Free Online MongoDB Classes

I am pleased to announce that we are now offering free online MongoDB courses for all, available at education.10gen.com. Our first two courses, M101, MongoDB for Developers and M102, MongoDB for DBAs, will be launching in October, but you can signup today.

Richard Kreuter, Lead Consulting Engineering, and I will be co-teaching the developer course. Dwight Merriman, our founder and CEO, will be teaching the DBA course.

This is tremendously exciting for me personally and the culmination of a long journey. At Stanford in the 90s, when I was in the Ph.D. program, there was already a lot of distance learning going on via the Stanford Instructional TV network (SITN). Most of my larger engineering classes were taught in TV studios with industry folks attending via microwave link and a call-in system.

Stanford classes were taught with a three-camera setup and broadcast live. One camera was pointed at the front of the classroom where the Professor sat at a desk and wrote on a pad of paper. One camera looked straight down at the professor's notepad and one camera scanned the live-studio-audience for students asking questions.

As innovative as SITN was, it was far from ideal. Students in the classroom often just watched the monitors, since that was where the action was. Meanwhile, the online students had to watch long lectures with practically no interaction. Grading was still done by hand.

After I graduated, I tried to take a few Stanford classes via iTunes U, downloading the SITN lectures and finding the PDF handouts on the web. It all started out well enough. I would watch the first week or two and do the assignments, which would not be graded.

But, the classes felt dead to me, like watching a video of a party that has long ended. When work got busy, I put off finishing the assignments for a week or two and fell behind. There was no network of students working on the class when I took the class so I was unable to ask any questions or get any clarifications on assignments. I never did manage to finish one of those classes.

Fifteen years after I graduated Stanford I received an email message from a friend that Stanford Professor Sebastian Thrun and Google researcher Peter Norvig would be teaching AI online. I decided to give it a try since I had never taken formal courses in either of those topics. I also signed up for Andrew Ng's machine learning course.

Weeks in, it was clear that these folks had collectively cracked the code on delivering classes online. Nearly all the deficiencies were addressed. The lectures were delivered as a one-on-one tutorial via a Wacom tablet. There were quick quizzes every few minutes to gauge your learning and the students were all moving together as a group, with weekly deadlines. I finished both those courses in the Fall of 2011.

Online education was not invented on that day. Norvig, Thrun and Ng were inspired by the work of Sal Khan at Khan Academy.

Our online classes are inspired by the good work being done in higher education today. We want to make MongoDB universally accessible to anyone with an interest. MongoDB is free to use, and our classes are free to take. 10gen is founded on the principle that before you can harvest value, you must first create it for a humongous community.

Our courses are built on the edX platform through a technology collaboration that gives 10gen early access to the edX source code (they plan to open source it). We will be contributing back our improvements to the courseware stack. edX is not-for-profit company dedicated to educating billions of people using online ed. It's a great mission and we are excited to be able to make a small contribution to it.

Signup for our first MongoDB classes online today and join the online education revolution.

Posted by Andrew Erlichson, VP, Education

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