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Rafael V. Ribeiro

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  • 8 reviews
  • 8 completed
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The best MOOC I've taken so far. The community is incredible, the support and lectures were amazing. Actually superior to a similar course I've taken on campus. Like CS50's slogan says, "demanding, but definitely doable"! If you've taken a bit of Calculus and some High School Physics and liked the latter, you'll get to love it after this course.
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Prof. Jeffrey is a great instructor, guiding us through the most important eras of Jazz and helping us actually learn about this genre we love so much. The Cerego software may be a bit confusing and even annoying at the beginning, but eventually you get used to it and start taking the most from it. This course is the living proof that knowledge can only add to a passion: I had loved Jazz for a long time, and learning about it just made me love it even more.
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An overall awesome course. A very pleasing introduction to E&M, and easy enough for anyone who has taken Classical Mechanics (and basic Calculus) to follow (which is my case). The lectures go straight to the point, and the demos help us understand such points. Prof. Hafner is a wonderful and very dedicated instructor. Although the course doesn't delve too deep in some mathematical concepts, this is intentional, as it is targeted at a broad audience. But even if you have a stronger-than-average background, you won't be disappointed.
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Having a somewhat weak background in Computer Science, I wanted to brush up on what I knew, and then some. And I definitely got what I was after. CS50 taught me not only a lot about C, including lower-level concepts such as hash tables, tries, and other data structures, memory management, but also about popular development languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP and, most importantly, it taught me to go off on my on and learn by myself. In this sense, it taught me to teach myself new technologies, which is essential to the learning of CS/programming: you're just never done. Every new project is a new opportunity to learn and relearn a lot, each time going further. I was able to go from the basics to thinking up the details of my own web apps. It gives you enough ground to work on iOS, Android and desktop projects. And even if you have little interest in working with CS, it's a good course for everyone in this day and age of information technology: just about anyone can benefit from knowing more about the inner workings of a computer, what it can and cannot do, and how to deal with it properly. Overall, by far the best MOOC I've ever taken.
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The course focus on breadth rather than depth. They put you in contact with a lot of different areas of research on Criminal Justice Psychology and like "Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy", it's a great opportunity to learn some broad concepts and put away certain prejudices we may have from "common sense" or from watching/reading fiction. You won't come out an expert, but it should really help you especially if you work in Law/Crime, etc.
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Introduction to Computational Arts can be a very fun course, even if a bit too demanding for those less experienced. The course has three parts: 1) Programming with Processing Processing is a visually-oriented programming language that allows you to very easily create multimedia content while retaining the freedom of computer programming. I had never had contact with it before, and found it amazing, which renewed my interest in digital art and ultimately led me to actually collaborate with other artists to create something that was eventually displayed at an expo. All this to say that this course can, indeed, serve as a serious start if you want to delve into computer arts. But it won't suffice: Processing (and this is true of the other modules as well) is only covered to a reasonable but small extent, and if you want to go further, you're on your own - but that's true of anything in life, isn't it? 2) Audio editing with Audacity and Soundation/Logic This was the most challenging part for me, as I had had zero experience with audio editing before. The lectures gave me quite a bit of new information regarding the nature of sound in analog and digital media, and how to manipulate those, but little to none information about how to create anything "musical" (which I still don't know how to do), so I mostly created experimental and noisy stuff. A few other more experienced students, I noticed, took more out of it, and went further to create some pretty amazing things, I remember. In some assignments you are required to create a "visual score" of your piece, which I personally found too demanding and not so much useful or interesting. 3) Image editing with Photoshop/GIMP I've been working with Photoshop for around seven years now, so this was the easiest module for me. The staff gave a fair overview of the program's main features concerning photo editing, but of course there is way much more about Photoshop (I don't think anyone knows how to make use of 100% of Photoshop, really). If you take this part seriously, you'll learn enough to make your vacation photos look way better, at least! However, no content regarding visual composition or aesthetics was provided, which resulted in some messy visual artwork from some students (akin to my noisy work in the audio section, I guess haha). Today the course is offered through three separate modules, but when I took it they were all together in one package. Makes little difference for the review, anyway.
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Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy is introductory. That may seem redundant, but it's the truth: the course does not aim to make of you a mathematical philosopher, but rather to showcase to you some of the main areas of the subject, covering each of them per week, mostly. The lectures are too much like a book, and a bit boring or confusing at times -even the teachers acknowledge that, and they said they planned to provide the students with written texts for the next offerings. But if you are patient and willing, you may get quite a lot out of it, and have a great time learning about questions you may or not ever have asked yourself (and if you did, you probably couldn't answer them, either!). It's overall a great experience, I think, for anyone interested in Math and Philosophy. However, despite the content being somewhat deep, passing the course is very easy. They chose to evaluate students through quizzes rather than written essays, which I find is a good thing (may I remind you that usually essays (and other more 'creative' work) in Coursera is often peer-graded, that is, you grade other student's works, who in turn grade yours, and usually no teacher or TA is involved in this process, which sometimes leads to unfairness). All in all, quizzes do make the course easier, but more fair.
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I studied Law for a couple of years before dropping out. We skimmed over a bit of Philosophy here and there, as well as Criminal Law, but even though the discussion about what is just or unjust was recurring, I always felt I (and most of my colleagues) needed a bit of solid ground to start from. We often read advanced essays and books and critiques on those, but I always found it hard (for obvious reasons) to critique a theory without having a more solid grasp of the theory itself. In a nutshell, any argument about Justice must take into account what has been already said about the subject throughout human History. I eventually dropped out of Law School, but my curiosity about this subject (to be specific, Political Philosophy), kept growing, and I felt I needed to build some ground before going any further. Harvard's Justice fit my needs perfectly. Sandel's lectures require basically no specific background, being suitable for anyone beginning their studies on Philosophy. The content is presented in a very organized fashion, and you can always clearly see where you came from and where you're going. Besides the lectures, the course has two types of readings: excerpts from Sandel's "Justice: What's the Right Thing to do?" and Philosophy texts. The latter, albeit optional (that is, reading them is not required to pass the course), are at a higher level than the rest of the material: they were mostly written over a hundred years ago, so the language may be an issue at times, and they all delve deeply each into their own subjects, much deeper, doubtlessly, than Sandel's lectures. This brings me to a small problem, so to speak, of the course. If you, like me, pick up Sandel's book at a library or bookstore, you'll find that reading through it won't take you over two weeks, and will give you a very satisfying time. But if you do that, you'll probably find (like me) that watching the lectures becomes a bit pointless: the book and the lectures are way too similar, to the point of Sandel writing/saying some exact same sentences at both of them. Since I read the whole book a bit prior to the course start, that led me to not watch the lectures in full, only a handful of them. Needless to say, the book gives you just as much as the lectures, so you can read it or watch those alternatively and still do well enough in the Quizzes/Final Exam to earn a certificate (I actually only got one question wrong, finishing the whole thing at 96%). In fact, to be honest, it seems to me that the multiple-choice format of testing doesn't work too well for Humanities as it does for Sciences, but this is the kind of trade-off you face when doing online courses: you get a broader audience, but you can only give each person so much attention - computers can't read and analyze written essays (yet), after all.