- 2 reviews
- 2 completed
The best aspect of this course is its interdisciplinary approach: it blends history, literature, philosophy, art, photography and cinema in a fascinating, intellectualy stimulating mix. It includes video lectures, and readings by several different authors ranging from Hobbes to Borges. Also, students are strongly encouraged to discuss the materials and express their opinions. The first half of the course is really good: it explains different ideas from different thinkers and authors and is lively and stimulating. But the sections about the latter decades (from the 1940s onwards) are much poorer, and extremely US-centered. Sometimes the material is biased and poisoned by the conservative political opinions of the main instructor. There were some technical problems. Besides the usual multiple-answer quizzies, students had to submit three essays, to be graded by an experimental software, that was used for the first time in this course and had endless problems. Discussion was an important part of the course, but unfortunately the discussion forums in EdX are set up in a very impractical way. If the second half of the course were as rich as the first, and the instructor were less politically biased, this would be a great course. As it was offered, it's good, but not great.
This course offers a survey of many different models, mainly from the social sciences. It introduces several interesting (at least for the layman) and sometimes deep concepts and shows with examples how models are constructed and compared to actual data and situations. But overall it is a quick and cursory survey, totally lacking depth and precision. Prof. Page's speaking style is easy and very informal (maybe too informal), and it may pose difficulties for students whose mothertongue is not English. The lectures have captions, but they are peppered with errors and holes. Some exercises are embedded in the video lectures, but they are mainly a distraction. I took this course in autumn 2013, and prof. Page never showed up; the course was managed by a single heroic TA. Overall it required me a considerable amount of time, and it was not as good as I expected.