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  • 4 reviews
  • 3 completed
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I really enjoyed this course. Prof. Struck was a fantastic lecturer and his and his whole team's approach carried you through on a wave of enthusiasm through some quite demanding material (especially if, like me you do not have a humanities degree background - I am an engineer). I learnt a great deal. I think the weekly commitment was far more than the stated number of hours, if you really did all the reading required of you in a thoughtful way. It was far more demanding (and enjoyable) than other on-line courses that I am currently doing, but for me was all the better for that. I started out just wanting to learn,not caring about the certificate, but by half way through I was determined to earn one, after all the hard work! I would suggest that whatever the motive is for learning providing some kind of completion certificate certainly helps you keep going!
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This course was very patchy and poor at times, in part due to the different lecturer each week. Overall it seemed somewhat less well executed to me compared with the other Coursera courses I have either just finished (Greek and Roman Mythology) or currently studying (Modern History). It lacked both depth and structure e.g in its guidance to the reading of supporting materials. it should probably increase its weekly study time requirement and thus become a more substantial course. Unlike the other courses I found I was not looking forward to the new downloads on a Monday morning (and in fact they were never there on time for this course anyway!) and so I gave it up. I did learn some new things though so my few weeks were not entirely wasted.
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This is a very well taught and fascinating course. It covers a lot of ground and from a different perspective from the way I was taught History in school, which was totally Eurocentric. It explains individual sequences of events in individual countries as parts of global patterns, indeed the accompanying text book has Patterns in the title. (The textbook is not compulsory). Initially I didn't find Professor Zelikow's style as engaging as Prof. Struck on my previous course, as the study setting seemed a bit formal, but 7 weeks in and I am enjoying the feeling of sitting across the desk from him, as if in a tutorial. As others have said the discussion forums on this course initially seemed pretty poor and in general not worth reading or participation, but they have improved greatly in the last couple of weeks or so, as we have got further into the course. On the Greek and Roman Mythology course interesting points were raised on the boards and discussed periodically in screenside chats by the Prof. and his team. This would be a useful addition to this course, if sufficient issues of merit can be found for Prof. Zelikow to spend his time discussing them.
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I agree with both the other 2 reviewers before me, so I won't repeat their comments. I found this fitted in nicely with the Greek and Roman Mythology course I did before Christmas ( and the reading I had done for that helped greatly). The Professor has a very disarming and almost humble style of delivery and as was said above a great sense of humour,which sneaked in at various points! I found myself remembering a lot more of his lectures than I realised I had and even spouted some newly acquired knowledge to friends when we were going round the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition in London recently. (There were some Greek references/analogies to be made). I would really liked this to have been a longer course, or perhaps Professor Andy could be persuaded to cover some other topics in future offerings.