Dive into the world of the Internet of Things on a comprehensive open online course

Introduction to the Internet of Things, an open and free online course, provides a comprehensive overview of the building blocks, applications, challenges and opportunities of IoT.

A new open and free online course entitled Introduction to the Internet of Things has been launched. The English-language course organised by the University of Helsinki provides the basics on the Internet of Things (IoT), while also including advanced and applied knowledge.

Many devices in everyday use are connected to the internet or other devices. These include smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, heart rate monitors and many household appliances. The electrical grid, agricultural systems, buildings and smart cities are also part of the ecosystem known as the Internet of Things.

“After completing the course, students will understand the significance of the Internet of Things in our everyday lives and the opportunities associated with it. They will also be able to design and evaluate IoT devices, applications and systems," says Professor of Computer Science Petteri Nurmi from the University of Helsinki, the teacher coordinating the course.

The course is suited as the first course on the Internet of Things. While there are no formal requirements for prior knowledge, a basic understanding of computer science will help students gain as much as possible from the course. Consequently, the course is suited, for example, to first-year master’s students of computer science or those in the final stages of their bachelor’s studies.

From underlying structure to privacy and security

The individual chapters of the Internet of Things course focus on understanding the key components of IoT from different perspectives: applications and devices, operating systems and software, sensors, information networks, data management, as well as privacy and security.

Each chapter contains theory and assignments. Some of the assignments can be completed entirely independently, while others include peer assessment. To complete the course, you must earn at least half of the maximum score for each assignment.

According to Nurmi, the course encompasses the entire spectrum of IoT devices from simple devices to extensive industrial systems. This way, students will also gain the ability to understand and apply IoT solutions in professional life.

“On the course, students learn to design IoT systems and understand their challenges and opportunities. Through practical examples, they get to consider what kind of device would be suited to a specific problem and, for example, what kind of power source it should have. Students will also have the opportunity to consider the problems and sources of errors associated with the use of certain sensors and to identify potential privacy and security threats,” Nurmi says.

“In practice, you come across IoT technologies in some form in every workplace. This is why it’s important to understand the components and technical solutions involved and their function. In the future, IoT systems will also be increasingly important sources of data and information, making it a good idea for those involved in data science and the data economy to understand such systems,” he notes.

You can start the Internet of Things course at any time. Its scope is four credits, with an indicative completion period of six weeks. The credits can be registered at the Open University. Degree students can earn five credits by completing an end-of-course examination after completing the MOOC.