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Jewel Lambert

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  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
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Excellent course. The videos were very clear and informative. The quizzes were short and to the point, serving as a useful adjunct to the videos - there was no attempt to make them needlessly tricky or to require rote memorization. If you understand the fundamental ideas from the lectures, the quizzes will simply reinforce that knowledge without being difficult or time consuming. The homework assignments were nicely structured. They are designed to require little programming or mathematics expertise, since everything is already laid out for you, and your tasks are simply to fill in a few lines of code here and there to ensure that you understand how things work. Yet at the same time, you can't complete the assignment _without_ understanding the key ideas. A perfect balance for an introductory course, and an approach that allows busy professionals to complete the course with a minimal time commitment (about 2-3 hours per week for lectures + quizzes + homework). All in all, one of the highest compliments I can give to the course is that it's easy. That's a very high compliment indeed for a subject whose theoretical underpinnings involve some pretty sophisticated differential equations, statistics, and linear algebra. Yet Andrew Ng pulls it off, all while providing a solid, practical foundation for further study. Only a few weeks into the course, and you've already learned enough to implement your own neural network-based OCR system from scratch... and you'll be surprised by how much easier it was than you thought it would be! Probably the best MOOC I've taken to date.
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This was an excellent introductory course in functional programming. It also served as a great introduction to the Scala language - taught by no less than the language's creator. Awesome! It isn't, and doesn't purport to be, a general introduction to programming. You should have a little experience programming before tackling this course, though by no means do you need to be an intermediate programmer, much less an expert. The grade is determined solely from the programming exercises. The exercises themselves are quite easy, but encourage you to think in the "functional style," which, coupled with the unfamiliarity of the Scala language, may make them initially a bit more challenging until you get comfortable with the idioms and syntax. For experienced developers, even those with limited functional language knowledge, it likely won't require more than 2-4 hours/week, particularly if you view the videos at double speed... but please slow down if you're not absorbing all the concepts - there are some great ideas presented, and they provide a large part of the value of taking the course! For novice programmers, it may require a bit more time to complete the programming exercises - the forums can provide assistance in this regard. In particular, I'd emphasize to those new to programming that they should take Professor Odersky's recommendation and read the book "The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs." Some of the exercises are adapted from this classic text, and it can provide a richer understanding of the course material than the videos alone.