03 June 2012

NLP Class Completed

The Stanford NLP class finished about a week ago and I got my certificate of accomplishment over the week-end.

NLP Class "Attrition"

Professors Dan Jurafsky and Chris Manning also sent out some course statistics that I saved here and graphed on the right using the Python code in the previous link.

From about the third week of the course onwards I felt like I did not have time to complete watching the lectures and doing the problem sets and programming exercises. Therefore I was wondering what it was like for other people like me with jobs and families.

The graph on the right shows the number of students completing problem sets and programming exercises each week of the course. I have called this "attrition" which cannot be completely right as the number of students completing programming exercises increased from week 6 to week 7.

I have not studied university course attrition rates but I suspect they would differ from NLP-class because of incentives like costs and grade penalties that would lead to students leaving at the start of the course. The somewhat smooth and mostly monotonic curves in the above graph seem more natural for a free class like NLP-class where the main benefits are learning.

So why were people leaving the course all the time? I can only answer for me. In order to learn the skills I wanted, I felt I had to complete the assignments and the assignments were long and tended to get longer through the course. Programming assignment 6 took me the longest and cut into some family time. That seems to be reflected in the graph.

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