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Cassandra Blank

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  • 4 reviews
  • 4 completed
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Great course, had one of the most creative and engaging styles of presentation I've come across thus far. Lectures were presented by a range of instructors covering a range of topics relating to infectious diseases - biology, medicine, policy, statistical modelling, social issues, etc. Lectures were pithy (averaging about 7 minutes) and utilised animation to get information across - a fantastic combination of verbal, textual and visual presentation for those with different styles of learning. The related games released alongside the material also offered another avenue for appreciating the concepts. My only minor quibble is with the mandatory forum posts for a distinction certificate. It's no real big deal, and thankfully the forums were on the most part civil, but I find forums time consuming and difficult to follow. That said, the policy is a whole lot less angst-ridden than peer- graded essays tend to be. The content was suitable for they layperson, but given the cross-discipline focus would also suit those in specialised fields relating to the topic looking for a broader understanding. Also, the last lecture was on zombies. What more could you want?
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I took this course mostly because I was curious in the subject and I wanted to see what a course from a Japanese university would be like (Coursera has a bit of a US-bias). Unfortunately, I have no background in science and maths so while I could follow the concepts I couldn't follow the maths or complete the homework. I found the professor great fun and loved his humour (I will forever think of neutrinos when I hear ghosts). This course may be better taught in two streams - one for those really up on the science and the maths who want to be challenged and have their knowledge deepened, and one for the layperson interested in the concepts.
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I really enjoyed this course as it filled a gap in my knowledge - I've always loved the Greek myths and stories, but I wasn't so clear on the history. The course covered a wide period, from Bronze Age civilisations in Greece up until the fall of Athens and the rise of Phillip and the Macedonians, and tied the history to different writings, poetry, historical figures and leaders, and social aspects. In a way, it was more an overview than an in depth exploration as that's a long, dense, intense slice of history to cover, but certainly a good course to act as a springboard to investigate areas of interest more deeply. Professor Andy has a quiet method of delivery, but his enthusiasm and passion for the topic still shine through. The workload is pretty light, with the readings the most onerous part. The course would suit someone happy to watch-and-learn rather than take a more hands-on approach with lots of assignments. Definitely recommended for those with an interest in the subject.
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This was my first course, taken in September 2012, and it really began my addiction to online learning. Professor Peter Struck was enthusiastic, engaging, and easy to follow, and the material and ideas were introduced well throughout the course. The teaching staff were great too and the videos with the team responding to the questions from the forums were a great addition. I also appreciate that the reading list was released well before the course started, as the reading load was quite heavy (at least for me as I'm a slow reader). I found the quizzes were at an appropriate level and I personally didn't have a problem with the peer-graded essays, although I understand they caused some people a lot of angst and disappointment. I would definitely recommend this course to those with a love of history, mythology, literature, or those interested in human ideas and thought.