- 6 reviews
- 6 completed
How did our mental health care system evolve from the dismal lunatic asylums and mad houses to its modern state? What social consequences were associated with a mental disorder one hundred or two hundred years ago? The course "The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness?" answers these and other questions concerning the changing ideas and views about mental illnesses and treatments throughout the last two centuries. The course instructor - Charmaine Williams from the University of Toronto - is a seasoned mental health care professional herself. She manages to spice up the rather theoretical course with many real-life examples as well as a videographed visit to the grounds of a defunct mental asylum in Toronto, Canada. Overall, a recommendable course for students interested in the changing view of mental health care over time.
This rather unique course is centered around the many questions concerning the rapid demographic changes in a lot of nations around the globe. While most courses offered on Coursera.org include "traditional" video lectures featuring mostly the lecturers and their slides, this course offers students a series of conversations between the two excellent lecturers and a number of experts on the various aspects of aging and the consequences of living in an aging society. I found this to be a very refreshing and interesting approach, which might not be suited for every subject but certainly fits well for this course.
I have to admit that I initially took this course mostly out of curiosity about the teaching style and geopolitical comments of the lecturer, the well- known Prof. Dr. Philip Zelikow at the University of Virginia, advisor to several US governments, executive director of the 9/11 Commission and author (together with Condoleeza Rice) of a very compelling book on the re- unification of my home country, Germany. I have not regretted doing so for one instant - from the first "make yourself comfortable" to the very last lecture. Prof. Zelikow is a remarkably good teacher, delivering a spirited narrative of more than three centuries of world history. I can only highly recommend this course to anyone with even a remote interest into (non-Eurocentric) history. Out of all of the great Coursera courses I have taken so far, this course was the only one which did not just leave me satisfied about the newly-gained knowledge, but which has left me actually sad that there would be no more forthcoming lectures. Overall, a really great learning experience.
The central question of "Community Change in Public Health" as taught by Prof. Dr. William R. Brieger of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on Coursera.org is this: How can meaningful and lasting changes in the health behavior of individuals and entire communities be achieved by outside intervention? During the lectures, the professor draws a lot from his own experiences in the field, fighting the spread of Malaria with Jhpiego in Sub- Saharan Africa. The course touches on a lot of important matters such as community definition and self-definition, the measurement of community involvement and community competency or the framing of community coalitions. I have had the opportunity to participate in this course twice - once as a student and once as a Coursera TA - and can only highly recommend it to anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of why some community health interventions fail while others produce salient results.
"An Introduction to Operations Management" is a challenging course about how business processes can be analyzed and improved using a broad variety of operations management tools. The course, which is taught by a quite spirited Prof. Dr. Christian Terwiesch from the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera.org, centers very much on the significance, computation and analysis of various key operating figures, such as average labor utilization, cost of direct labor, cycle time, flow rate, idle time and product variability. Aside from the regular lectures and quizzes, the course offers the so-called "Coursera Operations Challenge", in which students, who own or work in a business are challenged to analyze their own business processes and (anonymously) share them with their peers in search for improvement possibilities. Put in a nutshell, this is a very demanding but also rewarding course for anyone interested in operations management and business process analysis.
"Maps and the Geospatial Revolution" as offered by Dr. Anthony Robinson of Pennsylvania State University on Coursera.org is a highly recommendable and easily accessible introductory course to the world of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). You'll learn how GIS are becoming more and more pervasive, why spatial thinking is important when working with modern GIS and how good maps should be designed and structured. Along the way, you'll create several maps of your own using the software ArcGIS. A really great and fun course for people who have no or just limited experience with GIS and want to really delve into the basics.