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Learner Reviews & Feedback for An Intuitive Introduction to Probability by University of Zurich

1,694 ratings

About the Course

This course will provide you with a basic, intuitive and practical introduction into Probability Theory. You will be able to learn how to apply Probability Theory in different scenarios and you will earn a "toolbox" of methods to deal with uncertainty in your daily life. The course is split in 5 modules. In each module you will first have an easy introduction into the topic, which will serve as a basis to further develop your knowledge about the topic and acquire the "tools" to deal with uncertainty. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to complete 5 exercise sessions to reflect about the content learned in each module and start applying your earned knowledge right away. The topics covered are: "Probability", "Conditional Probability", "Applications", "Random Variables", and "Normal Distribution". You will see how the modules are taught in a lively way, focusing on having an entertaining and useful learning experience! We are looking forward to see you online!...

Top reviews


Apr 26, 2022

Wow. What an amazing journey. Engaging, exciting, and as far from broring as it is possible while providing actual knowledge. Perfect balance. The only downside of this course is that is it too short.


Mar 22, 2023

It's a great course, loved the way Prof. Karl Schmedders explains things. However one area of improvement of this course is - the methods adopted in the exercises needed to be covered in the lectures.

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1 - 25 of 659 Reviews for An Intuitive Introduction to Probability

By MD. S I

Aug 10, 2020

This course has made me fall in love with probability. Highly recommended for anyone who dislikes probability. You will end up loving probability later. Great instructor and quality lecture material.

By Rick N

Jun 19, 2020

This course contained useful information, but I disliked the corny, jokey style in which it was presented.

The quiz questions and answer choices were confusing and frustrating. I especially disliked the obscure cultural references, such as television shows or internet memes. There were also numerous typographical errors and grammar errors.

A good point was that numerous real-world examples were presented. A bad point was that several annoying, silly, and unrealistic toy examples were presented.

The content was useful, but I wonder how useful it would be to someone who has no prior statistical or report-reading experience. For example, some students may have never seen a p-value before, and the explanation provided may have been insufficient for them.

I also strongly object to the use of the term "hard variable" to describe a variable that is clinically important.

"Hard variables" are those that are quantified and objectively measured. "Hard data" are data that take on quantitative values, and this is not restricted to births and deaths.

"Quality of life" is often subjective, not objective, so I do not consider it to be a "hard variable", even though it is clinically important.

I am glad I took the course because the content of the course is important.

However, I did not enjoy taking the course. It left me with an unpleasant, frustrated feeling of belittlement. The professor seemed to speak to the students as if they were young children. I was puzzled at why the professor apparently did not take the material seriously.

By Francesca R

May 21, 2020

I really enjoyed this course. The explanations are clear and, as suggested by the title, the lecturer uses intuition and daily-life examples rather than abstract and formal definitions and notations.

By Amir G

Aug 13, 2019

after week 4 it is more teaching excel than probability and quiz was more "learn to find a calculator for this kind of subjects" than examine knowledge of probability.

By Yueqi Z

Nov 3, 2022

Perfect! I try to find a class that can help me review the basic knowledge of probability to be better prepared for my master and this class is exactly what I want. Professor Schmedders taught very well and I recommend highly this class. Of course, this class is just an INTRODUCTION to probability. So if you want an intermediate level, then this class may not be suitable. But, if you are a person who learnt probability years ago and kind of forget the thinking ways of probability, this class can help you pick yourself up quickly and help you recall the knowledge of probability. If you are totally new to probability, this class is also suitable because the professor used many cases to help you understand the interesting side of probability ( : ( PS: if you need to do probability exercise like me, you may find probability is not as interesting as before >-<)

By Benjamin L

Apr 26, 2017

Easy to understand, funny, straightforward, and taught in such a way that it is immediately clear as you are learning how these skills can be used in the real world. I highly recommend this course to anyone seeking to learn about the fundamentals of probability, even those who don't use the subject in their career or lives.

My only bit of criticism would be that the course relies on intermittent checks for understanding as the sole criterion for passing the course rather than longer, broader problem sets. I would love to see more in the way of rigorous exams and projects. But I suppose that's what more advanced courses are for! If this course is intended to be a gentle introduction to the broad subject with the understanding that students will follow up with more advanced coursework as necessary, they have certainly succeeded admirably at that goal.

By Rahul R

Jun 28, 2020

The course is an excellent start for anyone who needs an essence of probability in the most easy to understand form. I totally enjoyed the course.

By Yoás S R G

Feb 12, 2017

I want to thank and congratulate Prof. Karl, José and all the people involved in the development of the course for this incredible series. The lectures of Karl were outstanding, very clear, direct to the point, with concrete examples to erase any doubts. The exercises with José helped me reinforce the concepts learned with Karl, not to mention the real world applications (the most enjoyable part for me), which also were very interesting and were the main reason the course got me hooked.

To be honest, I had already taken a probability course many years ago but this was definitely better. Now I realize I hadn´t fully understood key concepts until now and I´m sure that in the future I won´t forget them easily.

If anything I would suggest adding another application to the Bayes´ Theorem: Bayesian Networks for Artificial Intelligence.

Thanks again and I really really look forward to take another course on a related subject with you guys.

By David N

Nov 23, 2022

If you struggled with probability and came out more confused, like me, this course is a game changer. I can't recommend this enough. The key to all of it is allowing yourself to listen to Professor Schmedders and absorb what he's saying on the intuitive level. I am so glad I did. This is absolutely fascinating now, and went back to my old books wondering why this was so difficult. I can say in hindsight, it was the focus of not really understanding the meaning and the constraints of the applications. Where I made those fundamental errors such as "the flaw of averages", "the prosecutors fallacy", and the variance in the normal distribution being comparable. Thanks you, thank you, thank you. Looking for more courses and opportunities in probability, which are limitless or should I say have a cumulative probability of being applicable =1.

By Rose M

Dec 9, 2020

An excellent introductory course, without emphasising maths it still manages to convey key concepts of probability and data analysis and interpretation. In fact, with less stress on mathematical theory the logical thought behind probability is teased out to give you a great intuitive understanding of the basics .Hats off to Professor Schmedders, I think having completed quite a few coursera courses, he is probably the most entertaining lecturer on here!

By Shantanu P

Mar 23, 2023

It's a great course, loved the way Prof. Karl Schmedders explains things. However one area of improvement of this course is - the methods adopted in the exercises needed to be covered in the lectures.

By Rachit

Jun 17, 2017

Amazing course to understand the nature of probability and its applications. Lecture delivery by Karl is fabulous and the efforts put in by Jose is highly appreciable. Hoping for an advance course.

By rims

May 17, 2019

Excellent way of teaching. Clear Explanation of the topics with to the point discussion. Diverse applications of probability covered in one course. Definitely helpful in my office / research work.

By Arundhati A

May 25, 2018

The course explains probability and normal distribution concepts in a way it is easier to follow. And makes it further easier using usual excel function. Very well taught course! A big thank you!!

By Alekhya T

Jul 27, 2023

I was looking to build a good foundation in the field of probability, seeing as it is my weakest sub-subject in math. Week 1 was a good reinforcement.

However, I noticed that the concepts became very difficult to understand after the second week. Adequate explanations were not provided when learning new concepts, and I had to look up multiple concepts and watch separate videos to understand them. I finished the course now, and it has left me more confused than before...?

Also, after Week 4, it was all about executing commands in Excel. As someone who doesn't use Excel all that often and was looking for explanations that could be used in olympiad examinations (the name says that it is an "Introduction", which is why I thought it would build a foundation that I could use), I was disappointed.

The in-class questions and Exercise quiz questions were oddly specific to the prompts in class. For example, in the Exercise questions, the answers to whatever would be asked on the quiz would be answered. You merely had to copy them.

Naturally, it would be expected of me to rate this course lower than 3 stars, but I do like how a lot of real life examples were used and many different formulas and diagrams were displayed.

By Paul K

Mar 3, 2018

Very basic, but a great introduction

By Edwin C v E

Jul 30, 2023

As the title suggests, it really is an intuitive introduction to probability. In many math and statistics courses, the “theorem, proof” approach is taken. Not so in this course! The number of formal definitions is kept to a minimum and hardly any proofs are given (except the total obvious ones). Instead, the prof takes a more intuitive approach on how to calculate probabilities of primarily discrete (and some continuous) variables.

The many practical, real world examples given in the field of e.g. finance, construction, insurance and games make an illuminating connection with the world around us. The handful of Excel documents that are supplied help to play around with the concepts and built-in probability functions in Excel. If a specialization would be created by this professor, then I would certainly enroll. Too bad there is no final exam, which would be my only remark.

By Naveen G

Apr 7, 2020

I always used to run away from the probabilistic world, until I enrolled in this course. Prof. Schmedders delivered on his promises by not just giving a great foundation on probability, but also by making it fun (with a good sense of humor) and exciting (with real world applications as examples). And yes, I no more hate probability. I'd like to convey my heartfelt gratitude to Prof. Schmedders for this wonderful course. The exercise sessions were also fun. The supplementary reading material was also very interesting, and it serves as a lifetime notes. May be, a final quiz covering all the modules would be worth having in order to test ourselves.

I request Prof. Schmedders to create more courses on advanced probability as I believe he would be able to make a difference in teaching probability.

By Jelena M

May 16, 2024

Excellent course! I loved how Carl introduced probability, and I strongly encourage anyone who is struggling to understand basic concepts of probability to take this course. It is not advanced, it's pretty general, so it's good for beginners. Carl really does a great job giving real world examples and if you don't get the first example, you'll definitely get the other one, so attention is paid that different people are able to understand the concept. Another plus is that although there are some rather complicated math formulas introduced, they are just for show, you will not be using those in tests. All in all - excellent choice for someone looking for a general introduction to probability, without too much detail and nitty gritty.

By Victoria L

May 31, 2018

Excellent course to introduce or review concepts of statistics and probability. I found the calculations of probabilities much easier to do than before starting the course and following the Excel functions. I also loved the energy and charisma of both Professor Karl and assistant Jose as well as the types of exercises (e.g. Biles Olympic performances or the probabilities to survive being hit by an asteroid). Please, please, please, do another on-line course like this one for next level statistics. I would love to learn more about Bayesian applications, for example, and through your teachings. In short, I highly recommend this course for a refresher of statistics and for learning statistics in a fun an applicable way. Cheers!

By Sushant M S

Feb 6, 2019

A very very good course for the people who fear probability section. The professor explains well from the basic as if you know nothing about the probability and that's the speciality of this course. Go for it if you are willing to gain some basic and also influential knowledge about probability. By the time I was taking this course I was a reading a book named 'The Black Swan' by Nassim Nicholas Taleb . And I tell you there were many similarities between the sayings of this professor and the author of the book. Well that might be the another reason I enjoyed this course well. After all, a very good course for the beginners who are going to take a little step further in the corporate world. Thank you.

By Sherif S A

Aug 6, 2020

As the title suggest it is an intuitive introduction and that is exactly what it delivers. I always had a problem understanding the different concepts of probability and mainly because it is usually taught in an abstract way, so I could not link the concepts to any useful application, and this is exactly what shines in this course. Every concept is introduced in a real world examples, so you really understand what these concepts are all about and suddenly it transfer from an abstract math calculation to concepts that maps to daily examples. And I specially thank professor Schmedders and Jose for the amazing work and clear explanation for every little detail.

By Dario B

Aug 25, 2017

I took a probability course almost 20 years ago, and it kinda vanished due lack of usage on my daily job. But as preparation for Data Science career path, I decided to take a refresh about it and found this course. I totally enjoyed it! Even when I may have preferred a little bit of additional theory and samples in Python (I come from CS ;-), I understand that the current format of the course reaches a much wider audience. This is one of those rare cases when abstract theory is smashed to the ground of applications, in a quite amusing way. Über-kudos for the Profr. and TA; they did an astonishing job and I hope they publish more courses in the future.

By Ajay P

Jun 15, 2022

As a person who did not enjoy probability taught in school, this course made me change my point of view. Loved to learn about the real-life examples like the recent financial crisis and probabilistic laws like Benford's Law, Prosecutor's fallacy etc explained by the professor. This course is not heavy on the math tests by design as it is intended to be just an intuitive introduction to probability. The course is very well designed for the target audience. I would definitely love to sit by the fire with the professor and burn the old logarithmic / probability distribution tables while munching on the scrumptuous marshmallows.


Sep 21, 2020

For the first time ever i found that probability does have some really cool applications. I have always kept learning Probability formulas for my exams without even knowing their applications and in depth derivations. This course gives In-depth understanding of every rule of probability with many case studies and real world examples. Special thanks to Professor Karl. He made probability so fun and explained its applications to the real life problems. I recommend this course to everyone out there who has ever thought why we study probability and want to see probability controlling real world situations.