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Erin K

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  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
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The quizzes in this course were irritating, as I frequently got errors that the professor didn't address. My issues in dealing with these errors would have been alleviated had the professor advocated use of the discussion forums as a good place to discuss issues with the quizzes, errors, software, and more. The instructor didn't even *mention* using the forums for purposes other than Coursera problems. As I found in the Maps Coursera course I took, the discussion forums are a great place to supplement your learning from the course. In a programming course such as this, they could be used to learn tricks and tips and also get help on errors, but since so few students used them (or were likely aware of them at all), they didn't live up to their full promise. The lectures, as stated above, were poorly done and didn't even include working links. As far as the final project, it was as equally as maddening as the quizzes, both for the same reasons that the quizzes were, but also in a positive way. The final project pretty fairly replicated what happens in the real world when you are given a disgustingly awful looking data set and are asked to do something with it. I found that even though I hated it as I was working on it, in the end it proved to teach me a lot about how to make my data into a useable set while also learning the importance of explaining the decisions I make along the way, as these can be very arbitrary and will impact analysis on the data in the end. The course did require a lot of R knowledge, and I hadn't taken the earlier R programming course (since no prerequisites were stated…), so I felt slightly overwhelmed, but I came out of the course knowing far more R than when I started, but I didn't learn much of it from the course directly. Most of it was trial and error on my own. This added to the number of hours per week I spent on the course. I suppose this did save me the time of taking that R course, though… I have some additional problems with this course: -At one point the instructor says to create your own mySQL database so that the students don't accidentally take over all the other MySQL databases of the internet and take up valuable space and potentially delete things. This is a sensible thing to say. But the instructor proceeds to NOT include instructions or a link to a place that instructs one in how to do this… How many students are going to make the effort to do it, especially with no guidance? -The instructor didn't even ask for feedback at the end of the course, which I find irritating. Overall I learned: -methods for good variable naming -lots about R programming -manipulating data and reading various forms (csv, xml, sql, etc…) into R -merging data -keeping just the data you need, deleting what you don't need -dealing with null values While the course had frequent frustrating moments, I would say that I did learn a lot, but in order for the course to be more effective, the lectures need to be drastically re-tooled and the discussion forums need to be used to their full potential.
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This course did not meet my expectations. The only place for learning was the video lectures, and these were not well done. I left the lectures not having the slightest idea of what I was supposed to learn from them. Additionally, the lectures had links in them *which were not clickable*, so if the instructor used text to define what the link was, that text masked the address and you couldn't get to it. This also meant manually typing in all other links. Guided examples would have also been useful at times, as well as use of the discussion forums. The first week of video lectures even included long introductions to the rest of the courses in John Hopkins' Data Science Coursera Specialization track, which I skipped after realizing they were just advertisements. They would've done a better job making me want to take their other courses if more effort had been put into this one. The first lecture was a very cursory introduction to the utter basics of computer programming, so while this was a tad unnecessary for me, I could see it being useful for other, less experienced people. From this course I learned how to use GitHub and make markdown files, but the course should NOT have been four weeks long, as most of what was taught could've been adequately covered in probably one week. I also could've learned this stuff by just reading the github manual/intro on their website, which is quite good, and probably actually better than this course's introduction to it. This course only taught command line interaction with github, when there exist many programs with user interfaces that simplify this interaction and make it more intuitive. If they wish to improve the course (which is questionable as they asked for no feedback whatsoever), they might explore how to use both the command line and these interfaces, introducing multiple interface options and discussing their benefits. It would've been nice had this course discussed why github is the frequent choice for subversion repositories and also what the other options are and how they differ. Also, this course frequently only addressed how to do things on one operating system, which can be annoying for those not dealing with that system. So while this course did teach me how to use github, it took way too long to do that, did not teach nearly enough in that time, skipped some pretty important areas, and taught what it did include pretty poorly.
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This course greatly impressed me, even more so after taking two other Coursera courses that were severely lacking in comparison. Robinson's lectures were kept short and transcripts were provided for those students who learn better by reading. The discussion forums allowed learning to continue beyond the classroom and these forums not only made me feel like I was apart of a community, but also introduced me to many new things that the course alone could not have done, despite being an awesome course! The instructor provided really interesting related links, along with assigning videos that were a great addition to the course. The mapping assignments were thought provoking and educational, the quizzes were short and to the point, the final exam was well put together, and the peer assessment reflected the aims of the course, along with providing (in advance of doing the assignment) a good rubric for peer assessing. Overall I learned a LOT in this course, despite already being acquainted with this subject in the professional realm. I was introduced to ArcGIS' online environment and creating my own maps, when previously I had only used the desktop version and added to other people's maps. I feel more knowledgeable about spatial thinking and more able to critically analyze maps. I would absolutely recommend this course and this instructor to others. Fantastic course!