- 15 reviews
- 13 completed
Professor Zelikow is incredibly personable and his presentation style is relaxed and friendly. Compared to the history instructors I had in high school and University, Professor Z ranks pretty high in likeability. Loved the video set-up - cosy and comfortable, as if you were sitting down with a friend who was going to tell you his adventures. The quizzes were very straightforward, simply worded and hit the important part of the lectures. The workload was fair, about two to two-and-a-half hours of lectures per week (how he managed to slim things down to that I don't know!) and there were no major glitches or technical problems. Professor Z kept a fairly low profile on the fora but did respond and add to some discussions. The personalities on the fora themselves left much to be desired, but I think that's pretty much the same story in most of the Coursera offerings. My only quibble is with the material itself . The Modern World is an outstanding course for those looking for a good overview of things from 1760-present. Zelikow managed to cover the evolution of political parties, the path of capitalism, the road from low-tech and rural to the modern world we now live in and much more in those short weeks. I was looking for a broader scope though. If you're looking for, or will be satisfied with a course on European White Men Act on the World, this is your course. While China, India and South America got attention and Professor Zelikow had a video segment on women, the course still felt unbalanced to me. Bottom line: fantastic quality course but taught from a White, Euro/American Male point of view. Worth the time, if you're looking to refresh or update your history knowledge or get an idea of what American students learn.
I loved this course, Frankie Madden is fantastic! I took Writing for the Web to see how Open 2 Study operated. I've taken 20+ courses from Coursera and enjoy the variety of courses offered. But I loved O2S's layout, it is very accessible and perfect for the student who just wants to learn the material. Coursera depends entirely too much on peer reviews and pushes forum participation for my taste. Open 2 Study's emphasis on learning, period, is delightful. As for Writing for the Web itself, Frankie Madden's presentations were fantastic. Her energetic personality and interest in the subject inspired me to keep up with the course. This could have been a very dry and dull subject but Madden showed how multi-faceted and vibrant publishing web pages/sites can be. The lessons were full of useful tips, expert advice, and helped me to see that writing for the web requires diverse skills, not just the ability to write. I feel that I gained valuable insight and skills from O2S's Writing for the Web. The workload was light, with a unit each week, 4 units total. The units contained 8-10 video segments ranging from 3 to 9 minutes each. A 'pop quiz' followed each video, highlighting the main point of the lesson. A 5-question assessment (3 tries) ended each unit. Writing for the Web awards certificates for passing students. For non-native English speakers and those hard of hearing ~ each video is nicely captioned and the option to have the transcript below the video is available (the transcript is interactive, so it's possible to click on a word or phrase and have it play again). I was completely enchanted by this course and hope Frankie Madden offers others on O2S, I will be sure to sign up. Based on this course I have signed up for other Open 2 Study courses.
I consider myself fairly clueless in the world of tech and internet but can follow along pretty well thanks to my computer techie husband and computer programmer son. So while I may not be utterly lost in the lingo offered on this course, much of it was new as was most of the information. Thanks to Dr Chuck Severance's devotion to this subject, though, I was able to follow along and pass the course. Most importantly, I learned a LOT about internet history and how it all works. The courseload was light but I did additional research on my own to make sure I thoroughly understood certain concepts. Despite not being a techie myself, I did enjoy the conversations Dr Chuck shared of internet pioneers and they also pointed me towards areas I could learn more so that was a win as well. Along with the weekly videos, there was a weekly quiz and an optional peer assignment. This course also had a cumulative final exam. Although I didn't personally take part in the forums, Dr Chuck and TAs were very active on the boards and Dr Chuck was flexible and interested in creating an enjoyable, lasting learning experience. I would recommend this course for those interested in computers and internet but it probably isn't a good "starter" course for some. Fluency in English is essential for this course. Recommended.
I'm a seasoned cook and my kids are grown but I still found Dr Adam's (Just Cook for Kids) Child Nutrition and Cooking refreshing and fun. Dr Adam is extremely passionate about the subject of healthy kids and she wants people to know just how easy it is to provide the children in our lives, healthy, delicious food. Her approach to this course was very clever ~ package the most pertinent information in an eye-catching manner in a bite-size video lesson along with a simple, tasty recipe. That's it. Along with the short (maybe 20-30 minutes total) video lessons, there was also a multiple-try weekly quiz and (an optional) weekly peer-reviewed recipe submission. I'm not a fan of Coursera forums but I did enjoy seeing the chatter on this class as parents who wanted to learn to make healthier meals for their kids learned and got inspiration from "old pros" and the seasoned cooks got insight and ideas as well. The only "hitches" I initially saw was that the course was definitely packaged for the Western student in that cooking assignments (thankfully optional as I previously noted) did not take into account the difficulty some students might have even having regular access to a kitchen let alone being able to shop at the drop of a hat. Thankfully Dr Adam was flexible and willing to work with these issues. If you have children in your life and you've never been much of a cook but would like some inspiration, Child Nutrition and Cooking is a wonderful introduction to how easy and fun, and how *important* making meals for your kids can be. If you think you've been there, done that and know it all, give it a try, you may get some new ideas and possibly be inspired by the forums. Highly recommended.
Regardless of whether you have any philosophy background, Know Thyself is a class worth taking thanks to the brilliant Mitch Green. I was initially interested in this course when I noticed it would cover Buddhism and Eastern philosophy along with the usual Western fare. I wasn't disappointed. I've never been a fan of Descartes nor Freud but Professor Green made them "bearable" and I was introduced to some enjoyable modern (Western) thinkers ~ Tim Wilson and Antonio Damasio that broadened my views. The workload ended up being across the spectrum ~ some lessons were quite easy for me, a few made me really think. The average lesson was medium - made me think but without getting overwhelmed. The early lessons ran about an hour to an hour and a half for video work with additional suggested reading. Lesson 5 and after featured two sets of lessons that ended up running near two hours. There were no peer assignments and a weekly, one-shot quiz. Fluency in English is probably a must for this course. Professor Green and his adorable dog Clementine were the highlight of this course, and the relaxed atmosphere the two created helped the knowledge subtly sink in. At points throughout the lessons, Professor Green provided meditation moments; I believe these helped prepare my mind for the upcoming lessons. I've often wished that more Coursera professors would use their surroundings in their lessons, Professor Green brought the beautiful spring Virginia scenery to us which also helped the atmosphere. I had enjoyed seeing Professor Lester's CalTech and Professor Bloomfield's section of UVA, I have really appreciated Coursera instructors who have allowed us far-flung students to get a glimpse of their environments. I highly recommend Know Thyself to anyone seeking a relaxed, enjoyable philosphy/thinking course, or those who have never taken philosophy before.
Wow. Amazing. Inspiring. Brilliant. It's not an understatement to say that Women and the Civil Rights Movement changed my life. I almost didn't take this class because I thought I knew what I needed to know about the American Civil Rights Movement. History is one of my favorite subjects but I've never heard history like this when I was in school. The workload was fair and included about two hours of video lectures and additional required reading (about another half an hour to an hour, depending on how quickly I devoured the readings) and a one-try, untimed quiz per week. A plus of this course (and I wish other courses would pick up) was that Professor Barkley Brown offered two options to receive the basic certificate ~ one via the weekly quizzes alone, the other via peer assignments alone and a Distinguished option for completing both tracks or one track plus forum interaction. Professor Elsa Barkley Brown was personable, very down-to-earth and knows this subject well. The weekly video lessons went by so quickly thanks to Professor Barkley Brown's friendly presenting. I won't say that some lessons weren't difficult to cover (Emmett Till, for instance) and there were more than a few lessons that had me in tears, angry or frustrated. But that was the beauty of the course, it moved me and inspired me to see this part of history differently and to be motivated to find out more for myself. I found Women and the Civil Rights Movement a nice course to take alongside Professor Philip Zelikow's The Modern World as Zelikow's class featured almost no minorities or women players. Women and the Civil Rights Movement is highly recommended for everyone, it will definitely fill in some gaps in your history education.
Delightful course! Highly recommended. Fair workload and I've walked away with new knowledge and a thirst for more Greek culture and history. What I figured would be a dry, refresher course for me turned out to be fun, engaging and full of new insights. Professor Andrew Szegedy-Maszak ("Professor Andy") has a fantastic presentation style and is obviously knowledgeable and passionate about the subject of the Ancient Greeks. His passion is indeed contagious. Pros: *Presented in easy-to-grasp segments *Reading material added depth *Professor Andy's insights into the subject and willingness to point out controversies and separate fables from truth *Professor's subtle sense of humor *Great slides ~ the pictures of the area as well as the art brought Greece to life and the printed words helped me to solidify the concepts in my head. Cons: *Reading material could be lengthy (but we're talking Greek epicness here so it's to be expected, right?) *I actually would have liked a longer course *While Professor Andy did a fair job including historical accounts of women as much as possible, it would have been nice to have more women represented. But overall, great job with what we have to work with and he did point students seeking more information regarding Ancient Greek Women to helpful sources. I sincerely hope to see Professor Szegedy-Maszak present another course through Coursera. I'm thoroughly enjoying the courses I've taken through Wesleyan, good material and professors.
I dropped out of this course the second week due to the lack of organization and communication by the team. The online text was poor quality and the reading assignment didn't seem to match the lesson? When I got to the quiz, nothing that I'd read in the text was on the quiz. Thankfully I have some background in nutrition so it wasn't difficult to finish and pass but I felt sorry for those who were taking this class to actually learn the subject. This is one of the worst courses I have ever taken through Coursera. I think the team had good intentions, and the world of MOOCs is new territory, but the lack of flexibility and quick thinking on the part of the team once the course started really lost my respect for the team and the University of Florida.
An outstanding, thorough course covering the US food system from a variety of angles. But if you're not in the US, the course still has lots for you because we all rely on food, right? An Introduction to the US Food System isn't a necessarily difficult class, but it does require you to engage your mind and it also requires a certain time commitment. Perhaps, like others who took this class, you will find that the information presented even leads you to change the way you eat. Perhaps, like myself and others, you already try to eat a whole foods diet with low or no animal products, there's still much more to learn. The presentations were thorough and enlightening, on subjects such as Food Animal Production to the Farm Bill and segments on Meatless Monday. I appreciated the segment on the Farm Bill because it presented an important aspect for average citizens and those living in the US to change the system ~ via congresspersons and groups working to change aspects of the bill. In all, An Introduction to the US Food System is a great course for those who want information about how food is produced, what's going on with our resources and how the average person can help make the best choices for her own self ~ both in choosing foods and getting involved in changing the system. There are no prerequisites other than an interest in the subject and an open mind. I walked away with a greater interest in the food I feed myself and my family. Recommended for anyone.
Intro to Philosophy is a fun, very brief survey of some of the different branches of philosophy. As a complete novice to the subject, I found the course enjoyable. I appreciated the different focus and new instructor each week. The courseload was appropriate, not overwhelming, not too small, just enough to make me think and then seek out some outside resources on the branches that particularly interested me. The presenters were engaging, and their presenting styles suited their material well. Each instructor was great. I really liked Dave, Suilin and Alan. Michela's and Alasdair's presentations were particularly fun. I'd gladly take another course from this team again. I'd love to see each subject get a whole course. My only complaint is that I would have liked a few more exercises per subject to make sure I'd really gotten the basics. But as a survey, this was perfect. Highly recommended!
Brilliant course and Professor Noor is amazing. I *did* end up dropping the course, simply because it required more time than I had to spend on it, particularly the mathy bits. Professor Noor made the science fun, interesting and make sense, even for someone with poor to mediocre science background as me. Not having had a strong background in basic evolutionary principles it was fascinating to learn so much. He's definitely one of the top professors I've come across in online courses. Pros: Professor Noor's attitude and love of the subject are contagious. How cool is it to burst out laughing during a science class? The slides were good and the course material stuck with me Appreciated the presence of Professor Noor & staff on the forums Subject matter was fascinating and well presented Cons: Time consuming (for me) More maths than I was prepared for (user error, not the course's) If offered again, I'll jump at the chance to take it, or at least audit it. Recommended for anyone interested in the subject and probably for quite a few people who aren't (because it's so much fun).
Critical Thinking in Global Challenges appears to be deceptively simple. At first glance it seems as though the lessons are short, indeed the videos are a bit shorter than other courses I've taken through Coursera. The difference (for me, anyway) is that having had my critical thinking skills sharpened and mind encouraged, I was ready to take the things I'd learnt to the forums and to the real world. So yes, the classes themselves may have been a bit short, but I was urged to immediately begin applying the lessons and that did take a little extra time in my daily life. Reading news stories took a bit longer, conversations with friends or co-workers took on a new level for me. Like others who have reviewed this course, I also took *Think Again, How to Reason & Argue* and felt that *Critical Thinking* worked beautifully with it. If the *Critical Thinking* team offered an advanced or similar course, I wouldn't hesitate to take it. Pros: Small time commitment for watching videos and doing coursework yet information was immediately applicable to real life. Very personable team. Variety and choice in choosing a "Global Challenge"/or do them all Information easily understandable Cons: The course was so fun I wish it had gone on for a few more weeks Definitely could have stretched the subjects out a bit longer to assure mastery Would have liked more time with the Global Challenge presenters Bottom line: Highly recommended for everyone. It's quick, makes you think and sticks with you.
Adding my voice to others who enjoyed this course. As one who always felt my science skills were mediocre at best, I found myself fascinated and following along easily with Professor Cockell's lectures. He easily explained basic concepts in a way that has given me knowledge I won't ever forget (CHNOPS!) and I'm very thankful for that. Overall a fascinating and fun course. I'd love to see an advanced course or Professor Cockell branch out into one or two of the subjects touched upon in the class ~ there's a lot more to be learned! The workload was fair, it allowed me to easily keep up with the course and the others I took along with it. Loved the backgrounds and the slides, although I preferred the first few weeks' slides for their thoroughness a bit more than the later ones. The quizzes made sure I paid attention. The only "improvements" I could suggest are perhaps a slightly longer course as there are so many more things that could be explored *and* I'd love to see the Professor smile a bit more or maybe even laugh. He and the team obviously have great humor as some of the quiz questions suggested, so it would have made the course that much more engaging to see Professor Cockell's humor a bit more in the video lectures. Enthusiastically recommended, even for those who aren't exactly confident in their science skills.
Thoroughly enjoyed this course! As a foster and adopted "mom" to a variety of animals, I took this course in hopes of expanding my knowledge in order to someday foster or adopt horses/ponies. I came from a very limited/almost zero knowledge of horses and finished the course with a lot of knowledge and confidence that I could feed a proper diet to horses and ponies, even some with special needs. The material was presented in an easy-to-grasp manner and the PDF slides were very helpful. I really loved the (non-graded) revision quizzes as a prep for the graded quizzes! Dr Jo-Anne Murray, the instructor, was personable and I appreciated the time she and the rest of the team ~ Jayne Roberts, Wendy Watson, Joan Kulifay, and Dr Anne Stevenson ~ put into the course and the course forum answering questions and creating a pleasant environment. The only "complaint" I might have is that Dr Murray seemed a little stiff in front of the camera. Her class communications via the forums and in the weekly briefings were very positive, engaging and encouraging and I would have loved to have seen that express itself more vibrantly in the video lectures. She obviously knows her subject well, so seeing her speak a little more spontaneously would have been a treat and would have made the course a touch more engaging. Her delivery was professional and the slides and class information presented were thorough and helped me to feel like less of an absolute beginner and more prepared to take on the challenge of caring for a horse. I would gladly take further courses on this subject from Dr Murray and her team. Highly recommended for anyone seeking to expand knowledge on horses and ponies or anyone generally seeking more knowledge. As for the University of Edinburgh ~ this is the fourth course I've taken from University of Edinburgh and I've found all of the courses fun and interesting. I'm highly impressed with this institution and its instructors. Looking forward to more courses from them in the future.
Sadly, I was disappointed by this course. The material was solid, but the take-away message is what most grammar-school children learn in Health & Nutrition class. So, I guess if you never paid attention in school and don't know that you're supposed to fill your plate with whole grains, vegetables, a small portion of protein, watch your fats and sugary drinks and you want to spend 6 weeks learning that, go for it. This is the first course I've taken which the instructor was glued to the teleprompter which made it very disconcerting. Especially as she waited staring at the screen while the page cleared. Awkwaaaard. I enjoy more engaging profs so I found the presentation really boring. Having said that, perhaps Dr. Ferraro has stage fright or social anxiety disorder so other methods of presenting the material just might not work for her or perhaps this is the way the course was designed outside of her control. But, I really would have liked to have heard what she would say if she were speaking to the class more informally as some of the other Coursera instructors do. Alternately, it might have been more comfortable for everyone if she simply spoke over slides as the course I took through Johns Hopkins did. I did like the weeks separated into Health Prevention/Promotion subjects...Diabetes, Obesity, Cancer, Heart Disease, etc. I was disappointed in the week on Gastrointestinal Problems as it didn't feature Crohn's or Colitis, and hopes of learning more dietary support for those conditions was one of the main reasons I initially signed up for the course. I was also disappointed in the week on Obesity as I was hoping Ms. Ferraro would have a better message than the already failed "eat less, exercise more" method. Also very concerned that she featured a segment on bariatric surgery without thoroughly covering the vital facts about lifelong vitamin/mineral supplementation required by many who've had the surgery. As one who works with Health At Every Size in order to encourage everyone, regardless of size, to eat whole, real foods and exercise for fun and enjoyment rather as punishment, I was happy to see that Dr Linda Bacon was featured. Dr Robert Lustig's presentation was also brilliant. It would have been great to have seen the segment on Eating Disorders closely tied to the societal pressures of avoiding obesity as much as control and perfectionism. It would have worked very well with the HAES presentation. I won't say that I felt I wasted the weeks I spent doing this course, but I didn't learn anything new and helpful to me. For those who don't have a clue about how your body processes food, what foods you *should* be eating and the basics of food + disease, I'd recommend this course. For anyone who is already conscious about eating whole foods, or who knows how to search the internet for reliable sources on what to eat for best dietary control of your special-needs diet, you might want to wait for another course to come along.