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AJT P

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  • 7 reviews
  • 7 completed
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It's a short and easy course - that's its charm. It's a speculative subject so it's not about building a towering argument to support a theory. This course tries to cover a lot of terrain (not sure terrain is the best word - given the root of the word is "terra" meaning "earth"), the course is shallow but broad. The course lectures' graphics are fantastic for a coursera course. There's a little bit of biochemistry, a little genetics, astronomy, physics and it gets a little philosophical at times. It's a bit like horizon tv programs with quizzes. Is there life out there and if so what's it like? Those question are possibly the most important questions we have no direct data about. Does this course answer those questions. Obviously not! But it'll cost you only a little over an hour a week to investigate them. Gotta be worth it.
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This course is fun, engaging and just the right size. My only regret is that they didn't keep the bouncy intro tune from the first course.
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I really enjoyed the assignments for this course. You get one attempt at each assignment and there are not really analogous worked examples in the lectures. You can't just look for a process - you have to understand the root of what the lectures mean. So: 1\. Watch the lectures. 2\. REALLY think about what the lectures mean. 3\. THEN Answer the questions. Step 1 takes about an hour, step 3 is 5 minutes. Step 2 is the fun part because game theory can be quite counter-intuitive and when it isn't counter-intuitive you assume you've made a mistake - when you haven't - like the game itself is playing a game and is bluffing you -WOOOAHHH DUDE! Yeah, game theory can be pretty trippy at first and the professors have no interest in making sure you feel safe answering the questions. Fantastic!
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I found this course quite dull. Professor Devlin wanted to make the experience "like he was sitting next to you looking at a proof together". It doesn't really work very well on Coursera. Some lecturers leave long pauses in their lectures........... and Professor Devlin is one of them. Long pauses make lots of sense in a physical lecture as it leaves time for thinking. Here's the thing though: Coursera has a pause button. If I have a "Woah!" moment, I'll hit pause or rewind. Of course, I could watch these lectures on high speed, but I don't want the words to be faster - I just want less ......... - not more............. - less................ redundancy .................... and verbal................ whitespace.................. OK.................... what's.................... next.............? It's not just the pauses either. Professor Devlin doesn't seem relaxed in front of a camera. There's a fixed smile that never seems to make it to the eyes making me feel that he's finding it all a bit dull too - like he's having to make small-talk at a party his missus has dragged him to. The assignments aren't terribly interesting either. In the last couple of weeks you're asked to submit proofs for given propositions which are peer reviewed. At least that's something different. Professor Devlin does talk about the challenges of working with MOOCs in supplementary videos. I just don't think his team found the right solution to these challenges. Perhaps they should look at how others have tackled this problem? It's not a bad course though. It's useful stuff and the delivery probably works really well in the physical world - it just feels pretty clunky for Coursera.
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This course was criticized in the forums for the amount of assignment work. I found the time taken on assignments varied from 10 minutes per week to 8 hours per week! If you saw the clever solution it was often one or two lines of code, if not then you could be stuck for an hour. All the puzzles were solvable, and none were that tricky (once you'd spotted your silly mistake!). If you enjoy puzzles and challenge that you've no idea how to solve (especially if you've had no exposure to Python before) then you'll like this. Sometimes the maths will be clear, but expressing it in Python will frustrate - other times it'll be maths that needs decoding. I loved this course. Completing it felt like an accomplishment.
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Always interesting and often entertaining. Professor Noor has a relaxed yet engaging teaching style. Some here have criticized this course for being too easy. It's an introductory course. If you've studied it before then treat it as revision, if not then it's very informative. Either way, it's a lot of fun. Bonus feature: The forums are full of crazies!
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A calculus course that'll make you smile and laugh out loud. Jim Fowler delivers the lectures with energy and humour. The assignments aren't too taxing and there's a whole supplementary site for practice.