Game Theory II MOOC launches

By Heather McCabe posted on May 27th, 2013

Kevin resized photo

Game Theory II: Advanced Applications, a follow-up to UBC’s first massive open online course, or MOOC, launched May 27.

The free, four-week course covers advanced topics in game theory, namely how to design interactions between agents in order to achieve good social outcomes. Some of the topics that will be explored include social choice theory or collective decision making; mechanism design, a broad framework for designing interactions between self-interested agents; and auctions.

“I’m excited about some of this more advanced material,” said Kevin Leyton-Brown, an associate professor of Computer Science at UBC who is one of the instructors for the course. “It has some theory in it that I think is really quite beautiful.”

Leyton-Brown is teaching the course with two professors from Stanford University, Matthew O. Jackson, an economics professor, and Yoav Shoham, a computer science professor.

Currently, about 9,000 students have signed up for the course, and Leyton-Brown expects that number to reach at least 10,000. More than 170,000 students enrolled in their introductory game theory course offered in January, making it the fifth largest course to date offered on the Coursera platform. And students from 95 percent of the world’s countries took the course.

“It was a more effective way of reaching more people than I’ve ever experienced before,” Leyton-Brown said.

Because of the advanced nature of Game Theory II, Leyton-Brown anticipates a lower enrolment than the first course, but a higher rate of completion. “It’s targeting people who really want to roll up their sleeves and do some hard game theory.”

The game theory courses are part of a pilot project involving MOOCs at UBC. Four core courses are being offered through the pilot, and the university will be researching how students learn in this environment and what kinds of pedagogical approaches can be used with these types of courses. Leyton-Brown, for example, has begun to use videos from the first MOOC to teach with a flipped classroom approach in his UBC courses.

The final course in the pilot, Introduction to Systematic Program Design, will launch on June 3.