About this MOOC#

This website hosts the learning materials for a massive open online course (MOOC), which consists of two courses taught at the University of Helsinki: Working with Text in Python and Natural Language Processing for Linguists.

The MOOC is intended to provide an introduction to applied language technology for audiences who are unfamiliar with language technology and programming. The learning materials assume no previous knowledge of the Python programming language.

Warning

This MOOC is currently only available to students at Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences. The MOOC will be opened to everyone in autumn 2022.

About the courses and their goals#

The field of language technology (or often interchangeably, natural language processing) studies how computers can process and represent natural language, that is, languages spoken, written or signed in the world. Language technology is now used in many real-world applications, which range from traditional tasks such as filtering e-mails for spam to complex communicative situations, such as providing customer service using chatbots.

As a part of this development, language technology has become increasingly accessible in recent years. Popular programming languages such as Python enable users to apply the latest language technology. Newcomers, however, may find programming languages such as Python intimidating.

For this reason, this MOOC is intended as a gentle, hands-on introduction to applying language technology using the Python programming language. The MOOC is designed with newcomers in mind, targeting particularly students of languages, linguistics and communication, in order to empower them by making language technology accessible and understandable.

Instead of treating text simply as data and a source of some information to be extracted, this MOOC emphasises text as the product of linguistic processes, which are inextricably related to language use in society. If you are already familiar with language technology, these learning materials may hopefully broaden your perspectives on language.

Information for students at Finnish higher education institutions#

Students currently enrolled in Finnish universities or universities of applied sciences can get study credits for completing the course via Open University. Please see the course pages for more information.

Information for other users#

The learning materials are available with a Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0 licence, which means they can be freely used for teaching and learning.

Instructors can contact me for access to the course assignments. You can find my contact details on my personal website.