I recently completed the course “The Analytics Edge” on edX, provided by MIT. The Analytics Edge largely uses R to teach on data analysis and regression methods.
Having been out of traditional schooling for a couple years now I was not sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, both by the thorough content, as well as the quality of instruction for what is essentially a 100% online, no contact with the instructor class.
I think the difficulty of MOOC classes is that the instructor team has to create a course that is easy enough to understand, as well as challenging enough to really make it worth while for participants to feel like they got something out of it, they may not have received from simply doing equivalent tutorials on the material. This is where the team behind The Analytics Edge really impressed me. At no point in the course did I feel like the material was moving too slow, or too fast. The instructor was never just saying, alright enter these variables into the formula, something that you grow used to when most of your previous learning came from googling for help and ending up on stackoverflow. Whenever a function or command was used, the instructor made sure to explain how it was used, as well as the output of it.
The videos are well put together, and included subtitle tracks, both of which are made available for download. I greatly used this feature to be able to take most of the course while on the train to and from work. Additionally the lecture sequence quick questions were a great way to brush up on the material I had just learned, while not being too close the the walk-throughs in the lecture to be able to just change out a couple variables. I actually had to think about the problem being presented, and figure it out on my own, something that is always valued in the world of analytics and programming.