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Bob Braunstein

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  • 7 reviews
  • 7 completed
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I have a solid background in astronomy and have taught introductory astronomy for a number of years at the college level. This class does a remarkable job of focusing in on a few key issues and examining them in a depth found no where else. Mike Brown is a fantastic instructor and I'd watch anything he chooses to record. I really liked the depth and yet integrated picture of events that were described. The quizzes were very nitpicking. I haven't decided whether I like that part or not.
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An excellent course! Made me rush through it and complete the whole course in 1 week despite taking a number of other courses simultaneously. The descriptions are limited in a few areas, but this is understandable due to the complexities involved. It answered a number of questions I had about how the body works and many more I never even thought to ask. The instructor moves slowly and carefully through the material so it nearly impossible to get lost. Definitely one of the better taught classes here. If they ever put together another course on different bodily systems, I will definitely sign up.
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I admit to not being an architecture guru of any kind, but find this an interesting topic. I have seen and admired a couple of Wright's buildings and so signed up for this course. John Lobell is an excellent lecturer and I gave this course 5 stars as he more than made up for the bugs in the way the course was presented. Hopefully future runnings will iron those out, but I recommend this class regardless. This isn't a rigorous course, but if you're just looking for a fun and informative class, this is it.
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The course content consisted of reading an introductory sociology textbook cover to cover (21 Chapters)in 6 weeks plus some additional readings and videos, so it was quite concentrated as it was the equivalent of a full semester course. There were a few minutes of commentary by the instructor which were mostly biased comments and her views. She was more interested in getting to buy into her politics and social positions than in educating you. The book wasn't the best, but it wasn't bad and it was a lot better than she was. I've taken way worse courses, but I hate it when someone is trying to manipulate me. Especially when that person is suppose to be an unbiased and fair presenter of information.
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The scope of this course is almost all of history up to the Renaissance and the instructor's grasp of this is quite amazing. Not perfect, but still amazing. Took this course a while ago, and I've been amazed at how often bits and pieces of it still come back to me in conversations about a wide variety of topics. The connectedness of world and its architecture is brought out in spades. I've taken about 90 MOOCs at this point and I'd have to say that this class is definitely one of the better ones. I don't often write reviews, but I highly recommend this one if you want a well rounded background.
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I do NOT recommend this class if you have any interest in technology and ethics.  It could have been a fascinating class if had addressed the ethics of modern technology such as genetic engineering, synthetic life, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, singularity theory, robotics, creating mini-black holes, .... But there are NO SUCH DISCUSSIONS in the lectures.  The quizzes are just opinion polls that are automatically given full credit as there are no wrong answers.  The second writing assignment grading rubric is guaranteed to give good grades to even the most awful of answers because it only asks if issues were addressed, not if they were addressed well.  At this point in time, I have taken well over 30 MOOCs and this is by far the biggest waste of time of any of them.
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The course was very interesting and entertaining.  I was motivated to read Roger's book, watch documentaries and movies, and follow along with each lecture.  For those intending to take this course I highly recommend that you pay attention to the discussions.  During the early parts of the course I was motivated to watch, read, and contribute early, but as the course progressed I became more and more appreciative of reading other's comments and chose to work through the material later in the week to gain the advantage of these contribution.  My one and only gripe with the course was the quizzes which had a strong focus on "minor" characters rather than major themes.  But as I'm one of those who has a bad memory for names, you can understand my bias here.