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Markus Weber

Student

  • 5 reviews
  • 4 completed
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Great course! Good difficulty - challenging but not overloading, covering lot of ground. Very engaging and informative lectures and top delivery with plenty of examples. Granted, a bit chaotic at times, but I guess that comes with the turf. The exams were also unconventional - not even within the Coursera environment but on an external system. It was at first tricky getting used to the different system, but in retrospect it worked much better than the typical Coursera quiz. Sadly, the netiquette was not enforced as in other courses and trolls often roamed free in the forum. Those are minor issues, though, and overall this was a fantastic course - highly recommended.
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The course itself was rather interesting. It could have even been a really great course if it wouldn't have been for these two serious issues: (1) The course was extremely biased pro-nuclear, pro-hormesis. There is no danger, sleep well, all is safe. If they wouldn't have been so overly partial about it, I might have believed them. (2) It was too easy, but not just because of the lectures, but also because once a few students were in trouble, the parameters were changed. Some students signed up late? No problem, let's postpone the deadlines. Students had problems with a question? No problem, absolutely everyone gets a point for that question. Students had too low scores? No problem, we just add an optional exam to boost scores for whoever needs it (best thing: if you score low, it won't be counted!). And so on... The grading was largely a farce. Sadly, that made the course totally frustrating for those who took it seriously.
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For me, this course was a big disappointment. In my opinion, the lectures are not very engaging, and they are loaded with advertisements for books which the students are supposed to read and ideally purchase. What irritated me more than anything else was that it is an obligatory(!!) requirement to complete a profile on a psychology social networking site (another bit of advertising here) for discussion or to submit a personal CV for peer-review. That is objectionable on a number of levels, and (if completed honestly by the student) a serious breach of privacy. Also, the course requires excessive reading (some may like that, others not - I mention this last point just for information).
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A great and engaging course, with good structure, excellent presentation and consistent delivery. Could have been a bit harder, generally it was too easy and some of the quiz questions were no-brainers. Still, a very enjoyable course and one of the best I had on Coursera so far.
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The worst part is that the lectures are in no way related to the assignments. So what use are they? Basically, one has to search in books and in the internet to complete the course, the lectures are a "bonus" at best. There are no practical examples throughout the lectures, the audience is simply bombarded by function references. Don't be fooled by the course description - this course requires extensive programming experience. While I have related experience through my PhD and my work, it was in no way sufficient to pass this course. Not by a long shot. The overall experience of this course is very frustrating and drop-out rates are accordingly high.