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HSE’s Online Specialization ‘Advanced Machine Learning’ Receives Outstanding Educator Award from Coursera

HSE's English-taught online specialization, ‘Advanced Machine Learning’, which was created in partnership with Yandex, became the first course in Russia to receive the Outstanding Educator Award in the category of ‘Innovation’ from the global online platform Coursera.

The Outstanding Educator Award is a Coursera Annual Award that honors outstanding lecturers and their impact on students all over the world. Awards are granted in three nomination categories: ‘Transformation’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘Learners First’. The authors of the ‘Advanced Machine Learning’ (AML) specialization were awarded ‘for their innovative contribution to online learning.’ The prize was awarded on April 3 at the annual Coursera Partners Conference 2019 in London.

‘The Advanced Machine Learning specialization is a unique project created by leading machine learning experts,’ says Evgenia Kulik, Director for eLearning at HSE. ‘These experts included more than 20 professors, instructors and researchers of the Faculty of Computer Science at HSE, as well as experts from Yandex, a leader in the industry. The specialization courses were developed gradually: in 2017, we launched the first three courses, and the seventh and last online course became available in 2018. During this time, more than 150,000 students worldwide enrolled for the AML specialization, and now the specialization has more than 100,000 active students. The highest represented countries among our students are the United States (with 33,000 students), India (27,000 students) and Russia (7,500 students). The specialization is also popular in Germany, China and Canada (which account for 4,500 of the specialization’s enrolled students). The presentation of the Coursera award to the authors of the AML specialization confirms the great interest in the courses and specializations of HSE at the global level.’

‘We are proud that, out of several thousand applicants, the jury chose our specialization,’ says Sonya Tekazheva, Project Manager of online courses at Yandex. ‘We have invested a lot of time and resources in this project’s development, drawing upon the experience and expertise of our employees who have been working with machine learning technologies for many years. And as a result, we reached one of our strategic goals: to make the online learning of important current subjects more accessible and effective.’

According to Ivan Arzhantsev, Dean and Professor of HSE’s Faculty of Computer Science, the AML specialization has become a large-scale and very significant project for the Faculty. ‘This is actually the Faculty’s third experience with launching an English-taught specialization on the Coursera platform,’ he says. ‘Earlier we successfully launched the specializations, “Data Structures and Algorithms” and “Introduction to Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science,” which were developed in collaboration with the University of California San Diego. There are also four individual courses taught by members of our faculty that are available on Coursera. Upon submission of a personal statement, students of our faculty can gain full access to all of our specializations and courses at no cost. Students take advantage of this opportunity, and many include Coursera courses in their individual curricula. Currently, we have extensive plans for recording new online courses, and we are confident that what we have done so far is the beginning of something big.’

The ‘Advanced Machine Learning’ specialization includes courses in the sphere of machine learning: ‘Introduction to Deep Learning’, ‘How to Win a Data Science Competition: Learn from Top Kagglers’, ‘Bayesian Methods for Machine Learning’, ‘Practical Reinforcement Learning’, ‘Deep Learning in Computer Vision’, ‘Word Processing in Natural Languages’, as well as ‘Addressing Large Hadron Collider Challenges by Machine Learning’. 

Almost 3,000 people have successfully completed the specialization and received certificates. The most popular course in the specialization is ‘Introduction to Deep Learning’, which has more than 37,000 enrolled students

‘Machine learning is an extremely “hot” field today,’ says Evgeny Sokolov, Deputy Head of the Big Data and Information Retrieval School in the Faculty of Computer Science, and one of the authors of the specialization courses.


The demand for specialists here is high; many companies are now starting to integrate work with data into their business models and they want people who are familiar with the necessary tools and methods

‘I also am aware of a lot of cases where people changed jobs (say, from a developer or an analyst) to become data scientists. Our specialization offers courses on modern areas of machine learning, and the requirements for students’ previous knowledge in the subject are not very high—this explains the high demand,' comments Evgeny Sokolov.

Currently, the Higher School of Economics offers 6 online specializations on Coursera, which enjoy popularity among students all over the world. These programs are practice-oriented projects conducted by the University as well as in conjunction with industry leaders or leading expert centers in particular fields, such as Google, University of California San Diego, and Yandex. In terms of enrollments, HSE specializations rank 13th in the world, making it a competitive contender among university giants such as Stanford, Michigan, Yale, and Princeton.

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