Statements of Accomplishment for Natural Language Processing and Cryptography Coursework

Attorney Shannon Brown received two, Statements of Accomplishment for completing courses in 1) Natural Language Processing and 2) Cryptography. Coursera offers the challenging, non-credit courses which are taught by Stanford University Professors. According to data released by the Natural Language Processing professors, only about 3% of students received a Statement of Accomplishment for that course.

Natural Language Processing Statement of Accomplishment

The first Statement of Accomplishment recognized accomplishment with the challenging, Natural Language Processing course offered by Coursera and taught by Stanford University professors (both whom published the text books on this topic). According to data released by the professors teaching the course, only about 3% of students received a Statement of Accomplishment. Natural Language Processing underlies much of modern analytical software (think algorithm assisted document review or ‘predictive coding,’ Google-like web search, SIRI-like voice recognition software, word processor spell checkers, key word searches, software-based language training like Rosetta Stone), machine learning, and the Jeopardy-winning, IBM Deep Blue). In a nutshell, Natural language Processing permits computers to “comprehend” human language and potentially take action based on that ‘comprehension.’

The non-credit (but graded) course required watching class lectures, completing eight problem sets, and developing eight, substantial, natural language processing software programs in Java. Only students who completed the course with at least a 70% cumulative grade received a Statement of Accomplishment (and as the 3% figure demonstrates, this was NOT easy).

The coursework directly relates to contemporary legal analysis (Law 2.0), and Shannon already incorporated some of the classwork into a software application for efficient e-Discovery–algorithm assisted document review.

Cryptography Statement of Accomplishment

The second Statement of Accomplishment recognized accomplishment for the intriguing, Cryptography course offered by Coursera and taught by a respected and published Stanford University professor. Personally, I have had strong interest in cryptography and computer security since childhood and regularly read cryptography materials. Even with that background and with the highly advanced mathematics required by crypto study, this course was an eye-opener. The course covered very advanced topics in cryptography including detailed analysis of crypto vulnerabilities and attacks on commonly used crypto systems–SSL, full-disk encryption, stream a/block ciphers, banking ciphers, and public-key cryptography. Not only did the course cover these topics, but showed how crypto systems are tested and ‘cracked’ (necessary to verify integrity). Eye opening, compelling, and important information.

The non-credit (but graded) course required watching class lectures, completing six challenging problem sets, and completing a final exam (this exam and the problem sets gave law school final exams a very strong run-for-the-money). Only students who completed the course with at least a 70% cumulative grade received a Statement of Accomplishment.