April 16, 2013 | Marcus Varner | Leave a comment Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are taking the world by storm, changing the availability of education. These courses, of which most are free, are taught by professors and teachers from ivy-league universities to state colleges and can be taken by any wannabe learner. You can’t earn a diploma through these programs yet, but in some programs you can earn a certificate of completion. Go back to school. Find out how much financial aid you may qualify for. The classes offered are on a variety of topics and some are more popular than others. We here at ClassesAndCareers wanted to find out which ones are attracting the most attention. So we tapped into reviews and the like on the popular MOOC sites Coursetalk.org, Udacity, Coursera, and other edX sites, in addition to various blogs on the subject other blogs. Our search turned up these ten free online courses as the most popular out there: 1.Calculus: Single Variable This course, offered by Coursera and taught from University of Pennsylvania, “provides a brisk, entertaining treatment of differential and integral calculus, with an emphasis on conceptual understanding and applications to the engineering, physical, and social sciences.” 2. Artificial Intelligence for Robotics Who doesn’t want to learn more about when and how the Robopocalypse will begin, right? Offered through Udacity, this course teaches students how to program all the major systems of a robotic car from the leader of Google and Stanford’s autonomous driving teams. This class also teaches basic methods in Artificial Intelligence, including: probabilistic inference, planning and search, localization, tracking and control, all with a focus on robotics. Extensive programming examples and assignments will apply these methods in the context of building self-driving cars. 3. Game Theory Provided by Coursera, this course will provide the basics of game theory, which can used for everything from economics to military strategy to sociology: representing games and strategies, the extensive form (which computer scientists call game trees), Bayesian games (modeling things like auctions), repeated and stochastic games, and more. 4. Cryptography I Hosted by Coursera and taught from Stanford, this course focuses on the inner workings of cryptographic primitives and how to apply this knowledge in real-world applications. Cryptography is protecting information in computer systems. And Cryptography II is soon to be added this summer, just in case you want to take it to the next level. 5. Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python This course, by Coursera, “is designed to be a fun introduction to the basics of programming in Python. Our main focus will be on building simple interactive games such as Pong, Blackjack and Asteroids.” This course is taught from Rice University. And, yes, you heard that correctly: you will be building your own game of Asteroids. 6. Machine Learning Another awesome Stanford course hosted by Coursera, this is the course that got the ball rolling with Coursera and was, and still is popular. Learn about the most effective machine learning techniques, and gain practice implementing them and getting them to work for yourself. 7. Computational Investing, Part I The Georgia Institute of Technology presents this course via Coursera. You can find out how modern electronic markets work, why stock prices change in the ways they do, and how computation can help our understanding of them. Learn to build algorithms and visualizations to inform investing practice. In short: you learn how to use computing power to make other people (and hopefully, yourself) rich. 8. How to Build a Startup Looking to blaze your own trail? This Udacity course teaches eager young entrepreneurs the key tools and steps to build a successful startup (or at least reduce the risk of failure). An introduction to the basics of Steve Blank’s famous Customer Development process. 9. Introduction to Physics Maybe you want to study abroad without leaving your comfy recliner. This Udacity course takes you to Italy, Netherlands, and the UK as you learn about physics and the discipline’s major questions from over the last 2,000 years. 10. Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society Hosted by Coursera, this University of Pennsylvania course combines fundamental concepts with hands-on design challenges to help students become better designers. There are many, many choices when it comes to online courses, and these most popular ones may not be your favorite. Thankfully you can search most of the MOOC sites by area of study, by school or by simply putting what you are interested in. Or you can search our site for online courses that will actually earn you a degree. If you want to learn more, visit our Online Courses page.