This article is part of our 2018 MOOC Roundup Series. Find the whole series of articles here. You’ll find articles on the most popular classes, developments on the major MOOC platforms, analysis of the MOOC industry, and predictions about the future of online learning for 2019 and beyond.
As we do each year, Class Central has once again tallied the best courses of the previous year, based on user reviews. (Here are the rankings from 2015, 2016, and 2017.) More than 2,300 courses were offered for the first time in 2018. The courses below are the ten most highly ranked on Class Central, based on the Bayesian average of the thousands of course reviews that came in during the year.
Yet again, the team that created the chart-topping MOOC Learning How to Learn has a course on the list. This time, it’s a course that brings the insights of Learning How to Learn to young people. High on the 2018 list is HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism, a light-hearted take on a heavy topic taught by Uriel Abulof of Princeton University and Tel Aviv University. (Check out the course trailer below to see what we mean.)
In addition to courses from the big MOOC platforms — edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn — you will note that there are two courses offered independently: one on Cartography from the mapping company ESRI and one on AI from the University of Helsinki. Complexity Explorer, a smaller MOOC platform that offers courses on complexity science, also has a course on the list this year.
HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism Princeton University via edX
What sets us apart, and brings us together, as humans? How can we live up to our humanity? Join us as we explore not only “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” but “death, freedom, and the pursuit of meaning.”
★★★★★ (51 ratings)
Learning How To Learn for Youth Arizona State University via Coursera
Based on the most popular open online course in the world, this course gives you easy access to the learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. No matter what your current skill level, using these approaches can help you master new topics, change your thinking, and improve your life.
★★★★★ (45 ratings)
The Elements of AI is a series of free online courses created by Reaktor and the University of Helsinki. We want to encourage as broad a group of people as possible to learn what AI is, what can (and can’t) be done with AI, and how to start creating AI methods. The courses combine theory with practical exercises and can be completed at your own pace.
★★★★★ (50 ratings)
Cartography Esri via Independent
Once, only cartographers made maps. Today anyone can. Still, cartographers can teach people to make better maps, just as chefs can show people how to cook better meals. With coaching from experienced cartographers and practical, hands-on exercises using ArcGIS Pro, you’ll become a smarter mapmaker, ready to go beyond the defaults and make better maps.
★★★★★ (49 ratings)
Applied Scrum for Project Management University System of Maryland via edX
Learn the project management processes, roles, mechanics, and philosophies behind Scrum, the simplest and most pure approach to managing work at the team level.
★★★★★ (40 ratings)
Matrix Algebra for Engineers The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology via Coursera
This course is all about matrices, and concisely covers the linear algebra that an engineer should know.
★★★★★ (17 ratings)
Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.