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Jeanne Boyarsky

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  • 33 reviews
  • 29 completed
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The course was misleading. It didn't list any pre-reqs when linear algebra and calculus 2 (or 3) were required. I like that you got a 60 day license for matlab. And some of the videos were good. Some were math heavy. There were a number of complaints in the forum that the quizes were disconnected from the lectures and you got no clues as to whether you were right or wrong. Some of the "optional" support materials were necessary to do the programming assignment. I wound up dropping the class week 4 as I didn't have time to learn enough calculus to figure out the assignment. I don't mind the class was hard. I mind they didn't advertise it properly.
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I already knew a decent amount of Python before this course started which means I didn't learn that much. (list comprehensions were the only thing new.) I signed up because I wanted to see how an intro to programming course could be taught online. I think the professors did a great job. The videos were clearly designed for internet learning and they tried to be fun. The quizzes and homeworks had strong ties to the course. Peer review went better than in some other classes I've taken although I would like to have seen more review of the code and not just the functionality. I liked this discussions held in the forum. I learned about pyUnit (on my own) to make the assignments more challenging - and easier since I had regression tests. Another student did the same so we got to talk about it. The course also held a video contest where the winner got an iPad. I didn't follow along with that during the course, but I think it was a good idea. The course used http://codeskulptor.org as the development environment which introduced consistency and prevented needing to download Python. (I had it already and used my Python for pyUnit.) The browser version didn't work consistently in all browsers. If we are supposed to use Chrome, it would be nice to say that week 1.
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The videos were great as were the discussion forums and instructor interaction. It was great seeing what entry level programmers are taught about interviewing. Especially because I was interviewing interns around this time. I audited the course (didn't do any of the assignments). I did read the assignments and they look good - especially for someone new to the field. Why did I rate the provider so low? First, if you audit the course, you get pestered with emails and comments every time you log in about "don't give up" and "you are running behind; maybe you want to join the next course". Second, there were issues with the assignment reported in the forum and the professors made the decision to allow 1% to be the passing score. That doesn't sound encouraging. I dropped the class in the last week because I got the gist of the discussions and was tired of the "reminders" to register for the next section and try again.
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The course was fine. Like the first in the series, the pre-reqs were unclear and the course was heavily cumulative. This time I had the pre-reqs at least. Much of the discussion in the forums centered around confusion around the assignments. Which were very black box. You got a score. It didn't tell you why you lost points. Yet subsequent assignments (and later parts of the same assignment for that matter) assumes you had a perfect solution. I dropped it because I wasn't gaining anything from trying to mindread and would rather spend my time in other ways. The course did at least let you do the assignments for free so I didn't lose anything by trying it.
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This course was way too easy for me. I took in case there was a project or something that the later coursers in the series referred back to. (There wasn't; I could have easily skipped it.) I feel like the class would have been too fast moving without already knowing the subject.
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I was exposed to Meteor.js for the first time through this course. It was effective in getting me started. I like that the course encouraged finding out how to do things/looking at the docs. The course itself used the standard Coursera format for this series of videos, weekly quizzes and two homework assignments. I would have liked more hands on with Meteor, but the later courses in the series did supply that.
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This course was a good continuation into the series. It followed the same format as the others with lecture, quizes and homework assignments. The homework submission used the same "zip it up" format that I complained about in "Responsive Website Tutorial and Examples". however, here is it isn't a problem because it is just a few files in the zip (and not meteor) so you can read them all (and they run in a browser sandbox)
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This class tied together the specialization nicely. It assumes for the most part, you remember what you've learned about JavaScript, Meteor and Mongo DB (with brief reviews.) It then went into more detailed concepts and using packages. The two assignments gave you a working application and had you extend it. I like this at it let you modify existing code. The quizzes had some ambiguity which was discussed in the forums.
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I like the idea of the course. To talk through some actual examples and have students extend two of them. Why so low? 1) The forums were VERY quiet. One of the high points for me of taking a MOOC is interacting with the other students 2) The instructor/TA weren't in the forum much either. When someone had a question, the TA would say (sometimes the day before the assignment was due) that he/she would ask the instructor. But then we never heard back and the problems/queries didn't get resolved. 3) The "peer grading" procedure was to upload a very large zip file and run other student's. I didn't do this was I was concerned about security. I deployed mine to meteor's website and had my peers grade that. Which worked fine, but most people didn't do that. Another student and I both raised the issues with the "upload a zip file" system and the course staff didn't address it. I look the inaugural version of this course so this problem might get better over time.
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I like the course. The videos were a mix of coding and talking, all accompanied by text synced to the video. Each week came with a quiz at the end. A few of the modules also had practice questions within. I would have liked more of those. The course was only four weeks long, but it covered a good amount. I didn't get to engage in the forum because I started it late and did the whole course in a few days.
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This course was only six weeks, but it didn't feel rushed. There was a good amount of material each week. Except for the last week, each topic had good practice questions. Each week had an exercises to check understanding and the last week added some questions from past weeks. I liked that there were a mix of multiple choice, true/false and fill in the blanks. I was happy to see that this course was fully accessible. The text of the videos was prominently featured next to them. There was almost lots of text below each so I chose to use that more than the videos. I wish I had more time to participate tin the discussion forums.
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I'm a programmer, but had never learned Scratch so I took this opportunity to learn. The instructor was very thorough in covering basic programming concepts. She even shows a bit of C++/Java/Python to show how what you learn in Scratch relates to other languages. Scratch is more fun than Logo used to be because it is more powerful. This course was essentially self paces as all the material was available week 1. This loses the benefit of the students progressing together. I also missed the discussion amongst students. The course instructs students to post their projects to the forum which buries other discussion. I like that the videos were short (1-3 minutes) with lots of reinforcing questions. Very interactive. Most of your grade is the quizzes and homeworks. (all multiple choice.) They check you understand the concepts and in some cases walk you through a problem. The rest of your grade is the final project. I was disappointed that this wasn't peer graded. It would have been a good way to see how other's used the concepts. (And yes, you can still look at other people's projects, but not as structured as if you were peer grading and looking for specific things.) Instead, the platform checks you have a plan to write a program. Each lesson is supposed to take 3 hours. I did them in 30-60 minutes because I didn't do the exercises; just lecture and quizzes. I did to the final project. I think this is a good course for kids and those teaching them.
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I was impressed with the course. You can tell the instructor tried to make it appropriate for the internet. Each week was a mix of: 1. Lecture 2. Demo with a real world analogy. For example, one week used a seesaw to show the barycenter 3. Tablet capture showing the math/formulas 4. Interview with someone in the field 5. Visualization so you can see the effects of changing characteristics. The actual course was scored using 80% week to week and 20% final. It was obvious the goal was learning more than a score though. The hints provided in the forum were useful and focused on understanding. I had a little trouble with the drag and drop questions being finicky, but there weren't a lot of them. There were challenge questions so you could go into more depth if desired. (I didn't have time to get into these.)
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There were three weekly quizzes and a cumulative final. They were a good review. Some of the quiz answers changed between attempts which I like because you have to understand not just remember the answer. I was less than impressed with the two peer graded exercises. Maybe because it was a short course, but they were "what do you want to learn" and "show you learned something." Something about the class felt off. I'm not sure if it was because it isn't a technical class. Or because it was so short. I feel like there could have been an opportunity to apply some of the techniques. Like chunking or spaced repetition to actually learn the materials for the class.
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There are four modules in the course. Each comes with videos, homeworks (graded quizzes), a project (autograded with unit tests) and an application (like a lab.) They put a lot of effort into making the course hard and score meaningful. * The homework/quizzes only allow two attempts so no trial and error. Many of the questions required entering a number of formula so were impossible to guess. I thought these were great as they really checked your understand. * The projects used an autograder. This was good as you got immediate feedback. For the first two modules, the autograder gave useful feedback. For the third, not so much. Many of the test cases were too long/obscured. We were also given a standalone test. The problem is the test cases are so involved that it is difficult to see what is wrong. And my code worked for many simple cases. At some point this became too time consuming. I got close enough to get the point, but decided not to spend more time debugging. And the rest of the questions in the project relied on that question (at least for grading, they worked with the non-performant version of the code.) * The application (labs) were peer graded and allowed looking at the performance implication of the project. In some ways, this is nice. In others, if you couldn't get the project working, you couldn't do the lab. Ultimately, I dropped the class because it was too time consuming. It was way more than 7-10 hours of work per week.
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This was the third class in the Android development series. This one was mostly about the server side. I like how the courses complement each other. I expected them to be a little more tied together than they were. I really like how the class was designed for different levels of engagement. The videos and quizzes were designed to be self contained. The lectures focused on concepts. If you chose to do the assignments, there was quite a jump from the lectures. They used Spring to implement REST APIs and Spring security. We were given code to start out with and then needed to complete it. It wasn't "fill in the blank line" coding though. I'm a developer and work mostly with Java. I do know Spring. The projects took me a couple hours each. But I was using knowledge not taught in the course. New programmers reported spending 20-40 hours on the assignment. I believe that. Learning Spring isn't trivial. The assignments were really well designed though with strong unit tests. They also use Java 7 for the input/output code which shows they are up to date. The assignments also used gradle for the build. I like the showing of modern build tools for submission. The class was also very "timeline friendly" something particularly helpful in the summer. The first six weeks of material could be completed on your own schedule once they were posted. The rest was more advanced. The programs that go with them are peer reviewed. (I chose not to do those due to lack of time.) Overall, I think it was a good course. I think the assignments could be overwhelming to a non-professional programmer though.
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Like most courses, this one was a mix of video, quizzes and assignments. The quizzes were mainly for you to review. Most of the questions were embedded in the video so they were “are you paying attention” quizzes rather than allowing you to reflect. And you can take the quiz up to 100 times so you could just write down the answers if you wanted. Or you can use them like flashcards to review. The assignments used peer review for grading rather than an auto grader. Which was bizarre to me given that unit tests were supplied. If the code can be unit tested, I don’t see why they can’t be auto-graded. You also had to peer review five assignments. This was more interesting in previous courses. In this one, the assignments were fill in the blanks so there wasn’t much variety. This made it feel tedious. I’m glad that I am fluent in java because I felt a gap between the lectures and the ability to do the assignments. I did think it was nice that the assignments were stored on github. The first few assignments were core Java. The rest were Android. There was an emphasis on reading code which was nice. One assignment was even about finding security issues in code. I liked the premise of this. In practice, I had to use the hints/spoilers in the forum to figure out WHICH security holes in the code were the ones we were supposed to be going after. This is the first class I took where the “virtual office hours” had essential content. I’m puzzled why they weren’t just videos in coursera since they were so important. There was one assignment based on the previous corse in the series. It didn’t assume you knew anything/got it working in the previous course, which makes sense. I did find the topic interesting - design patterns in Android. And the professor was around *a lot* interacting with the students.
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I thought this class had a lot of potential. It felt as if multiple people created it. The weekly emails were encouraging and a good summary. The lectures explained concepts (although there was a bit too much of “watch me do this.” The PDFs each week were good. The quizzes largely had you looking up things in the manual. Or the examples. The examples were helpful to have. But sometimes the quizzes didn’t match the examples as far as project names. Then there were the assignments. I wanted the labs/assignments to reinforce the material and make it hands on. That wasn’t what happened. The labs felt like magic. There were typos. It was unclear exactly what was needed. I found myself relying on the walkthrus from other students to get them done. Wasting time on undocumented assumptions didn’t seem like a good way to spend time.. I did like that there were unit tests so you could watch the emulator drive the code. Overall, the class was fair. If it wasn’t part of a three part series, I probably would have dropped it. And I certainly wouldn’t have done the final project.
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I think this course was trying to reach too many people. It had two tracks - one for policy makers and one for "everyone else." I think they would have better off splitting it into two courses. Each week there was reading (mostly from the official report) and video. The quiz helped guide finding information in the report. There were two peer reviewed short essays. It was interesting to see what others wrote. There was also a "final project" which was vague enough to be anything. The course was fine. I would have liked more about what the "average person" can do.
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This course targets people without programming experience. It teaches how to use Eclipse (Android Developer Toolkit), the basics of Java and how to create an Android application with minimal programming. The second half of the class covers more programming (although still not a ton) but provides a logical stopping point in case you want to stop before that. I think it might have been too fast paced to actually learn Java. As a Java developer, I found the course too easy. I mainly took it to get the software installed and get an overview of Android before the more computer science based "Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems" started in January. I'm glad I did. It was a fun course and gave me a feel for Android. The three programming assignments had room for creativity making the peer review fun. I made a small Tic Tac Toe app for my final project. The quizzes appeared to be a subset of the end of video questions. Which is fine for reinforcement, but less interesting for checking understanding. Each week, there was a list of things to do. I liked that there was a time estimate for each week in addition to the coursera average one.
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I've been a software developer for over a decade. I learned LISP in college and reviewed functional programming in a previous Coursera course. If you haven't taken any class that covers functional programming, do so before taking this class. This is not an introductory class. It uses SML, Racket and Ruby to teach concepts of different programming languages. There were 8 weeks of lectures. The lectures were well designed in bite size pieces. The instructor also provided a summary PDF each week to review the materials outside of video form. There were 7 homework assignment - 3 SML, 2 Racket and 2 Ruby. The autograder was intended to be run twice and your score was an average of those two runs. I liked this as it gave incentive to be thorough while still giving useful feedback from the grader. Each assignment came with some test cases . Racket used XUnit. SML and Ruby did not although I ported the tests to do so myself. You could submit more than 2 times if you wanted to (with a lower grade) although there was no need to. Each week there were also challenge problems to learn more. The peer review was guided by very specific things to look for an a sample answer solution. There were also two exams to look at concepts that weren't covered by coding. Dr. Grossman is quite passionate about the material. He and his TAs clearly spent a lot of time making the class fit the style of online education. Since this was the second section of the class, they clarified from the first run. Which meant there were some "thought bubbles" over the video to correct them. The later programming assignments were hard, but very rewarding. I'm glad I took this class.
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I was disappointed to see this is the second offering of this course and that the things I was dissatisfied with were present in the first offering as well. This means feedback wasn't taken into account. There were five weeks worth of videos. Many had a "quiz" question of writing what you think could go wrong with something. As near as I can tell, this answer went into a black hole. These had the potential to be forum discussion topics. There was a quiz each week as well to reinforce the material from the lecture. It was fine. It was one of those "if you got it wrong, just retake until you succeed" things since there five attempts at each quiz and 4-5 answer choices per question. We were told there would be an "engagement activity" each week. There was only one the first week. I suspect this would have the most interesting part of the course. The last week had a final essay that your peers get to read/evaluate. I would have liked more interaction with other students in either format. As is, I felt like the videos were the course. As was the "optional" textbook. Which was never referred to besides alluding to "I hope you've been keeping up with the reading." I read part of the book; it was fine.
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This was definitely not just a course thrown together on the web. The videos were mostly crafted for a web audience with videos/humor/gags to keep attention. Including one professor shaving is head and painting it purple at the end because it was "logical." (the mostly is because Ram's share of the videos has some lighting issues) Each lecture contained exercises which were multiple choice quizzes that you could take as many times as you wanted to master the material. The last week was made of up discussion about arguments submitted by students. The course grade was determined by four quizzes. They had a good system for striking a balance on retries. There were four different papers for each of the four quizzes. You could take each one independently and learn from your mistakes before applying those learnings to similar quizzes. This is better for professors than being given the same quiz (or a slightly different) one and X attempts. As you have to actual learn to improve the grade. Parts of the course textbook "Understanding Arguments" were made available online for free during the course. I bought a copy of the book (it's a great book by the way - and written by one of the professors) so didn't try out the online one. And you did need the book to really understand some of the material. Finally, there were not week by week deadlines for this course. For the most part, I was able to stick to week by week. Which is better for participating in the discussion forums. I fell behind for a few weeks but was able to catch up because those were the weeks about logic which I already knew from being a software developer.
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The class was largely watching videos plus 4 assignments where you evaluated your peers. As a member of toastmasters.org, I definitely see the value of peer evaluation. I was happy with that part of the course. I was also happy with the content of the lectures. However, i would have liked more quizzes to make it more interactive. I've come to expect that interactivity from Coursera. The class did have a week 1 quiz on the material. ANd there was a 35 question final question. Which was a nice review, but hardly interactive.
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I took a linear algebra class in college (a decade ago.) We didn't cover much in the course so I didn't get much out of. As I like programming, this seemed like a good opportunity to actually learn Linear Algebra. And it was. I know a lot more now than when I finished the course in college. I bought the class book so I can read the 4 weeks of material that weren't covered in class. (The book is very similar to the lecture so you don't really need it.) Every week, there were homeworks and labs. The labs were applications of the concepts. Week 1 was a lot of python questions. I think it was used as a combination review and weeder week. Because you really do need to be very comfortable in Python to handle the rest of the course. People were helpful in the forums when you got stuck and they were well moderated. The TAs were knowledgeable and monitored the forums as well. This was the first session of the class so us students also served the purpose of being beta testers for the autograder than analyzes your homeworks/labs for the class and the professor's website. It could stand for some improvement. I also felt like the assignments could have used more detail of the output format and examples. I wound up writing pyunit tests for myself to test and sharing them in the forums. I liked the professor's philosophy of "don't worry if you gets stuck on a question; you'll still pass.' Unfortunately as a computer programmer, I program I can't write is like a puzzle calling out to me. I went back to them until I got them all. Overall, it was a good class though.
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I took the first run of this course and you could clearly see that the professor was learning the ropes of online ed. The professor did try to improve things over the span of the course, so I think many of these things will get fixed. Each week there were lectures, "recommended readings, a quiz and one bonus assignment. The lectures got better over time. At the beginning, we saw the instructor and his laptop in lieu of the slides - especially when talking about assembly language. At the end, the instructor was in a small box on the side and the lectures were on the main part of the screen. This was better, but there was a visible flicker. More importantly, the lectures didn't feel like "coursera" style. They didn't contain inline quizzes and were long - most were 15-30 minutes, with one at 42 minutes. This isn't going to be changed - the professor feels the topics couldn't be separated. Of course they could. One can always ask questions inline or add a break. "Recommended" readings - if the readings are asked about in the quiz, they aren't recommended. They are required. The readings were long papers. I didn't have time to read them so read the executive summary and skimmed. Quizes - The professor posted the lectures a number of days before the quiz was posted in hopes students would separate the two. I didn't. I used the quizzes as a guide of what to focus on. For those interested in grades, it was almost impossible to fail. 60% on the quiz is passing and 80% (plus bonus) is distinction. However, you get 3 attempts at the 10-15 question quiz and the answers don't change. Statistically, you should be doing quite well. Bonus assignment - this was interesting as we got to apply the techniques in the class. It wasn't particularly hard - mainly applying what done in lecture. But it was still interesting to do. Content - The course was a mix of high level/general knowledge, specific examples and assembly language. Programming knowledge and operating system knowledge was a pre-req. I did have that and was fine with the assembly language part.
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ike: The assignments were fun to do. This is a math class (not a computer science or economics one.) I still wrote some groovy code in it though - I implemented the algorithms in code. I only took the first 3.5 weeks (of the 7 week class) though. I caught the flu during week 4 and know i have too much going on the rest of the course to even think about catching up. The lectures were clear with good inline exercises. The homeworks made you think and understand the material/apply it in new ways. There was also some links where you could play the games against other students and discuss strategies. The only thing I didn't like was the lack of feedback about homework. Once you get it wrong, knowing the right answer (and why) is important to learning.
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I learned a lot in this course. The videos were very well designed in small chunks with many hands on CODING exercises. I like that they had you writing queries right when you learned each concept/API. It made remembering the syntax easier in addition to applying the concepts. The homeworks were also well done. There wasn't much Python in the course - this could have easily been programming language agnostic. I felt some of the lectures were a little to repetitive for an experience programmer, but the quizzes helped there too. If you get the quiz right, it showed you knew what was in the lecture and whether your assessment to skip it was on target. The only thing I didn't like was the forum. One of the big advantage of large numbers of people taking a course at the same time is the interactions amongst students. I had difficulty finding discussions on topics other than "why is #1 correct." And I also couldn't figure out how to search for questions with zero replies - other students who needed help. Finally, props to Andrew and MongoDb for getting up and running so fast after Sandy. My office lost power, but not my home. For the instructor to lose power in both locations and STILL hardly have a delay in the course was amazing.
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I haven't used any functional programming since college. Having a course taught by the creator of Scala was definitely a draw. The lectures were clear. A good mix of quizzes (think about how you would approach this, what do you think would happen here) and explanation. I like that the homeworks used Scala's junit extensions and sbt (build tool.) Good practices and automation. It also provided a nice way to test the code. The homeworks varied a lot in difficultly. In particular, homework 6 was a lot harder than homework 5. Yet #5 had an extra week to work on it. There were good conversations in the forums. I took off half a star because I felt like we jumped around a lot. I really enjoyed the course though.
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I dropped this course at the end of week 6 (out of 8 or 9). What I liked: 1) The *one* programming homework on map reduce. 2) The professors seemed to have an awareness of both in class and online students. 3) The quizzes had some different answers if you retried them. What I was neutral about: 1) Some of the topics were too easy. That's true in some other courses too (I have a degree in Computer Science), but it is easier to skip to the relevant parts. What I didn't like: 1) The English was poor. There were an excessive number of spelling/grammar issues. Some of which affected understanding or quiz questions. 2) Some explanations were fine. Others I had trouble with. If I hadn't taken the AI class (and learned this already), I never would have understood conditional probability from the lectures. 3) Since the class was offered in person too for grades, homeworks were heavily defended to protect the integrity of grades. To the point where you had no idea why you go a question wrong. (And that guessing/wrong answers were heavily penalized, but I don't care about the grades part.) 4) I was under the impression there would be more hands-on/map-reduce type focus and not so much math/Bayes networks.' Why I dropped the class 2/3 of the way through: 1) MongoDb is offering a class starting tomorrow (https://education.10gen.com) which I'm sure will be more hands on! 2) There was a one week break (school vacation) and I lost momentum. 3) I should have dropped it last week, but was hoping it would get better.
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The author wrote a book called "For the Win" which is coming out soon. I imagine that was his motivation for the class. In any event, it was a good intro to the topic. The lectures were interesting with lots of examples. There was a secret message to get students to pay attention/add fun. I didn't play. Searching for hidden clues didn't seem fun. In fact, it seemed downright distracting from watching the videos. There were three homeworks. They were ok - paragraph/essay bests. It was interesting to read (peer grade) others to see different perspectives. The homeworks weren't time consuming. There were also four homework quizzes in addition to a final. They weren't hard and hit on key points. I like the answer explanations along with the references to which lecture videos the material came from. (So you can re-watch what you didn't absorb well.) For those who care about grades, you get two attempts at full credit and five at a decrease in credit. Ultimately you only need the two anyway since you know what answers were wrong on your first attempt. Some answers changed a bit between attempts, but not many. Which means you can boost your score without actually learning anything. I got a few good comments from the peer grading. The grades weren't detailed though so the numbers didn't say much. The discussion forums were fun. Many lectures had discussion topics referenced. The "Sight" video for the final was creepy as the future of gamification! Overall, the course wasn't hard or time consuming, but it was interesting.
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The peer review/grading system was set up well. This was nice in that you got to see how others attempted the assignments. And get feedback from real people. It also lets the assignments go deeper since they don’t need to be reviewed by a computer. I got 1-2 useful graders/feedback per set of 5 reviewers. Better than nothing. The style of the course was similar to the SAAS one with the addition of peer review and the removal of a required book. Oh and the assignments were significantly longer. It was a fun class and I learned a lot. There was too much complaining from the other students on the amount of time required, being asked to take photos, etc. I blogged an essay responding to the criticisms. Which gives you a feel for what you might not like about the course. http://www.selikoff.net/2012/07/08/udacity-and- coursera-python-editor-peer-reviewing-and-complaining/
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I signed up for this course because they talked about "competitions" where you could try to break your classmate's solution. This sounded fun and I was excited to see how Udacity would approach it. I was expecting something a bit like coursera's peer review system. What we got instead was: 1) A slow start covering the basics. (the basics were fine, but I already knew this) 2) The opportunity too review/break other's solutions in one giant forum thread. This was unusable, difficult to follow and lost my interest almost immediately. And it only happened once or twice. 3) The later lectures didn't have any embedded quizzes (and therefore interaction). I might as well have been watching a youtube video. 4) The course ended early fading to a whimper. It was almost like they ran out of material before the class was set to end.