Announcing Port Harcourt School of AI's New Machine Learning Course

Hello, community!

Machine Learning is undoubtedly one of the most important technologies powering our everyday lives and continues to boast incredible job growth, salaries, and skillsets that can be used in many different industries and is now well sort-after in Nigerian industries such as the FinTech, retail, transportation, healthcare, agriculture, and so on.

We are super thrilled to announce the very first Machine Learning course from Port Harcourt School of AI, "Practical Machine Learning (AKA PML Course)." With a number of amazing experts and practitioners facilitating the classes alongside instructors and mentors, if you are interested in Machine Learning, dig deeper into the post for more.

You can view our line-up of guest speakers/facilitators here .

It's been a long time coming for the community and we are glad its finally here! As a community that is actively working on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4  —Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, nothing brings us more ecstasy.

The course offers up to 3 learning tracks, which are; the prerequisite track (which teaches the foundations of problem-solving in AI, the basics of working with data, as well as the Statistics, Probability, and basic maths needed for machine learning), main track 1 (machine learning); which gives you all the content and necessary guidance needed for you to be a machine learning engineer, by working on applied projects, and main track 2 (deep learning); which walks you through the mechanics of deep learning by working hands-on on projects.

Enrollment and registration for the tracks open on the 17th of February 2020 by 12:00 AM (West African Standard Time). Registration will be open for only a few weeks as we have limited slots. Watch out for this on our blog or social media channels for announcements.

Edit: Update!!! You can now register for practical machine learning course by clicking here . Classes are open for only registered participants. Hurry now before registration closes.

Why This Course?

There are a lot of Machine Learning courses from various training programs out there, how is ours any different? Well, it's because we have been students before (and are still students!) and we definitely relate to your struggles, so we came up with a solution. You know those classes we regarded as "painful", those ones that were in no way practical or immediately applicable to real-world scenarios. We have all been there and that's why we came up with this course and the methodology of delivering the course. Thinking to ourselves, "how can we make the teaching and learning of this technology applicable and practical in such a way that what you learn and how you learn it is no different to how you would typically do in a workplace setting or a business creation and development setting"?

This is why we came up with a method of training that can help you gain not just a practical and applicable way of learning Machine Learning technology, but one that makes sure that every hour of your time is well-spent. Alongside the training program, we have developed professional development programs that will make you job-, career-, and business-ready. For optimal impact, we have also created mentorship and guidance opportunities from some of the industry-leading practitioners both nationally and internationally.

You can find more about the course in the "Program Overview" section on the course syllabus here .

How We Have Done This?

As a non-profit focused on inclusive and accessible learning, all our plans have had one core, and that is to make sure that they are learner and community-centric. Making sure the learning processes are engaging, fun, and collaborative while making it a lot more inclusive for a diverse set of learners.

Although we are quite particular about easing the learning process for learners, we want to make it known from the onset that our learning program besides being fun and engaging is also rigorous, and only learners that truly put in the required efforts to be served by the program will enjoy the optimal benefits of the program. The reason for this is to make sure that learners take the program serious enough to gain the competency from it while completely leveraging all the other benefits it has to offer.

Our Methodology?

There's a joke we throw around and we think you might relate to. When you think of Port Harcourt School of AI (PHCSoAI), think of;

Lamda school's agile and rigorous boot camp technique + Udacity / Coursera's content curation method + MasterClass's expert collection of facilitators.

Over the coming weeks, we will detail this methodology in other blog posts. Stay tuned!

The way we do this is by combining two key elements that drive accessibility and inclusiveness in education while bolstering its promise of making the world a better place:

Empathetic human connection + The much needed educational technology.

Using what is known as a blended learning technique, we try to ensure a proper balance between those two to create the necessary impact.

What Do We Offer?

The Course

You can find the course syllabus here. This course is designed to provide you with a practical and hands-on guide to the latest Machine Learning techniques in the industry setting. Building you into an engineer/developer that can solve real-world problems with Machine Learning is what this course aims to do. You will work collaboratively in a group to build your competency while being guided by world-class guest facilitators, as well as mentors and instructors. You will practice all these ideas in Python and using expert-recommended tools and frameworks, which we will teach.

Expert Guest Speakers and Facilitators and Instructors

Our guest facilitators are a carefully selected mix of experts and practitioners with the necessary industry experiences and academics for a better-balanced perspective, with the skew towards industry practitioners than the academics.

Our instructors are also well-experienced practitioners that have either served as tutors in the past or are serving as one currently, with a combined experience of up to 10 years. We are also looking to recruit more instructors in the coming days to learn from them, for proper continuity.

We will disclose the details of all our course instructors soon, while you can find some of our guest speakers/facilitators on our syllabus. Bear in mind that the syllabus is still being updated so you should constantly check back, or stay in touch with us on our media platforms (@PHCSchoolOfAI on Twitter) and with announcements on our blog as well. Stay tuned!

Learning Tracks

The learning tracks for this course are 3;

  1. Prerequisite learning track; this learning track teaches the foundations of problem-solving in AI with design thinking techniques, the basics of working with data, as well as the Statistics, Probability, and basic maths needed for Machine Learning.

  2. Main track 1 (Machine Learning); which gives you all the content and necessary guidance needed for you to be a machine learning engineer, by working on applied projects while learning through the content.

  3. Main track 2 (Deep Learning); which walks you through the mechanics of deep learning by working hands-on on projects in specialized areas such as computer vision and natural language processing (NLP).

The first 2 tracks are currently available (you can check the syllabus for more information) while the 3rd track is currently under work-in-progress and will be available soon.

Study Group Program

Since our mission is to, in short, "build competency through collaboration", we plan the success of our learners around study groups and how well they contribute to a group. The grading system for "success" in this program is based on how well a particular group performs, not just one person. But the success of a group, based on our grading system, is how well each individual in such group performs. This way we are able to force collaboration over competition in the program, which ultimately contributes to our mission and vision.

Majority of our study sessions are group-based during the week, where we get to provide learning spaces for them, and on the weekends they come in a group again to work on projects under the guidance of our guest facilitators and instructors.

The full package for our study group program includes;

  1. A leadership development training program that aims to develop leadership skills in each and every study group participants. Focusing on both the inner journey of the participants, as well as their outer journey for growth and development. This helps us take care of breeding professional skills in each participant.

  2. Weekly group assessment policy and learner agreement policy that ensures participants that do not contribute to group progress based on selected assessments are giving the chance to perform in other groups, and if not, may get removed from the program based on those policies.

  3. Team-based problem-based learning is at the core of how we designed engagement with our curriculum.

  4. Mentorship gudiance from industry practitioners: A mentor will be assigned to each study group that they can reach in defined hours of the week and through a defined medium of communication.

Educational Technology

To aid our processes and effectively use technology to personalize learning, we employ the use of learning management systems. Here our instructors and mentors carefully select contents for the topic of the week and structure them on the learning management platform for learners that enrol in the main tracks. This way, we can use analytics to track each learner and carefully assess their individual competencies.

National and International Internship Experiences

The community will be actively working with existing partners in bringing in successful talents from our program into the company as interns. We are also partnering with a reputable international exchange organization to provide internship opportunties for successful candidates from our program, with terms and conditions attached.

Working with Local Startups in Port Harcourt and the South-South

As a community, we are not just interested in building a network of competent practitioners but a network that can solve local, societal problems with the technology. To this light, we will partner with some local businesses that are willing to collaborate with us in improving their business process by assigning teams to them to work on projects alongside the guidance of a practitioner as the project mentor to increase their chances of executing the project.

What We Expect You to Do?

We expect that you check;

  1. The syllabus here for more information on the course

  2. Back on the date enrollment and registration for the tracks open (on the 17th of February 2020 by 12:00 AM (West African Standard Time)).

  3. Follow our Twitter account to get the latest updates, and keep in touch with our blog.

Update!!! You can now register for practical machine learning course by clicking here. Classes are open for only registered participants. Hurry now before registration closes.

Till next time, take care!

If you like the blog post, do give us a reaction. Also, if you like the extremely detailed nature of the syllabus, you can also leave a comment below. We'll appreciate it! Your feedback is important and we are always willing to hear your thoughts on what is being done right and what is not.

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