Democratizing data science

Two new online courses in artificial intelligence will be offered to millions of new learners.

Two new online courses in artificial intelligence will be offered to millions of new learners.

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UdeM partners with to offer two new online courses in artificial intelligence to millions of new learners – with one overseen by Yoshua Bengio.

The democratization of Canadian-led data science takes a leap today as Université de Montreal partners with the U.S.-based online learning platform to offer two free web courses in artificial intelligence.

One of those – a course in deep learning – is overseen by AI pioneer Yoshua Bengio.

The "massive open online courses,", or MOOCs – Bengio's and another in bias and discrimination in AI – are among four new ones UdeM will give via edX, which reaches more than 25 milllion learners  worldwide. 

The other new UdeM courses offered through edX are on the clinical reasoning process in medicine (in English) and on challenges facing child refugees and asylum seekers (in French).

Registration opens today; the courses begin in March.

'A much wider audience'

"This new partnership with edX will bring our online courses to a much wider audience," said Sylvie Normandeau, associate vice-rector of undergraduate and continuing education at UdeM.

"It really represents a democratization of data-science education."

For edX, founded in 2012 by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Insitute of Technology, the partnership marks a move to expand its offering of courses in AI and in the French language. 

"I am excited to welcome Université de Montréal, one of the top research universities in Canada, to the edX partner community,” said Anant Agarwal, edX’s founder and CEO.

“UdeM is a leader in artificial intelligence, which is one of the most in-demand subject areas on the edX platform. We are thrilled that they are bringing courses in this field to our learners around the world, and that their development is overseen by a pioneer in the field, Yoshua Bengio.

“This means that edX learners are getting the most cutting-edge and high-quality learning experiences available, empowering them to gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in our changing workplace."

MOOCs first offered in 2014

Widening its scope to the online community, Université de Montréal first began offering MOOCs in 2014, starting with its EDUlib program propelled through the Open.edX platform. Now, with its new partnership with edX, UdeM is extending its outreach in both French and English to the international community.

At the forefront of its push is the field of artificial intelligence. The two new AI MOOCs were designed in collaboration with the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO) and Mila.

"These courses provide a real opportunity for learners,” said Bengio, a renowned computer science professor who last year was co-winner of the Association for Computer Engineering's Turing Award, considered the ‘Nobel Prize of computing.’

“Not everyone has access to the kind of work we do at Mila and UdeM, so the new MOOCs are a way to spread not only the joy of discovering deep learning but also the intellectual challenge of exploring the ethics of AI.”

Bengio designed the new deep-learning course and acts as its scientific director.

UdeM already offers two computer-science MOOCs via EDUlib: one on data science and health, the other an introduction to deep learning. This fall, UdeM will also start a new program of MOOCs in data science, again with edX.

Students can audit the new courses free of charge, but those who wish to receive an edX certificate upon successful completion will have to pay $149. In the case of the child refugee course, that fee drops to $99.

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