HI Manisha! Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I graduated with a B.E in Information Science from the National Institute of Engineering, Mysore in 2018. I'm currently working as a Data Scientist at Glance, an Indian artificial intelligence-based software company that delivers personalized content to the lock screens of smartphones. Before this, I worked as a Software Developer at VMWare for about two years.
How was your overall learning experience at Univ.AI?
I have to say that my experience at Univ.AI is incomparable to any other courses that I’ve done before! The LIVE classes gave all of us an opportunity to be very interactive. Both the course structure and Professor Pavlos’ Protopapas’s teaching style were excellent and the entire learning curve has been great for me. At Univ.AI, not only did I get an opportunity to learn AI/ML from some of the top professors in the world, via LIVE lectures, but I also found a platform to hone my soft skills. This is extremely rare in any other online course and is what makes this the best online course on artificial intelligence according to me.
How did you find out about this course?
I learned about Univ.AI from one of my friends at VMWare. She was aware that I was actively looking for a comprehensive course to learn AI/ML, and strongly recommended Univ.AI when she heard about it from another friend of hers. This word-of-mouth recommendation also made it special.
What made you choose this program over any other free course, or a shorter module, instead of a Masters in Data Science at Univ.AI?
I had been seeking a good online course in AI/ML for a while before I found and joined Univ.AI. Personally, for me, the course structure is the most important aspect of any program, followed by the faculty and general student/ alumni reviews. I wasn’t very impressed by the course structures of the other online courses that I had explored before.
When I came across Univ.AI, what influenced me the most was its LIVE nature. After going through the topics covered in the course outline, I felt I had finally found the perfect fit - a course that took me right from the basics to complex, advanced concepts. Finally, when I saw who was teaching the course and read the reviews, I decided that this was the best online course on Artificial Intelligence for me and I was sold!
What aspects of the course did you find the most challenging?
The biggest challenge for me while doing the course was managing my full-time job, along with classes and coursework. The rigorous nature of the course demands a significant time commitment, which sometimes made it difficult for me to keep up, especially in the beginning with labs and exercises. I realized quite early that if I had to make the most of my learning, I would need to invest time, wholeheartedly, and in all aspects of this specially-designed program, modeled on the learning system and experience followed by top academic institutions in the world. Slowly, but surely, I began getting a grip on it and was not only able to manage my time efficiently but also enjoy the learning!
Did you have any specific expectations from the course? Were they met?
I haven’t taken any other online classes before so I came to this without any expectations. But something that surprised me the most about the course was my peers. I did not expect my fellow classmates to be so interactive during an online course. I was fascinated by some of the questions they had, their thought processes, and the interactions this led to. It became very clear from the start itself that everyone was there to learn, which created a very competitive yet healthy environment.
How did you engage with the online nature of the course?
The way the program at Univ.AI was designed made it no less interactive than any offline one. The regular labs, exercises, and break-out rooms created a very communal environment where everyone could share their ideas, get doubts cleared, and solve problems collectively. In fact, the course being online makes it accessible to a wider range of interesting and intelligent people who may not have found a way to come together otherwise.
What would you say are some of the major differences between the programs offered by Univ.AI and the other online courses available?
Apart from the uniqueness of its LIVE nature, the other compelling aspects of the course, which other online courses often lack, are the biweekly labs, in-class exercises, pre- and post-class reading exercises, and office hours. Put them all together and they help better explain the concepts taught in classes and make learning continually dynamic and fun. The homework problems often encouraged us to think out of the box, rather than being tedious in nature. The learning platform, Ed-Stem, was a place where you could post any doubts you had and get them cleared by either fellow students or the excellent TAs.
If you had a chance to redo the course, what would you do differently?
One thing that I often regret about my time with the course is that I wasn’t able to invest as much time as I would have liked to, during the initial modules. So, if I had a chance to do it again, I would spend much more time on the pre- and post-class sessions as they significantly help in understanding the basic concepts being taught in the LIVE classes.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to join the course?
Be sure and ready to dedicate a significant amount of time towards the course as it needs a significant commitment, to ensure you get the best out of the best learning experience at Univ.AI. I would also suggest to them that they do all the given homework, assignments, labs, and exercises sincerely, as this would help them understand all the topics, in-depth and in an enduring manner. In the end, I wish them all the best!