Profile

Amy Wilson profile image

Amy Wilson

Student

  • 7 reviews
  • 4 completed
Content 
Instructor 
Provider 
I'm a software developer who studied discrete maths and semantics at university so I am not within the stated demographic of this course. I signed up because the reviews were great and I admired Professor Devlin's commitment to the pedagogical side of it, and also because the course's promotional material indicated that this course would address the huge difference in mindset between high school maths and university maths, and I was curious what that was since I didn't remember it (In retrospect I think this may be a US/UK concept and some other countries like New Zealand where I'm from must be doing better with a gradual transition on this front). I almost quit in the first couple of weeks as it became clear I was familiar with the material already, but then I read one of Professor Devlin's blog posts where he says that if the first week or so seems easy, it's only because you are not connecting with the material on the right level, and you will find yourself lost by the middle of the course. Well that sounded like a challenge! So I stuck with it. In the last week or so with real analysis, there was some material that was new to me. Proof grading against a course rubric was the major component of this course (more so than in previous iterations), and I have to say that I found this a very frustrating experience (and not in the good way which is ultimately rewarding). The professor's grading often seemed fickle, docking points from a very clear proof for lack of clarity and reasons one moment and giving full marks to something very terse the next. I'm sure there were (mostly) good reasons for his choices, but they were not communicated in a way that allowed me to calibrate effectively. I ended up bombing on the practice exam gradings, even though my own exam got a good grade. This course is obviously very rewarding to many people so I gave it a good grade despite my own mixed experience. But for my money, for people with a solid maths background, I would recommend Calculus: Single Variable by Robert Ghrist over this course. It was more difficult and more fun.
Content 
Instructor 
Provider 
I'm a software developer who took a first year calculus course 13 years ago but can remember literally nothing about the content. The first week or two was a real uphill battle as I struggled to cram the prerequisite knowledge such as trig identities back into my brain, but things evened out after that. I've taken some great MOOCs, but this is the first one I've taken where the medium of the video lecture has truly elevated the quality of the delivery beyond what is possible in a traditional lecture theatre. Professor Ghrist has truly put his heart and soul into the production of the animated videos that make up the lectures. They are clear, concise, charming and sometimes very funny. Professor Ghrist and the TAs were very active and supportive in the forums. This is also the only MOOC I've taken where the answers to the assessments were posted, which was very helpful for our learning. This course is unlikely to be of any use to me professionally, but it is the most rewarding MOOC I have taken so I cannot regret it!
Content 
Instructor 
Provider 
This course is lightweight but what there is of it is of high quality. Clear lectures and polished assessments. The lecturer was very active in the forums and once I even saw him respond to a student saying they didn't understand why they got an answer wrong in an assignment by saying he looked at that students submission and worked out where they were having difficulty for them. That never happens in MOOCs!
Content 
Instructor 
Provider 
I've completed several MOOCs (including CS-169-1x) and dropped several others for not having enough content. This is the first one I've dropped because I couldn't keep up. I did the bare minimum required to get a high mark in CS-169-1x and that just didn't give me enough understanding of Rails to get me through the first homework assignment quickly enough. I don't think I'll try again unless I find the time to muck around with Rails in my own time in the interim. Presumably it's a good course if you can stick with it, the first part definitely was.
Content 
Instructor 
Provider 
I'm a professional software developer with no prior Ruby experience. The lectures in this course are literally recordings of the lectures of the Berkeley course it's based on. Which works well enough. The assignments are probably the best of any MOOC I've taken, challenging but not distressingly so. The course runners seem to have taken the MOOC philosophy of "set and forget" a bit too far. There are many references to the course textbook which has changed a lot since the course first ran and the chapter/section references don't line up. It even has a different name now! The discussion forums, both the traditional one and the "experimental" one, are terrible to use compared to on Coursera and don't get nearly as much use. On the whole I felt much more isolated taking this course than ones on Coursera. Definitely take this course, but be prepared not to be spoonfed!
Content 
Instructor 
Provider 
I'm a software developer who enrolled in this course to get a taste of an unfamiliar technology stack. I am dropping this course even though I've successfully completed other MOOCs and was more excited about this one than any others. We are in week 6 of the course. All the homework was released close to on schedule, but we have only had 2 weeks of videos and 2 weeks where the lectures were released in pdf form. The schedule has been slipped by a week to fix this but I am very doubtful that 4 weeks of video are going to spring up in the next 4 days getting us back on track. The lecture content that has been presented has been good, not very consistent in its granularity, but worth watching/reading. The assignments are what concerns me that this course may not be good even in its second run. I use assignments in MOOCs to hack my brain into thinking it's under pressure to learn stuff. Even though I'm fully aware your grade in MOOCs is meaningless, it gamifies the situtation enough to motivate me. Unfortunately most of the assignments in this course are just walkthroughs. You don't need to understand what you're doing to complete them. And then at the end, all you submit is a permalink to the github commit of your work. You get the marks as long as what you submit looks like a github permalink. It's possible they're going to actually run tests on that stuff down the track, but that gives people no chance to improve if it turns out they made mistakes. So much for Coursera's "mastery learning"! The whole thing is very demotivating. Contrast with EdX's SAAS course, where I just did the assignment for the week on rails. You are told to make some changes to an app you are given, but not how to make them. Then you submit a link to a heroku app you have deployed. Automated tests are run against the app and you are told which ones failed so you know what you still need to work on. That actually involves learning something, and gives a feeling of achievement when you get the marks. You may say this course is designed for self-motivated learners, well sure, if you go off on your own bat and learn node and bootstrap and what have you, you will learn heaps. But you don't need to enroll in the course to do that! I will probably enroll in the second iteration of this course, if there is one, to see whether it's improved enough to bother with. If it has, I will update this review!
Content 
Instructor 
Provider 
The content of this course is useful and I very much appreciate that 10gen offer it, but I think the instructors forgot it was "for Java developers" around week 3 and just started giving us the exact same content as for M101P. There hasn't been any Java since then, there has been some discussion of PyMongo, and now in week 6 there is a video where they straight up tell us this course does not use java. I wish I had just taken M101P so that I got a consistent learning experience.