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Krista Garver

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  • 11 reviews
  • 10 completed
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This course was a bit different than I expected. David Wiley is a prominent person in Open Education and he has taught MOOCs before. I expected much more interactivity and that the learning would take place within a vibrant community. The actual experience was not quite like that. The collection of course materials was very good. They were all open resources available online (mainly from Wikipedia and YouTube), but they were comprehensive and gave a great overview of major topics in the field, from open data and open science to open teaching and MOOCs. But beyond the resources themselves, I was a bit disappointed. Every week there was an assignment, which could be either a blog post or a YouTube video. The student blogs and contributions were aggregated on one of the course pages. It seemed like many people (including me) did the assignments for the first couple of weeks and then stopped. There was little to no student interaction -- the course did not have discussion forums or any other central place for students to interact. Every week there were suggested activities to find things online and post them to Delicious, but I checked for several of the activities and I don't think anyone actually did it. There were no announcements or other interaction with the instructor at all. It seemed like he had put up the materials and then never checked back. There were no specific deadlines or any other systems to keep people involved and all moving at anything close to the same pace. Overall, this course was less like a "course" than the other MOOCs I have taken. It was more just a collection of resources. I would give it a 10 for content, but that is about it. There was very little student interaction, no student-instructor interaction, and nothing to keep people engaged.
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This course was a seven-week introduction to personal finance. It covered making financial goals, taxes, retirement/college planning, insurance, investing, and estate planning. Overall, I felt that I learned a few things in this course, but not as much as I had hoped. I felt that some of the easier content was covered at a way too basic level, whereas the more advanced content was just glossed over. The lectures were PowerPoint slides with a voice stream added. They were not very exciting, and often there was a lot more information on the slides than in the voice stream, so it was difficult to follow. It was easier to just download and read the slides, which included the audio script. Not all of the content for the quizzes was covered in the lectures, but there were many suggested readings each week. There was one peer-review assignment, which I thought was pretty good. The scenario was that a friend asked for financial advice on a variety of topics and you had to make recommendations. It was a nice exercise to start thinking about practical applications of the information. IMO, the most useful part of the class was the section on retirement and college planning. The instructor went through a couple of detailed examples on how to use a simple financial calculator to figure out how much money you should be putting away to reach your financial goals. Otherwise, the coverage of most of the content was very cursory. As others have said, the course is very U.S.-centric, and much of the information is probably not very generalizable.
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This was a fun and gentle introduction to logic and reasoning. I just finished watching the final lectures and taking the last quiz. I agree with some of the other reviewers that the course is a bit slow to start. However, having tried to take the "Introduction to Logic" course (which I found nearly impossible), I liked the pace and structure of this course. The course is divided into four parts. Each week, there are 1-2 hours of lectures plus exercises. The lectures are very basic. They introduce the concepts very simply, but then the exercises (which are ungraded) are more difficult applications of the basic concepts. Although the pace of the lectures is sometimes slow, both professors (Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Ram Neta) are fun and engaging -- they have great senses of humor and ham it up quite a bit. So the lectures are fun, even when they go on a little too long. The last week of the course was particularly excellent. The professors solicited arguments from students and then analyzed them based on what we had learned. The instructors were very close to the course. They frequently made postings on the discussion forums and worked hard to keep students engaged and on topic. Student participation was also very good. By the end of 12 weeks, I feel like I learned a lot, and I had fun doing it. I definitely recommend this course to anyone interested in logic and reasoning.
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I just finished watching the final videos for this course. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed in the experience. I think a course on creativity a great idea, and I am sure that the actual course at Stanford is excellent (the videos we watched were amazing), but I didn't feel that this course translated well into the MOOC format. The course depends very heavily on the assignments. Each week, there is a 3- to 4-minute lecture and some outside resources (TED talks, other short videos), and almost every week there is an assignment. Some of the assignments are individual but most are done in groups, and I would guess that your overall course experience depends heavily on how well your groups function. You have the choice of signing up with a group or you can be put into a random group, which is different for every assignment and usually consists of five people. I signed up with one friend, so we were grouped with three others. The first assignment revealed the problems with the format -- some of the people in our group had either dropped out or never started the course at all. We were lucky to have three contributing group members (there was one guy who was unable to contact any other members of his group), but we spent more time trying to figure out the best way to collaborate than actually collaborating. Even some of the individual assignments depended on group dynamics, such as the assignment that asked us to assess our different roles in a brainstorming session...what about those groups (like mine) that never managed to get together to brainstorm? I also found that the assignments depended a lot on using technology to make fancy presentations (videos, Prezis, etc.), which I am not sure is the best assessment of creativity. I felt that the content of the ideas was trumped by their presentation. Overall, I am sure that the problems I had with this course are due to the format, not the course itself. The lectures contained some videos and images from the Stanford class, and it looked like people were actively participating in really fun projects -- but a lot of the projects required using props and materials, things that can only be done face to face. In a classroom format, the groups would probably work better and there would be more flexibility in the presentation of ideas. This was the first time the course had been taught, so hopefully there will be some improvement the next time. Tina Seelig did recognize some of the problems with the groups and try to fix them mid-course, but by then I think a lot of people (me included) had grown frustrated.
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I tried to take this course, but (like many other students who enrolled) I could not finish -- in fact, I could not get past the first few weeks. Other reviewers have done a good job of detailing some of the problems, so here is just a quick summary from my experience: 1\. It was not really an introductory course. A lot of knowledge was assumed, and the concepts were not explained clearly enough for a beginner to understand them. 2\. The lectures were very dull -- mostly just reading the slides, which were unintelligible (at least to a beginner). 3\. The professor tended to choose the most complicated way to explain a concept...jargon jargon jargon. 4\. Not enough feedback was provided for the exercises and quizzes. I was frustrated by not being able to learn from my mistakes. I am currently taking Coursera's "Think Again: How to Reason and Argue" taught by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. From the syllabus, it looks like the course will cover much of the same ground as "Introduction to Logic," but in a much more beginner-friendly format.
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I audited this course, so I can speak only to the lectures, not the quizzes or the peer review assignment. This was a very interesting short introduction to the economic issues surrounding the obesity epidemic. The course discusses how obesity affects the economics of our society as well as the roles and limitations of both personal responsibility and government policy ("fat tax," health insurance, unemployment benefits, etc.) when it comes to weight. The course is four weeks long, but there are only three weeks of lectures -- the fourth week is for the assignment and peer review. Think of the course material more as a pamphlet than a book. The lectures were easy to understand and did not require any background knowledge. Overall, this course was an informative introduction to a situation that will affect our society more and more, as long as obesity rates continue to grow.
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This course is tailored for people just starting out in the sciences, but many of the topics and exercises could be useful for anyone who wants to write better. The concepts are presented clearly, with plenty of examples, and Kristin Sainani is an engaging lecturer. The writing assignments in this course are done using peer review, and I found the system more useful than for other courses. Rather than just grading essays using a rubric, you actually edit the other essays in a mini word processing program. It takes a good deal of time to do thoughtfully, but I found that I learned a lot from the exercise. I would like to see more peer review systems move in this direction -- perhaps not to actual editing, but beyond the basic grading rubric.
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I loved this course! I had not read much fantasy and science fiction, and this course was a great reason to read some of the classics (Dracula, Frankenstein, etc.). This course set a perfect tone for my summer reading. Eric Rabkin is absolutely charming, and I loved his lectures. The level is relatively high and he often talks about books not read in the class, perhaps assuming that the audience has already read them. I think that the course would be quite challenging for someone who has not had any experience analyzing literature or whose English is not particularly strong. I also enjoyed writing the essays each week. It had been a long time since I had worked my mental muscle in that way, and it was an excellent exercise -- even just as a personal endeavor. Concerning peer reviews: On the whole, I like the idea of a peer review system, especially for a course like this. Reading four other essays each week gave me the opportunity to gain additional insight into the books, and I enjoyed reading what (most) people had to say. I did not, however, find the majority of the feedback on my essays to be particularly helpful. As others have said, there were trolls -- people who were just mean for no reason. This tendency did seem to decrease as the course progressed -- I think a lot of people dropped out because the workload was fairly demanding. If people took the peer review process more seriously (and some did), I think we could all get a lot out of it in a course like this.
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I was not sure what to expect from this course, but I ended up really enjoying it. The course takes a mathematical approach to describing and analyzing networks, particularly social networks. Michael Kearns does a good job of distilling a lot of information into a short course. I recommend this course, but there were a few rough spots: \-- The first half of the course, where he lays the foundation, is very theoretical and a bit difficult to follow for non-math people. Professor Kearns presents the information quickly and at a high level, and I found some of it quite intimidating. There was one slide where he put up a very complex equation, using symbols I had no idea existed, and I thought "Oh no!" However, the second half of the course is absolutely worth wading through the first half! When he got into sociological phenomena and real-world applications, I was very glad I had stuck it out. \-- The lecture slides, especially during the first half of the course, are quite dull -- lines and lines of dense text. \-- The quizzes (again during the first half of the course) are tough without the math background to understand all of the equations. However, despite all of this, the concepts are fascinating, and the course is well worth the time. For people who do not have time or energy to brush up on the math, the course is still worth auditing.
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This was a great introductory course for the non-IT crowd. The material begins with the history of computing and the Internet, starting with the code- breaking machines developed during WWII, and ends with the technology that makes the Internet work. Charles Severance has worked hard to put together a true oral history, as much of the material is presented in interviews with the people who actually developed the technology we all use today. For the most part, the lectures are easy to understand for people without a computer background. Dr. Severance cares passionately about his topic, and he put a great deal of time and effort into developing the course, even as we were taking it. There were a times during the interviews when the conversation got a bit tech-heavy, but these times did not impede my general understanding of the course and the quizzes concentrated more on general information. I recommend this course for anyone interested in learning a bit about computing and the Internet. It may be too easy for anyone with experience in the area, but it is essential knowledge for the general public.
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This was an excellent course! I did not know anything about gamification before I took this course. I have always loved games, but I was nervous that the course might be targeted toward hard-core gamers. However, Kevin Werbach explains all of the concepts in ways that are easily understood for gamers and non-gamers alike. In fact, he made me realize that we are all gamers in some fashion. I highly recommend everyone take this course -- even if you do not complete all of the assignments (which are fun). The lectures require around 1 hour per week, but the value of the return is way beyond the time spent "in class." Gamification is already pervasive and becoming more so. This course is excellent for those wishing to use the concepts of gamification in their own pursuits...and for those seeking to understand the effects of gamification on themselves and others.