Building the community
Community is everything! So when there is none, we build one by ourselves.
Last week we completed the first machine learning course, based on a popular course by Andrew Ng, on our educational platform WeCliqued.com. Seven people finished the program on schedule, and we expect three more to finish it this week, for a total of 30% completion rate. This is almost three times higher than for the original course on Coursera which has a 12.5% completion rate. There are two reasons for such high efficiency: one is fixed weekly schedules for coursework, together with the fellow learners, and the other one is mentoring by our CEO Davor Runje. After thirteen weeks of hard work, the results are here and we have ten new people joining the community of machine learning experts in Zagreb.
We are often asked why we are investing so much time and money into building an educational platform and organizing free educations. To paraphrase John Donne:
No company is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every company is a piece of the community,
A part of the main.
Thus, the answer is quite simple: we need a strong community of experts in order to succeed. Therefore, why we are building the machine learning community, we are doing it systematically and with increasing intensity. Next week we are starting the new advanced course in deep learning based on CS231n course from Stanford in Zagreb and the introductory machine learning course based on Coursera in Pula. The goal is to kickstart the community using education in each major city in Croatia and then drive the quality by continually increasing the depth and quality of advanced courses. The loop we are building by using our platform is a viral one: former student are becoming mentors for the ever-increasing number of newcomers into this fast growing field.
The news about this success story didn’t go unnoticed by the media and there is a very positive article about it in the leading technology portal in the region Netokracija (article in Croatian is here: http://www.netokracija.com/wecliqued-online-tecaj-strojno-duboko-ucenje-131720). The article alone was responsible for 25% of new enrolments, while 75% came from our own and our students’ posts on social media. The advanced course in deep learning was fully booked in just one day, the introductory course in machine learning in two!
The untapped interest was here all along, but some structure was needed to turn it into the community. We hope we provided the right one.