously because of my recent admission to the cognitive science program at UNC Charlotte. The course should provide me with direction for potential research as well as give me a bit of an edge when it comes to introductory cognitive science concepts and eventually machine learning courses in the program. So far I have only completed the introductory section of the class, but find myself drawn to the material and interested in a very serious way. Beyond the material of the course I am enjoying the way in which the course is being taught. It is designed the way I always thought that distance education courses should be, video lectures with written points, all broken down into easy to handle units. When I say broken into units, I mean each topic is given its own video, with a quiz question to confirm material understanding). If the course were designed any other way I might not be able to convince myself to integrate it into my schedule, but because so far the lectures are no longer than 15 minutes in length, I can easily work on the material any time and feel like I can get something accomplished before I have to be distracted for something else. The most interesting thing about the course design is that it is specific to the course. There is no course management software to get in the way, it IS the course itself. The difference between this course and something like Moodle is that it is cleaner, only what needs to be there is there and there are no distractions from other courses that a student may have (such a thing would not be there in this situation anyway). Why can other online courses not be like this? It isn’t so very different from any other type of course that would ordinarily be offered online.