I started in the middle, completing the third course in the six-course series offered by the University of Illinois via Coursera and receiving my first Certificate.

Its been a great experience. I have two degrees (Operations Management and Finance), both earned the traditional way through in-person attendance at public universities. I have really enjoyed the delivery method via Coursera, which features a mix of video-lectures, reading material, quizzes and assignments completed and graded online. I’m convinced this is the shape of things to come in terms of continuing education.

Another neat feature has been connecting with other participants in the MOOC, via LinkedIn and email. Several in the cohort are in the Dallas / Fort Worth area and I am working to schedule a meet-up for those who are interested (date and location TBD).

What’s In the Course?

The marketing analytics in practice course covers four main areas including:

  • Marketing analytics process and planning
  • Data collection & working with unstructured data sources
  • Data analysis & structured data
  • Data visualization methods

I’m finding myself really enjoying the subject-matter, as it combines the three areas I’ve spent a lot of time in during my career: information technology, marketing, and design.

This morning while on the treadmill it occurred to me that Digital Marketing and Analytics seems so familiar because its taking the statistical process control and analytical methods I learned in Operations Management and Finance and applies them to marketing – possible due to the massive amounts of data made available by consumer interactions with web-based systems. Its been a blast so far.

I took the plunge and registered for the complete specialization program, which culminates in a capstone course beginning in December. I completed the first module of the first course today, and will likely finish the rest of the first course tomorrow. I expect I’ll complete courses 2, 4, and 5 in the next two weeks or so (the advantage of working on it full-time.

While I wait for the capstone course to unlock, I plan to work my way through the Google Analytics Academy. I think I may also play around with some of the large, free sources of structured data available on the web and take a crack at learning R, which seems to be rapidly winning market share away from SAS – which is fine by me. I’m all for free, open-source tools over software that costs thousands of dollars.

As always, feel free to add your comments or email me with feedback or questions. And if you are in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, lets connect!