Coursera: the revolution in education
I am really like the idea of open education. Currently massive online open courses (MOOC) are on the absolutely new level with initiatives such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, Class2Go, and Khan Academy also of course. Coursera stand out from that list, because of huge spectra of courses from Social Psychology, Quantum Computing to System Biology offered by major Universities of the World.
I just finished Drugs and the Brain class from Coursera by Henry A. Lester. This course is amazing because it combines all of the aspect of the neurological drug action from molecular target to neurons to neuronal circuits to regions of the brain and behavior in final. Of course I can read the book, or articles, that I already did, but I personally find attractive to listen and to see well-known professors. Maybe fill myself a student a little bit.
I took other coursers from Coursera and can say I am really impressed. One of the key aspect for me, as a native Russian speaking scientist, is - studying some of the subjects in English. I consider myself as advanced English "user", but sometimes it's hard for me to discuss material in depth because of limited scientific vocabulary. Just an example: I studied mathematics at school and university, even Latin nature of most of the words used - don't help, some of terms are unique to Russian language. The same for other sciences. So, these courses help me to improve English as a foreign language.
There are definitely other pros: most of the courses taught by well-known professor from leading Universities; interactive way of studying: there are tests, code submission, forums to discuss questions and additional material, etc - help to acquire new information.
Humanity currently on the new level of information processing. We are collecting data in a geometric progression, and we urgently need effective ways to analyze it. In my opinion MOOC is one step to give education for more people and to be more effective in data analysis in the near future.