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Ricardo Teixeira

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  • 86 reviews
  • 77 completed
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I kind of enjoyed taking this course, but I must confess I thought about quitting several times. I expected the course to be more about ethics and less about long explanations of conditions and their testing. Very often less time was devoted to the ethical issues raised by precision medicine than to the medicine itself. There was also an approach to defining the "ethical issues" that I personally found odd. For example, it was argued that testing for conditions has induced physical problems in some people as one issue of too much testing (even when paid for by health services consumers and not taxpayers); but there was no critical analysis of this assertion. How often does that happen? In 1% of all tests? 0.1%? 0.00001%? And shouldn't the analysis of the acceptability of that risk be left to patients? In this course there's a lot of talk about "risk" but not enough about how relevant those risks are. My personal feeling after taking the course was that, because of the bias towards finding potential risks everywhere, it presented a very grim picture. The last lecture itself is an exercise in futurology arguing that big data is useless - oh, I'm sorry, "raising the issue that there is the risk that efforts towards using big data are inefficient". If you put it like that it's just a risk, right? Yet, like all courses in social science, you need to always hold your defenses up. If you always maintain your alert levels high, you will learn a lot - and this course has a lot on its side. If you hold on to your skeptical instincts, you will end up enjoying it (I know I did, in a way). I do not regret sticking to it when I felt like quitting, because I feel like now I'm much more informed in this subject, whether I agreed or disagreed with the ideas put forth. The workload is quite heavy - seven quizzes and three (!!!) writing assignments. The worst part is that the evaluation system is totally irrational: you can assign a 0, a 5 or a 10 to your peers. Yes, only those three options and nothing in between. I had to give out 10's to almost everybody even though there were significant differences in quality between the essays. And you don't even get the chance to provide feedback to the other student. Overall, I recommend you check it if you have the time. If your interest is ethics, you won't learn anything about it here. If your interest is how precision medicine is seen by social scientists, then this is the course for you.
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I'll start by saying that I hated this course. It made my stomach turn. It displays everything that is wrong about social sciences today. I should also say that the materials are all put online in the beginning, so you're able to do the course in one go. I found it challenging but I made a point to finish the course so that I cannot be accused of being uninformed. I finished with more than 95% on the quizzes, so I am not speaking out of spite. I was really excited about this course. "Understanding Video Games", in my view, would be actually about... video games. Their evolution, how they started, why people play them, how they relate to current events and social and artistic movements, etc. Nothing prepared me for what the course is actually about. This course is a shameful display of post-modern relativism. It is built around social theories that interpret and divide video games characteristics, and proceeds to "analyze" (it can hardly be called an analysis) them according to those frameworks. The history and evolution of video games? They take 5 minutes to get it out of the way each lecture. The reasons why people play? Nothing discernible mentioned. How they relate to the rest of the world? Oh, there was quite a lot of that... unfortunately. If you take this course, they will try to "teach" you that the back stories in games are a way to "make arguments". So if in "Civ 3" you sometimes need to go to war instead of always making peace - that's an argument about how the world works. You will "learn" that games that are purely violent, or stereotypical in general, without any context for that violence or stereotype, are just nonsense. You will "learn" that many games are "misogynistic" - and, even more striking, that "gender is a social construction" (sic). You will "learn" that race is always an issue, if for nothing else for its absence - the hero is always a white male heterosexual, after all! And "Star Trek" had you killing Klingons just because they were an alien race, teaching racism to young children! You will learn that the people who made "Medal of Honor" paid more attention to making guns sound authentic than showing the actual horrors of war - the bastards. And, of course, you'll hear about gamification on a slightly scornful tone. If this all seems like utter nonsense to you, then you are not alone. I find it shameful to pass this - which is pure ideology - for knowledge. It is unverifiable theorizing. It is empirically unverifiable. My favorite example was "Street Fighter" as a case of stereotypical racial profiling. Dalshim is Indian, and as such he practices yoga and can bend his limbs. Blanka, you'll be told, is Brazilian, and as such he is a very quick Capoeira fighter. Those racists! How dare you, Capcom? Of course, they forgot to say Dalshim's main feature is that his arms and legs extend. Is that the stereotype of Indians? That their arms extend meters in front of their bodies? And Blanka, his main feature is giving electrical shocks. That's totally stereotypical, right? After playing "Street Fighter, when I was in Brazil I was sooooo afraid to shake people's hands... If you believe the post-modern constructivist credos, you'll love this course. You will probably see the world as a paternalistic, sexist, racist place. Which is sad. If you're a reasonable person, this will all sound astonishingly bad. This course follows that same path, quoting nothing but post-modernist "thinkers" (cough cough). And as such it does the same thing that post- modernist social science does: it proposes basic ideas obscured by made-up technical terms; when you distill those ideas, they are either truisms or absolutely false. Not that those folks will admit to this - after all, if you ask a "video game theorist" about this same review, they will say I "misunderstood" the contents. Of course I did. It's the slippery way those people argue. Their claims are all obscured by their style of dialogue precisely so that it is impossible to pin them to the ground and actually assess the truth or falsity of their claims. Every single way you interpret it is, necessarily, a misinterpretation. And this is a symptom of rotten intellectualism in itself. Saying that "gender is a social construct" is purely false. It's ideology rather than knowledge. Seeing racism in having to kill Klingons is beyond unreasonable. The saddest thing is that a whole course about video games hardly ever says explicitly the main reason why people play games. Because games are f'ing FUN! Sure, games use stereotypes. Sure, princesses are there to be saved. Sure, the body count and sadism in "Manhunt" is high. And that's why we play those games. They allow us space to shed our skin and indulge in pleasures we would not want to in the real world. We get to be someone else. We are in a world of no consequence where we can be as amoral or immoral as we wish. To suggest that those games, the racist, sexist, violent-for-no-reason, stereotypical ones, are plain, boring, dangerous, bad or uninteresting, is simply to miss the point. It is the opposite of understanding video games. It's trying to bend games to the ideology of the interpreter. During the entire lectures you never see even a still picture from any game mentioned. I question why the lecture videos have no images of the video games themselves. I doubt it's a copyright issue, because the games are being used for commentary - at most, the university would need to ask permission. Is it because maybe people would find them fun and want to play the "undesirable" ones? Or is it simply because anyone who saw the actual games would understand that what's being said (again) is either trivially true or completely false (or, at the very least, meaningless)? I always recommend people check out the courses for themselves. You should definitely do the same. But don't take a passive stance. These "theories" in the social sciences have long held back their respective fields. They are relativistic, obscurantist, and just wrong. Applying them to something so free, boundless and fun as video games is sacrilege. Enough is enough.
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This is an absolutely amazing course. Granted, you can't go wrong with a topic like forensic science. Given the popularity of CSI-type shows, I think almost everyone would be interested in a course like this. But it is a major challenge - you need to cover so much ground that it's hard to keep focused, to design lectures with acceptable depth of contents without making it run for months. The professor must be congratulated for achieving such delicate balance of being short and to the point but nevertheless covering all the fundamentals. As for evaluation, there are some easy quizzes, but the real highlight are the peer assessments. There's two of them, and you have to analyse a crime scene using the tools you learn. Talk about a CSI-type of game! I'm usually critical of peer-rated assignments, but these two were actually really fun. And then (what else can we expect?) the discussion forum became full of trolls and crybabies. The staff was very kind and prepared a detailed rubric for grading and a solution for the assignment, but that is not sufficient for some people. It's human nature - this sort of assignment brings out people's wildest, craziest conspiracy theories, and you cannot show them they're wrong because they'll see evidence for their paranoia everywhere - in their heads of course the professor is an idiot and the case study is wrong and the "official" solution makes no sense. This is a good example of what MOOC discussion fora are like in every course, so I can't hold it against this one. As always, my main recommendation is that you stay the hell away from discussion fora, or else just read them for a laugh. I laughed out loud with some of the things some people invented. The reason why I don't give the course 5 stars is because of the layout. The staff probably tried to innovate by moving things around. It's still the Coursera main page, but the side bar is awkward, the assignments have a tailored frontpage, and it all gets very confusing. For example, because of the layout change you cannot see which assignments you've completed and which ones you still have to complete. The desire to be original is praiseworthy, but I would recommend that in future offerings they just revert back to the traditional style (or at least offer that option). Experienced Courserians will know that this is not a minor issue, it is an important time waster. All in all, one of the absolutely fundamental MOOCs you definitely have to check out!
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This is a nice introduction to macroeconomics. If you don't have any notions whatsoever in this area, you'll gain immensely from following the course, since nowadays it's almost basic literacy with all the talk of austerity and deficits in the media. But if you know some macroeconomics, the whole 6 weeks will seem pitifully basic. The quizzes are amazingly simple. The peer-reviewed exercise that is part of the evaluation for the course also seems like an incredibly straightforward case study (analysis and proposal of economic solutions for a fictitious country), although it's very lengthy - but then the rubric for evaluation is so incredibly detailed that you would need either nice reviewers or a lot more time (and higher word limits) to mention everything that is asked of your answers. Overall this course suffers from the same problem of most MOOCs - it tries to assume no prior knowledge in the field, and so it becomes pretty stale for someone even with just some basic background knowledge in the area. This is not to say that it's a bad course. It is competently put together and the lecturer is a really good teacher - so if your a novice in macroeconomics you should definitely try it out.
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Where can we start with this course? What a journey! Seventeen (!!) weeks of story-telling, covering the past, present and future of Humankind. There are so many lectures and chapters that I cannot really single out particular aspects. The strongest and most flattering claim I can make about this course is that, despite its length, it provides a completely clear and consistent view of Humanity. It's quite an achievement, to take on such an ambitious enterprise as to explain everything, and spectacularly succeed. Of course, one viewpoint may be consistent and convincing but that does not make it true. I personally disagreed, in some cases strongly, with the positions and theories mentioned by the lecturer. His view of farming as the "enslavement of animals", for example, is dangerously close to a form of post-modern animism very popular in some "green" circles, but it's hardly defensible. But the truth value of each particular fact or theory in such a long course doesn't matter at all. As we're told in the final lecture, his objective is not that we start spreading his views as gospel; his objective is to make us think about phenomena and events as a whole, since we're so used to compartmentalizing and having only fragmented views. His success, he states, is measured by his ability to make us think about these issues, and to make sure that we will not be the same again after taking the course. He succeeded magnificently.
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I have mixed feeling about this course. I find the subject - informal logic - fascinating. The pace of the course, however, is very slow. There is a LOT of repetition - mostly on one of the professor's part - and hours of video to watch each week. Plus, one of the professors developed smart exercises and quizzes - in the sense that the answers are fairly clear-cut and not really open for lots of discussion (this is, after all, a Philosophy class), but the other professor created exercises where he's clearly trying to trick us more than testing our understanding. It's frustrating as hell. I would recommend that future version of this course are shortened. If you keep the contents but remove the repetition you can shave off at least 2-3 weeks of material - that's how slow the course is.
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This course is very hard. I have had many Physics classes, and even I am having some difficulty following the course. It's definitely interesting, but there's a lot of content put online every week, so we just skim through the equations and never really carefully discuss the concepts used. If you're planning on taking this course, please mind the "Pre-requisits" part of the description! This is definitely not aimed at casual students. Plus, this is the only course I've taken that at Coursera that was a bit disorganized. The professor skipped some weeks and then overcompensated. Sure, he mentioned he was sick - but was he taping week to week segments? What pissed me off the most was a discussion forum conversation where a student complained that the course was not entertaining enough. Granted, it's a dubious comment, but the professor replied "I'm sorry, here's your money back". He would do that a lot - imply that we can't complain or criticize because the course was free. That is absurd. If he did not want to do a good course, he shouldn't. I'm sure nobody forced him. In conclusion, if you like this subject and you already know something about it, go for it. If not, take other alternative courses.
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Everything you ever wanted to know about the Internet - and then some. This course is very interesting because it provides the technical background on concepts that every modern Internet user has heard before in one place or another. It's interesting and engaging, because it operates at two different levels: a qualitative, historical depiction of networks, and a technical, detailed methodological description of their functions. Watch out - there are many hours of video to watch, and sometimes the material feels overwhelming. But the professor is very good and you breeze through it with minimum effort. The exercises are hard, though, unless you have previous experience.
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I must be a masochist - after such a terrible Part 1, Part 2 managed to be event worse. I still took Part 2 because - hopeless optimist me - I thought it would actually (finally) the course would be about what the title says. I was so mistaken. I'm sorry for being so harsh, but this is simply the worst experience I've had in a MOOC. It's a three week waste of time where you, once more, won't learn a thing about philosophy or business. You'll hear some random cliches and sometimes plainly anti-scientific and anti-rigorous thought. The lectures are commonplace and the exercises ludicrous. I simply cannot recommend this to anyone.
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There isn't a lot to say about this course. It is a nice introduction to Game Theory, interesting mostly if you have no experience in the topic. I took it just to freshen up some basic concepts - which I did - but I did not learn a whole lot. Highly recommended if you're a novice, not at all if you're an expert. Also, the lecturer is quite good but the evaluation is quite basic.
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After being told several times I'd make a pretty good lawyer/lawmaker/whatever, I decided to try out this course. I always thought law is a useless bore. I also had no interest in European bureaucracy. But this course was only about business law, which made it more appealing. Now, after watching the very last lectures in this course, there is only one thing I can say: jeez, law is so painstakingly boring. I don't want my extreme dislike for the topic bias my view. The course was well assembled and extremely informative. I did learn a lot, and I would recommend it to any informed EU citizen. However, I also felt like they tried to jam in everything, involved a ton of different lecturers, and disregarded the communications side. Some lecturers clearly do not get the pace and tone of a MOOC, and that made some lectures almost impossible to follow. This is already not a sexy topic, and many of the lectures were the most un-sexy pieces of video I ever saw. Also, the quiz evaluation system won't teach a lot. Many questions were simple "in which piece of legislation do you find X". It may be interesting if you're a law aficionado, but to me they were tedious. Overall, an unclear and somewhat confusing mash of different topics that should have been spiced up in order to be palatable. As an introduction, I think it fits the purpose and I would definitely highly recommend it to citizens of countries belonging to the EU. The EU has such an impact in your life, that you might as well at least know what you're dealing with.
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Nice little course about a somewhat politically incorrect truth - how hunting can actually be good for nature conservation. I like the instructors and the way the information is structured, as well as the debates and compassionate picture of sustainable, conscious hunters as conservationists. My only complaint is that the course is too short! Plus, the quizzes are ridiculously simple and you can take each one as many times as you want. That's something to improve, but overall it was a good experience.
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Wow, people actually trash this course because it's "too hard"! Most MOOCs are generally stupidly easy, so to me that is a plus. I guess some people just want certificates and don't really consider the quality of the learning materials to rate courses. Don't get me wrong. This course is extremely hard, mostly because there isn't much of a link between videos and exercises - videos are mostly theoretical, exercises are mostly numerical applications of the theory. But that only makes it fun. I never spent more than 2 hours per week and I completed the exam in less than one hour (without recurring to any external study elements), and yet I managed to get a passing grade. So it is a lie that you need an overwhelming amount of time investment to finish the course. And in any case difficult does not mean bad. The lectures are extraordinary - clear yet complex, challenging but rewarding. All professors are great. You will learn more in these 4 weeks than in the entirety of 99% of "easy" MOOCs even if you fail to get the certificate. If you're interested in the topics covered here (social choice, mechanism deign, auctions) or in game theory in general, please do not get scared of dramatic warnings of "difficulty". Be sure that those who like easiness are mostly about getting a certificate. If you simply want to learn more in this area, go for it, you will not regret it. An amazing learning experience!
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This is a very interesting, albeit very theoretical, introduction to archaeology. I enjoyed the topics mentioned, ranging from the early days of this science to modern-day digital reconstructions. The quizzes are very simple. The biggest negative is the lecturing style - reading is not acceptable in any classroom, and even less so in a virtual one.
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This is one of the best courses I've ever taken. It introduces you to the basics about philosophy of science, and then takes you through a journey into some topics. Two broad areas are covered - cosmology and cognition (and you can even get a certificate if you only care for one of them!). The lectures are varied and engaging. They are introductory but go into some detail. I learned a lot, and I had prior exposure to this topic. If you're interested in this topic, I couldn't recommend this course more. There's nothing negative to say, maybe apart from the fact that the evaluation was a little too simple. But in any case, this is as near as you'll get to a perfect 5-star course.
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The title of this course is extremely misleading. It has nothing whatsoever to do with philosophy and even less to do with management. It uses some ideas from folk philosophy to lecture a self-help course on so-called "creativity". That is, of course, if by "creativity" you naively mean coming up with stuff out of the blue. The tone of the course is totally self-help. "Do this and you'll be creative, but hey, there's no recipe, you know what works for you, and here's how you can find it". Contradictory and useless. For example, the lecturer goes as far as teaching the left brain/right brain opposition, which is completely, 100% discredited. There is no hemisphere in the brain for creativity. Almost every idea introduced is either wrong (the lecturer clearly does not know what induction and deduction mean) or some dated theory that no longer makes much sense. The level of confusion is extreme. The staff should read the literature on creativity. Writers, poets, painters, all say the same. Being creative is hard work. It's not following jingles and mindless "unleash your creativity" exercises. It requires rigor, discipline and sometimes even lack of liberty (some writers train their creativity by forcing themselves to write without using certain words or letters). Believe it or not, the exercises were things like categorizing lists of countries. The final exam was a peer assessment to analyse a sentence a manager could say and go through it word by word to show how he was wrong because he did not want to change strategy when looking at the competitors numbers. Well, what if he was right? I guess he couldn't be, because creativity is good in itself, and change is unavoidable - but ask any successful manager if applying this makes any sense. Even worse, in this exam there were tips for each word that had nothing whatsoever to do with what the word expressed in the sentence. These were the worst exercises I ever did. Plus, they were poorly worded, ambiguous, severely lacking concreteness (which I'm sure the lecturer would say is by design - which is even worse!). The lack of rigor is mind numbing. I stayed with the course because I kept waiting for it to get better. After the third childish exercise, I might as well get the certificate. I wanted to know in which specific ways it related to management. But that never came. The course could be called "philosophy for taxi drivers" and nothing in the contents would change. I cannot recommend it at all. I should commend the staff for teaching in English instead of insisting on nationalist views about teaching in their own native tongue, but that's about all I have to say that's positive about the experience.
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Great course on the basics behind the analysis of the sociological dimensions of advertising. The course is extremely interesting in case you're interested in this area. It clears up - or at minimum complexifies - issues taken as dogma regarding the advertisements world. It is simplistic to believe in evil manipulative advertisers that bombard us with subliminal messages constantly, who are sexist and bigoted and create needs that force us to buy things we don't need with money we don't have. That's a nice little litany, but the truth is far more nuanced. This course presents you with many layers of interpretation in a very colorful way. The evaluation is trivially simple, and the course seems a bit short - there was definitely an opportunity to extend and go more in-depth. But in any case, much recommended!
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This is a subject I'm particularly engaged with and I took the course to learn something new. I was interested in the "revolutionary" in the title - and boy, I was NOT disappointed. The ideas presented are definitely revolutionary, in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, they are also very fringe-y, but they were not presented as such. What if we picked our representatives using a lottery? What if we got rid of the Constitution? What if, instead of locking up criminals, we established "negotiations" involving victims and families to decide how they can contribute to society? It was interesting and stimulating to hear these thoughts and discussions, but overall most of the proposals are either impossible to implement or even scary (so we should have victims of rape face rapists to see how they can make it up to them?). The professor did have replies to some of these points (too long to go over here), but it's impossible to shake the feeling that if you take all objections into account you end up with a relatively consensual, bland idea a that is not exactly revolutionary. I also did not enjoy the overload of relativistic, post-modernist views that are actively promoted. The exposition is biased towards some views. Some apologetic views of socialist and neo-marxist views were cringe worthy to say the least ("well, it didn't work in the past, but it sure can work now!"). At the same time, some very important names in the area of political philosophy (John Locke!) were overlooked or skimmed over during the first lectures only - which, again, is understandable given the "revolutionary" nature of the course, but hard to swallow in any political philosophy course. The evaluation for the course was ridiculously simple. Some trivial quizzes and then posts in discussion fora that were not evaluated in any way. Given the significant amount of work you needed to put in, this is not understandable. For example, the big capstone project of the course was a "blueprints project" - defining your ideal state (1000-3000 words). But all you needed to do was place it in a forum post - full marks if you did so, no matter how uninteresting the contents were; I don't understand why not make it a peer assessment. Overall, I'd be surprised anyone who completed the course got less than 100%. In conclusion, it's a nice course if you want to hear different ideas that don't get tossed around frequently. I definitely recommend it, as long as you don't drink the Kool-Aid and go into it with a critical mindset. That should be asked of students of any MOOC or any other course, but in this one it seems particularly important to me.
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I started out by auditing the course, since it's not one of my all-time favorite topics, but ended up staying until the end and completing all quizzes. What a wonderfully designed course! Unlike other courses on US Constitutional history, which usually go monotonously through the articles and the amendments one by one, this course is lively and relevant. It does include an analysis of the Constitution, but the topics are presented in terms of their impact on current events. The lectures are short and sweet - a bit too short, if I may say so. The quizzes are very easy. That's what prevents it from being a 5-star course. Still, the professor is extraordinary, the visuals of the lectures are flawless (and helpful), and the material should be the concern of any informed citizen in the US or abroad. If you only take 1 course on US Constitutional history, then I recommend this one.
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This was a nice little course. Over 5 weeks I doubt the lecture time was much over one hour, but there's a lot of information jam-packed into those short lectures. It basically teaches you to deal with measurement problems in statistical models aimed at measurements in social sciences. I am experienced in statistics and I studied and applied before the models mentioned (IV, differences in differences), so it was relatively easy for me to follow - but I wonder how others with more limited experience in statistics fared. I took the course to remember some concepts I had since forgotten, and in that respect I can totally recommend this course. The course has a nice balance between theory and practice. You are quizzed on the concepts and also on interpretation of actual regression data. That sets it apart from other similar courses in statistics that are purely theoretical. I only wished it would have been longer. Overall, a great experience!
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The basic idea of this course is that visual perception has been shaped by natural selection and as such our experiences today with human vision must be understood as dealing with the strengths and limitations of the mechanism found by evolution for seeing. This is a very interesting - and totally correct - view. It is a perspective that may seem trivial at first, but it's often forgotten by people with "computational" and strict objectivist views about vision. It was an enlightening experience for that reason. The message was repeated many times and applied to many areas (color, light, etc.). If you're interested in this topic it is definitely a nice complement to other courses where other views are held. I would, though, be weary of mantras such as "color is not a property of the object" just because we experience color differently depending, for example, on contextual cues. There are objective physical properties of objects that relate to color, and light, and all aspects related to vision - if you define them that way. This course understands the psycho-physical component of vision only and so it naturally tends to see vision as subjective. It's interesting, just put it into perspective.
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I enjoyed this course. It provides a nice overview of the institutions, ideas and actors that indeed shape the World, as well as the different ways we have to assess and measure how the World is actually configured. It is a relatively light course, and that is also my biggest criticism. Short lectures each week without much depth. I know it's an introduction, but more detail would certainly be desirable. There is a lot of time spent on, for example, the real impact of foreign aid, but then the lecture on NGOs is only 10 minutes long. Of course, the course is so far-reaching that if we used this standard it would take 20 weeks and many hours per week to be fully satisfied. You also get two tracks - one basic and one advanced - depending on how much work you wish to put into the course. That's a nice way to attribute distinction marks to students. The quizzes, though, are extremely simple. Overall a nice experience, much recommended.
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I have to agree with everyone else. This course is a series of lecture slides (less than half an hour per week...) with nothing but jargon and practically no examples or training, followed by problems, some of which as absolutely trivial because if you select the correct answer you'll get a check mark, and others are unsolvable by beginners. There is no syllabus ("go check the index of a book", we were told in the forum by a staff member), no information on grading and logistics, nothing. Considering that this course has been offered so many times, and considering that Stanford courses are usually good examples of great MOOCs, I have no idea why this course works so badly every time it opens. Everyone commenting here says the same, and yet there are no changes to the materials and evaluation. I don't think anyone should take this course. The University of Melbourne offers their great two-part course on logic that is one of the best MOOCs ever! If you're interested in the topic, check those out.
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Really good introductory course. I took the basic route (you can take an advanced route if you're interested in a certificate with distinction) and still got a lot out of it. It is a structured and well informed approach to a delicate topic. The course isn't hard (quizzes are relatively simple) and the workload is kind of soft, but again - it's an introduction. I recommend it, since this is a topic that influences all our lives and is in the news non-stop. It will clear up some confusion and myths and give you actual insight into a troubling phenomenon.
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Nice little course about health care for the aging. It's really a very short introduction to the topic, with very easy quizzes and not a lot of material. If you're interested in this area, you should check it out - it won't take too much of your time. I did feel that it was very superficial and at times seemed a bit paternalistic. Still, a nice experience.
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This is a five-star course on the topic of networks - social, but also economic and ecological. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. As someone with no exposure on the topic, I appreciate the soft learning curve. The course build momentum as it grows in complexity, which is a perfect teaching strategy. It informs, but it also inspires. You get to understand the open threads quite well. The quizzes are conceptually challenging - you need to know what you're doing. But if you pay attention and follow the classes, it is relatively easy to get the questions right. By the way, the materials are all put online in the beginning, so you're able to do the course in one go. That is excellent. Overall, I could not recommend this course more, as long as this is a topic you find appealing. I've tried other courses in the same area, and ended up quitting - so this one is surely worth a closer look.
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Very nice introductory course. It answers most questions I had - as well as those of us who were interested in the topic (maybe as kids) but did not get any formal training. If you've ever been interested in dinosaurs - and who hasn't? - then you should definitely check this course out. It's fun, informative, and light. There are no major flaws I can discern. Great job from the people at the University of Alberta! By the way, the materials are all put online in the beginning, so you're able to do the course in one go. That is excellent.
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Very nice course. If you're interested in the great debates of our times, this is an essential piece of knowledge to hold. The course is about great economists, but necessarily it's about the ideas of those economists, the debates they participated in, and their influence and impact. It's a lot of material, with an understandable emphasis on Adam Smith. There are some notable omissions. I don't mean it due to intellectual bias, so I can provide two opposed examples: a couple of lectures on Keynes and Marshal, and a couple on the Chicago school, would have been great. Of course, the list can only get bigger, and at some point you need to draw the line. Overall, very much recommended.
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Similarly to the people who commented before me, I think this course can still improve a lot in the future. The pace is indeed slow and the lectures are relatively short - when you need to teach psychology, economics and neuroscience all at once, I think you are justified in presenting more than 1 hour of material per week. The quizzes are also embarrassingly simple. Some questions did make me stop and think, not because they were hard but due to problems with the English. Nevertheless, this is an amazing course about a topic you won't find anywhere else in MOOC providers. Neuroeconomics has NOTHING to do with Behavioral Economics or Social Psychology, as people mistakenly state. While conceptually they could be similar, the practice of each is radically different. Anyone who ever took a course in each cannot in all seriousness deny that Neuroeconomics is a serious descriptive (scientific) discipline, not psychological mambo- jambo used to justify the engineering of societies according to what some people believe to be the best, or as they call it "nudge" people. This course is a great introduction to this fascinating world. If you're even remotely interested in this topic, this is the course you should take.
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This second part of the course did not deliver on its promise. The instructor said, during part 1, that we shouldn't be worried if things didn't make sense, because typically students only get "it" after the second part. That's hardly so. This second part was more confusing in some respects than part 1. The first week is a repetition of part 1, Then you move straight to new topics, always filled with technical jargon that at times becomes impossible to follow and other times is dull considering the repetition. If I had taken this class in school I would have needed to study a lot from textbooks to get a decent grade, because of the unstructured and "all over the place" nature of the classes. However, don't get me wrong! The course is far from bad. I sympathize wholeheartedly with the instructor's approach to finance and I think his ideas are a breath of fresh air. He is truly an original in his field and it is a privilege to learn from him. Despite all its shortcomings, you will learn more about finance and banking in this course than any other. So in a sense I recommend it - I just can't see what all the fuss is about (looking at the extremely high rates this course has received).
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I was very skeptical when I enrolled in this course. I thought it might end up being a bleeding-heart environmentalist course, accusing people of being murderers if they ate meat or enslaving animals if they owned pets. I was very glad to learn that my intuition couldn't be more wrong. This is a balanced, interesting, and above all else scientific course about animal welfare that shed light on our relations with the animals under our keep - pets, farm animals, or even zoo animals. The most important take-away in my view is that caring for animal welfare means providing animals with the space and conditions they need to display their normal behavior - apart from some basic essentials like food, shelter and humane treatment. There is no eco-fascism and you won't find environmentalist pseudo-moralist views here. Make no mistake about it, the lectures are scientific in nature. Yet they are engaging and will be extremely interesting for anyone interested in these matters. If the course was a bit longer, it would definitely be worth 5 starts. 5 weeks is a bit short considering the breadth of materials in the lectures. Still, it's highly recommended!
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This is a nice course, particularly if you liked the first part (the non- advanced one). The course is a bit on the light side, but there's something to keep anyone interested. The professor is a showman that dominates the art of teaching a MOOC perfectly. He changes the scenario often, taking you to appropriate places for the lectures. He distills complex subjects into very short segments, and has a knack for the intuitive. The course is really easy (evaluation-wise) but that's besides the point. I'm sure unless you're an expert in the area you'll learn a lot. If you took the first Competitive Strategy course you'll love this one. If you didn't, you should. It's one of the best put-together courses on Coursera. If it was a bit longer and had more in-depth sections, it would be perfect.
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This was a really good course on Finance. No equations or math - just lectures that always start by reading and interpreting the Financial Times. This is real-World finance, the type that you could probably use to talk intelligently with a Wall Street financier. Despite being an academic course, don't expect an academic-styled course. This is the actual stuff that matters, it's what the people moving money around care about. You won't find a course more relevant than this one. If you're like me, you'll miss some equations and models - they may be unrealistic but they are a good pedagogical tool, as a way of keeping you grounded and following the narrative of the course. But I understand that it is not the objective at all to teach theoretical mambo- jambo that does not work in practice. And that's why the course is an amazing experience. The lowest point for me was the general sense of loss of direction. The professor himself admitted that most of his students only start understanding what he's saying in Part 2, but that's a bit frustrating. Don't get me wrong, I think that's an exaggeration - you will definitely learn a lot; just don't ask me what were the 4th or 5th lectures about, because I honestly wouldn't be able to tell you. I didn't sense a coherent, large-scale narrative. Also, the evaluation exercises were very simple. I like quizzes as a way to test understanding, but in this case there were only 5 (6 questions each) + exam (10 questions). There should be more. All in all, an excellent course. I'm definitely sticking around and I'm now starting Part 2 of this great course!
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If you're interested in history, this is a great course for you. I was kind of apprehensive in the beginning, since it deals with religion. In reality, I was very pleasantly surprised with the tone of the course. The lectures are neutral and balanced. This is about History, not Theology. It presents an overview of the way the jewish Bible was produced, the reasons behind it and the society of the time, as well as what we can learn and take away from it. There are very few negatives. Maybe the course could be a bit longer (6 weeks is nothing). Maybe the quizzes could be a bit more challenging - a peer- reviewed assessment could help. There is mandatory forum participation worth 5% of the grade, which I hate - in courses such as this you really need to stay away from the forum (which is true always, but courses involving religious topics make particularly irritating and worthless forum discussions). Finally, I personally felt a bit lost in the segments sometimes; sometimes I felt the narrative in the lecture wasn't very clear. However, the course is so good that these negatives are pretty small if you look at the big picture. I couldn't recommend this course more if this is a topic that appeals to you.
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A very nice course, particularly if you've never taken a class in neuroscience. It is a light, well-humored introduction to the subject of how the brain deals with space. The lecturer is a tremendous professor - simple but quite effective. The only reason why it's not yet a 5-star course is because it would be nice if it contained more advanced materials and/or if it was longer (6 weeks, less than 1 hour per week, is really not that much). Still, if you're interested in the topic, and even more so if it's your first time learning about neuro-related-stuff, you'll have a great time.
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I said in my review of part 1 that if some simple issues could be fixed, then this would be a 5-star course. And now it is. What an amazing experience to go through these tough materials with these lecturers. If you've taken part 1, you'll know the drill. If you haven't, go do it. I don't believe anyone can complete part 2 of this course without either being accustomed to propositional logic or completing part 1 of the course.  In part 2 you'll have even more materials in the form of new application areas, better exercises that are challenging but doable, and if you're like me you'll be sorry there's no part 3. Absolutely top course, I cannot recommend it more.
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I hesitated before writing this. I feel really bad for having to say what I'm about to say, because the lecturer seems like a genuinely nice person, and I always feel obliged to be thankful for someone who puts in the time to offer a course for free, and does it respectfully and with honesty and good intentions - as is the case. That being said, I must say it was definitely not the right course for me. It is pretty much an introductory course, which is fine, but since I've taken so many similar ones before to me it was repetitive. Further, it upset me that it displays an underlying relativism. We are constantly reminded that "there are no right answers" and that all that matters is our "own personal ethic". The first quiz was almost voyeuristic, in that it asked personal questions about our views. Sure, ethics may be a subjective field with many grey areas, but there are clear rights and wrongs. It is possible to teach those rights and wrongs - as other courses show. That's what I signed on to learn - not to be told that whatever my intuition is, it's as correct as anything else. As a consequence, I think some topics are handled simplistically. For example: I was appalled to hear that "Darwinism" is an "ethical theory" that consists of the strongest taking everything. Natural selection is a biological theory for how species vary across time and how their genetic features morph, it is not an ethical theory. The closest possible match would be social Darwinism, which is by now a discarded sociological theory - still not an ethical theory. I always think if you're interested in the topic of the course it's worth checking it out. But I am sorry I cannot recommend it at all. It's a shame - I was really looking forward to it. If future offers of the course are more rigorous, structured and objective, I may sign on again.
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Interesting presentation of the topic. This is a competent and well-put course that everyone interested in Bioethics (is there anyone who isn't?) will certainly enjoy. Very much worth it. There's a lot of lecturers, each teaching a certain module or section, so it gets a bit hectic, and it feels like you're just watching several disconnected talks. They try to integrate the different parts with an initial lecture each week, but I did not find it sufficient. I wonder if so many professors were needed in a short 6-week course. In any case, the worst part is that although some presentations were very fair and balanced, others were not. After taking Michael Sandel's "Justice" course - a wonderful class that is to me the prime example of how you can lecture controversial topics beautifully, be engaging and thought-provoking and give nothing away - it was hard for me to contain myself listening to these lectures. I found myself strongly disagreeing with the lecturers and being forced to give the answer they ask for in the quizzes although it is wrong. Often extremely disputable assertions were made as if they were fact. As always with every MOOC, you cannot take your issue to the discussion boards - that's where good debate goes to die. By the way, I also hated that they "forced" us to post in discussions. You could just go to the forum, write "bla bla bla", declare you had participated, and you got points. (By the way, the TAs said "the course is supposed to be difficult" but most questions are ridiculously simple - plus the bonus points for adding to the noise in the discussion forum because MOOC organizers for some reason still believe these fora are interesting.) Overall, I recommend this if you're looking for a relevant, up to date MOOC on practical ethics. It doesn't compare to the "Justice" course on EdX (I'm still looking for a MOOC that does compare), but I definitely recommend this one as well. Just be sure, as always, to have your guard up and remember to think critically about the contents.
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I attempted to take this course and dropped out after two weeks. It is an interesting course, but if, like me, you've taken other introductory courses in Neuroscience, then there isn't much appeal. It is simple and quite basic, and at least during the first sessions we did not see that bridge to "everyday life" promised in the title. If you've never taken a Neuroscience course before then this may be great. if you have, it's probably redundant.
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What can I say that hasn't been said yet about this wonderful course? It's an amazing experience that takes you though a compelling, interesting journey over more than 250 years of History. I don't understand how anyone can be consider him/herself an informed citizen without having these notions - and I realize how much I've been missing in my knowledge and interpretations of current and past events. Professor Zelikow is a wonderful teacher, besides an accomplished professional in his area, and it's delightful to learn from him. His narrative is consistent, coherent, well supported, but it has elements of originality that will surely interest even those who previously completed studies in global History. His style is great - in fact, I knew I'd be sticking around since the first "welcome, make yourselves comfortable". If you're investing in MOOCs, this is an absolute essential. I couldn't recommend it more.
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I have to commend the lecturer for putting this course live. If you want to teach such a controversial subject, you're bound to run into hot topics. The lecturer is really quite good and engaging, and he does a very competent job at maintaining your attention throughout. You will definitely learn something new about the nature of the relationship between religious institutions. As a course, it is very light. The exercises are quite easy, virtually impossible to get wrong (two attempts at questions with only two possible answers). However, this course left me very uncomfortable at moments (and others too, judging by reactions in discussion boards). It presents a very light take on the relationship between the christian church and jewish populations. It highlights the centuries of relatively peaceful coexistence, punctuated by brutal episodes that it mostly ascribes to issues of state and power and not necessarily religious intolerance. That is definitely true - the rise of modern states, and their appropriation of religious excuses, caused more bloodshed than religious institutions by themselves. But very often you're left with a sour taste in your mouth, because the tone of the lectures is very close to whitewashing of atrocities committed by religion in the name of religion. By highlighting mostly the good and doing an apology of the bad, the overall historical picture gets very biased. Imagine the following analogy: Charles Manson spent most minutes of his life without committing murders. In fact, he was only in the act of committing murders during, at most, a few minutes of his entire lifetime. If you write a biography of Manson framed in this way, you're bound to say that for the most part he was a pretty peaceful guy. I cannot shake the feeling that that's what the course does with the history of the Church in what relates to other creeds. In any case, controversy is good - so if you're interested in this topics you should take the course. Roman catholics will obviously be very interested in it, since it gives them a lot of ammo to respond to some atheists' arguments about religion being a force for evil in the World.
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I'm fairly sure that lots of people will come here and say very positive things about this course. Personally I did not like it all that much. I have nothing against Nobel-laureate professor Schiller. He is the absolute best at what he does, and it is truly an honor to "attend" his class. Don't get me wrong - I did relatively enjoy the course. The lectures were taped at a real Yale classroom (in fact the materials are all online at the Open Yale website). Normally I prefer when lectures are taped with students present - but in this case it made for a really frustrating experience that was really hard to follow. I guess Professor Schiller's teaching style is just not for me. There was a lot of rambling, walking around, hesitating, and no clear structure in the classes. If you take Michael Sandel's "Justice" course, you'll know what I'm complaining about, because he proves that live lectures do not need to be chaotic. They can feel organic and yet have a clear structure that is positive for learning. In the "Financial Markets" course I had to go back often to the lectures in order to finish the quizzes, and I had no idea in what part of the lecture the answer was. Confusing - to say the least. The discussion forum, as usual, is just horrible. Many topics are highly politicized, so that could be expected. But add to that an overwhelming amount of whining about peer-assessment scores (which always happens, but for some reason was particularly bad in this course), and you have an unreadable forum. Of course, the staff cannot be blamed for this. Apart from all this (and you really have to make an effort to look past this), the course is as good as could be expected. It is a competent and comprehensive introduction to the topic. There are guest lectures by very relevant players in the financial sector that add a lot to the course - but for some reason they are always cut short (some are a mere cut of 15 minutes of what had been, I believe, a whole hour class). Overall, I think you should go for this course if for nothing else because literacy nowadays implies knowing something about financial markets. And who better to teach you than a Nobel prize winner? I just wonder if people would be so positive about the course if it wasn't taught by a Nobel winner...
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Very hard and demanding, but also very rewarding, course. It is a strong introduction to Logic and four of its main applications. The lecturers are very engaging and thorough. They put together course notes that follow the lectures very closely and are a great reference when you're working on assignments. The workload on this course is really, really heavy, especially if you want to complete all four application areas (you don't have to, if all you care about is a certificate). I'm not complaining, since after all I hate when we're just handed certificates by simply answering questions straight out of the lectures, with no real learning-by-doing. However, some quizzes take a very long time to complete (such as those involving proof trees), and the questions change every time you re-take the quiz, meaning that if you want to train (using some great practice quizzes that the instructors also made available) and use all your shots in the graded quiz, you'll spend hours every week getting it done. Besides, you have peer-assessments, and the final exam itself is also peer-graded (and way harder than I'm used to in MOOCs). Overall, I think the difficulty level and the workload can be a burden for some. Personally I liked it a lot, so I grade this course high for its inherent quality and the learning experience it granted me. It is definitely one of my favorites ever. But is it perfect? Well, almost. Indeed during this first session there were some technical problems, but not nearly as serious as people make them up to be - and the staff dealt with them very well, and no one had to re-take any quizzes. Of course you have to stay out of discussion forums - but that's true of every course, since in over 40 MOOCs I took I never saw one forum that was even remotely informative or productive, with its know-it-alls and trolls roaming free. The forum in this course is just as bad as in any other course, so we cannot hold that against it. My biggest recommendation for the future is a review of the grading system. You can get a certificate with distinction in this course without even taking the final exam. I'm sure these kinks will be tweaked in future offerings, and then this will really be a 5-star course. Highly recommended!
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Wow, what a ride! First, what's good about this course. This is a nice, informal introduction to Plato (the title is slightly misleading). The first 6 weeks were dedicated to Plato's dialogues, while the last 2 were dedicated to an analysis of two moral psychologists, where the lecturer basically "defended" Plato's thought as still valid even in light of these modern developments. The best thing about this course is: professor Holbo! What an amazing communicator. He is informal and the funniest professor on Coursera, with mad skills when it comes to drawing cartoons - which he uses profusely, to illustrate every lecture and every point he makes. He was extremely engaged in the discussion forum, starting loads of new interesting threads and promoting productive discussions. And he actually read what we said and responded often. Now, the worst thing about this course is: professor Holbo! Don't get me wrong - I loved the guy and his lectures. But his informal style (he would say countless times "but I digress") is kind of all over the place and sometimes it's confusing to follow. Often I would finish whole lectures with the feeling that I understood every bit of his explanation, and yet when contemplating the whole thing I had no idea what he meant to say. Professor Holbo surely does not talk in soundbites - but at least I would recommend him to make an effort to clearly and objective lay down some take-home messages with every video. I would imagine beginners may be frustrated with this style. But this is a minor issue considering the quality of the course. You have quizzes that are actually smart (they teach you to interpret ancient text), a funny essay to write (if you were an advice columnist, what single rule would you give your readers to follow?), and hours of wisdom to grasp. Amazing course!
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Interesting introductory course to the art of obtaining and analyzing fMRI data. Don't expect to learn a lot about Neuroscience (in general) or Statistics (in general). This is a very focused course. It is a relatively light course, with very easy assignments. The lecturer is very engaging and a great communicator. I would rank it higher than the 4-star mark, but I think the course simplified matters too much. I would have liked to have a much more in-depth course with hands-on statistical exercises. People who are just mildly interested in this topics would take generic neuroscience courses, not something with such a narrow scope. I hope future offerings take the subject further and explore the subject in detail.
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I am baffled by the high grade my peers give this course. I know Dan Ariely is a very persuasive and engaging speaker, and he and his staff clearly put a lot of work into this course. I'm sure he's a great professor and a very talented researcher. But that is not enough for a five-star rating. I believe there is something quite fishy with the whole field of behavioral economics as it stands today. It is interesting, sure, but it has to grow out of its infantile conception of what the word "rational" means in economics. It relies too much on lab experiments with people (usually well educated individuals from rich countries with time to lose), and then simply postulates without much evidence that surely those effects also happen in real life, and that they must be significant enough to make neoclassical economics wrong. But people are not like physical objects that are subject to the same laws in and out of the lab. Behavioral economics built a straw man-like idea of rationality and so, naturally, sees irrationality everywhere. Are people economically irrational, for example, because of hyperbolic discounting? Well, not necessarily in economic terms - as long as economic theory can deal with it. Is it inconsistency and "bad" for the person? I don't see how that is any business of researchers, whose job is to understand and not to prescribe social norms. Of course, I may be suspicious of behavioral economics and still believe the course to be good. In fact, I tried to take this course precisely to assess if my intuitions about it are correct - or to be proved wrong. If I'm wrong, the great Dan Ariely is the man to show me so. No luck, though. Much like most papers on behavioral economics, this course gives you two hours per week of anecdotal evidence on top of more anecdotal evidence, followed by a brief comment at the end that "so it makes sense that this happens everywhere". There is no critical assessment, no mention of limitations in this type of studies, no hint of critical thinking. I would appreciate an organized, integrated explanation of economics of which anecdotes are mere examples and not the bread and butter of the class. I would appreciate factual evidence from real life about the extraordinary claims made here - especially because behavioral economists typically want to influence governments to "nudge" our behavior, so they better have bulletproof evidence for their assertions. Speculation and nice little stories are not informative, are not facts, are not science. And, most of all in a course like this, they are extremely tiring. I tried taking this course twice. By the third week of "we asked a group of people" my patience runs out and I just quit. Behavioral economics is still in its infancy. It may provide great insights for Microeconomics. But microeconomics always received input from psychology, so this is nothing new. I'll keep monitoring the field, but taking MOOCs on the subject? It's certainly not for me.
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Interesting course about one of the main (and most controversial) figures in US History. Jefferson was a colorful character and his ideas certainly deserve careful study nowadays. The lecturer, Professor Onuf, is an extraordinary communicator. He presents you with all sides and interpretations of Jeffersonian thought, and he certainly does not whitewash his most controversial ideas (even those that were outright racist). He teaches the good and the bad. And all of this takes place at the university that Jefferson himself founded - awesome! It is a short and "light" course, but if you're interested to know how modern democracy began being shaped by the American Revolution, this is one piece of the puzzle you should not miss.
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Do you complain that MOOCs are nothing more than very easy introductions? Do you feel like taking up a challenge? Are you fascinated by the intricacies of group decision? Have you ever wondered if simple plurality voting, used in most elections nowadays, really is the best way of electing candidates? Then this is the course for you! This is a wonderful course about group decision theory. You will hear about group decisions, what are the advantages and drawbacks of several mechanisms, some interesting paradoxes in choice, and also some crucial criteria when devising a method to allocate resources. This will challenge you to think about what is more important to you - would you prefer a division of goods in society that is envy-free or equitable, for example? The course is indeed introductory, but the lectures have a significant amount of detail and mathematical formalism. This is not all talk - you will really need to understand the concepts in depth and manipulate them in concrete calculations to pull through. The quizzes are hard (though the exam was relatively easier), but you have a passing grade of 80%. But the lectures are so enjoyable and the exercises so fun and instructive that it's worth carrying out all the work just for the sake of it. The instructor makes a great job at expressing how cool this area of research is. The only reason why I don't give it a full 5 stars is because the course gets confusing at times. There is so much information on so many different aspects of group choice that sometimes I felt lost, without knowing where I was in the lecture or in the syllabus. Of course this can be solved in future offerings simply by improving the introductory lectures each week. I'm sure the next time around this will be a 5-star course. Highly recommended!
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If you ever wondered about the intricate details of US immigration policy, or in case you want to learn a little more History using immigration as a proxy subject, then this is a nice short course that will certainly teach you something new. In just five weeks, it gives you an overview on current migratory fluxes into the US, the evolution of policies and laws, current requirements and even likely future changes. To do this, you will discuss the US Constitutional law, racism and even the political structure of the country. As the professor repeats over and over, this course will not give you enough information in case you're trying to get into the US. But it certainly goes a long way for an introductory course. There are quizzes, an exam and a (very simple) written assignment, The lectures are really good, at just the correct pace. The only drawback is an unavoidable one, which is the scope of the course itself. If you don't really care about something as specific as US immigration, you should absolutely not take this course. But I guess you could say this about the scope of any other course. So overall it was a great experience.
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This is about the first time the course was offered. Hopefully down the line this review will become obsolete. I quit this course for two reasons. First, and less important, there were no evaluations or certificates. That defeats the purpose of a MOOC. Without any extra element, I don't even get why call it a course - the professors in charge could have just put the videos on Youtube and call it a day. True, there was at the end a "peer-assessment": but it consisted of an essay you would write and other people would give you feedback - not a grade. I honestly don't see the purpose and I pleaded with the staff to re-think: but up until I dropped the course I saw no reply. I don't even know if the course staff was monitoring the discussion forum (judging by the number of trolls around there, I doubt it). Second, and more important, I quit due to the contents (note: I may be unfair in my assessment because I did not see all the videos). This course seems to be aimed at people, mostly religious, who have never given serious thought to the issue of the after-life beyond what they were taught. It tries to broaden views that people by introducing ideas from philosophy, psychology and neuroscience, among others. But for someone to find this new or insightful, one would need to be really entrenched behind deep denial. I did not feel like I was getting enough from the course to carry on. Still, if you were given a traditional upbringing with conventional theological ideas about 'souls', you should definitely check it out. It's elegant and non-confrontational, and the professors are extremely nice. If you're already out of that epistemic hole, I'm not sure you'll find it sufficiently engaging.
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What an amazing course! Like other courses on hot topics (the 'Justice' one on EdX being a prime example), this course tackles the hard topic of human morality with good taste, balance and elegance. Other terrible courses (Like the 'Critical Thinking in Global Challenges' one) could learn a lot from this course about how to approach issues with a deep sense of respect for disagreement and opposing positions. The lecturer is an extraordinary communicator that totally got what a MOOC should be. He put together a very thorough syllabus (for an introductory course) that will provide beginners with an extensive overlook on the topic, and simultaneously give the more advanced learner a useful systematization of research done in this area. There is no way anyone can get out of this course feeling like they have lost their time. I absolutely recommend it to everyone - after all, who would not be interested in a competent course on such an important and interesting topic as morality? You should know that the evaluation consists of quizzes, which are very easy if you pay attention to the videos. All the answers are there. They require you to think - but that is a good thing. You should also be aware that the approach followed is that of psychology,not philosophy (although there is also some dabbling in philosophical theories - something for everyone!). Overall, the only reason why I don't give it 5 stars is because the course is much too short. 6 weeks flew by without even noticing. A couple of extra weeks would allow the course to branch into other dimensions that would make it even more awesome. Also, a peer-assessed essay would have been a nice touch given the nature of the course. In any case, a solid course that everyone should check out.
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Very interesting little course. It aggregates knowledge from many different fields - maths, statistics, physics, computer science, philosophy, etc. - under the common umbrella of randomness. This is a great idea - but on the flip side the subject is too broad to go into any meaningful detail in just eight weeks. Don't expect to delve too much into particular topics. The course is mostly for people who want to have an integrated, broad-stroke view of the concept of 'randomness'. But it is fun, nicely put together, original and very engaging. Lectures are short and there are no assignments apart from a midterm and a final exam. These are relatively easy if you paid attention to the videos. I did not like the evaluation system, since you do not get instant feedback - you only get the scores and right answers after the hard deadline. All in all, a nice experience if you like evaluating and reflecting over pure ideas, and see to what extent they are applied in many different domains. If future options add a couple more weeks to go into more detail, it would be fantastic.
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I would advise anyone to stay away from this course. If you want to learn the principals of critical thinking, take the "Think Again" course - that one is a great, thorough learning experience. This course is unbelievably short (10-20 minutes of video per week), with ridiculously simple exercises in the beginning and incredibly... uncritical exercises in the end. You can mount a case against every single answer required in most quizzes. One of the things that the "Think Again" course teaches you is that when you evaluate arguments you should put them in the most flattering form possible. If you want to criticise a position, criticize the strongest possible formulation of that position. In this course we are basically taught (by example) to do the opposite - ridicule opposite positions and summarily dismiss them. You should also be able to identify the problems with your own positions so that you hold them out of reason and not prejudice. Again, this course teaches the opposite, by only providing texts for students to criticize that defend the position the lecturers disagree with (with some honorable exceptions). Particularly terrible in this sense were some one-sided applications to "global challenges". The one on climate change can only be considered acceptable by uncritical individuals who want to hear their preconceptions validated at any cost - which may be fine, but not in a classroom. The lecturer uses terms like "deniers", "stupid" and "dishonest" to qualify either individuals or positions held by individuals who disagree with anthropogenic climate change theories. This sort of application is in fact in contradiction with the very same principles of critical thought supposedly addressed in this course. It is a true mess. Maybe the course will change during future offerings, and if so you may want to check it out. If it does not, forget about it. It's a shame and it makes the great University of Edinburgh look bad - other courses from this institution are pretty good.
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Nicely crafted course with a great lecturer - funny, engaging, accurate and knowledgeable. It is a light, introductory course, but you will hear arguments not typically comprised in other introductory courses. It certainly is not superficial. Plus, it is a mix of lectures recorded purely for the online format and others recorded live at an MIT class - which adds a whole new level of complexity and originality to the material. Overall I enjoyed the course. My experience was reduced by the limitations of the EdX platform - which is horrible and light-years away from the slick working environment of Coursera. But that is not 24.00x's fault. The only problem I can directly ascribe to the course is the lack of clarity regarding grading. You must get 2/3 of all quiz questions right, but documentation also talks about it being mandatory that you participate in the discussion forum. I personally disagree with this mandate, because discussion forums are, in my opinion, overrated - full of sterile talk and egos, but not very informative and far from essential for learning. Further, the quiz questions are either trick questions or ridiculously simple. I would prefer a more significant challenge that befits the quality of the course and its depth. In any case, if you're looking for a not-so-trivial introduction to Philosophy, this is the course for you!
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The University of Edinburgh is at the forefront of MOOC offerings, with some amazing courses currently at Coursera. I cannot say that this one is bad - it's actually a wonderful introduction to Philosophy, so it is exactly what it advertises. The problem is that if you already have a bit of background, you will not learn all that much - with one notable exception, since the final week is about time travel, which is a fascinating topic (with an amazing professor), and you don't normally hear about it during an introductory course in Philosophy. The lectures are very interesting, each by a different lecturer, and all lecturers are great (although a little short). Unfortunately, this fact also fragments the course into bits and pieces, so there should be an introductory and concluding lecture putting all weeks together in a larger frame. In short, if you want to take your first collage- level course on Philosophy, you should definitely take this one. It will give you an overview of most topics in the field. If you have taken other Philosophy courses, you probably won't need this one.
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Absolutely stunning course about one of the most enigmatic and interesting philosopher of the Modern period (and also one of the most tragically ignored in Philosophy programs). Kierkegaard's ideas, as this course teaches us, are incredibly relevant today as we find ourselves in a period of crisis. His thought can provide interesting insights for our 21st century lives. Dr. Jon Stewart proves that all people named Jon Stewart are cool (this is for all you "Daily Show" fans out there). He is an amazing lecturer who is capable of digesting complex ideas, but maintaining nuance and their inherent complexity intact. He put together a very well thought-out course, all the way to the challenging quizzes (they are not straightforward at all, but still doable) and a long, 2000-word final peer-reviewed assignment that contributes greatly to our learning. The organization of the topics is wonderful, starting with Kierkegaard's early days and ending with his death and his importance in the present. But most fun of all were two particularities of this course that I never found anywhere else, but greatly contributes to the feeling you get from this course: 1\. Every week there are short interviews with Kierkegaard experts from the whole World. This provides a complete picture to students, since it's not just an opinion by the lecturer, but rather a real overview of the entire field of research. 2\. The videos were taped all around Kierkegaard's Copenhagen - the streets he walked, the places where he lived, the gardens where he thought, the University where he studied. The stunning scenarios on the background add so much to the course and help your understanding tremendously. Aesthetically, the lectures are the BEST I've ever found. It's unbelievable Prof. Stewart and staff went to so much trouble and were so competent and considerate as to offer this course for free to us. If there's any justice in the World, I just hope future versions give him a very large audience of engaged students, which is probably the best "thank you" we can say. This is a 5-star course, and it will be a pleasure to promote it to everyone.
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I hate the "entitled generation" who believes they must get anything they want just the way they want it, and have it free and immediately. It's a blessing to be able to attend these courses, no matter the problems, and we should be grateful to.professors and staff. But that does not exonerate course organizers from their responsibility of offering something decent - at least cover the basics like make the audio audible. This is the worst course I've taken so far in terms of organization and must be completely re-done if it is ever offered again. The whole experience was a mess. There were sound issues (which were "resolved" and actually sound quality just got worse), the subtitles didn't work either (they were our last resort, and even those were not synchronized), the quizzes were terrible with a terrible grading system (it shows an X when you haven't selected an option that shouldn't be selected, meaning you got it right), there was an amazing lack of communication, especially after a while, and so on and so on. This is all basic stuff. The sound issue is particularly serious because it was IMPOSSIBLE to understand the lectures. Everyone complained after week 1 - I want to believe they shot everything before they noticed the sound issue, and then just didn't want to go back and shoot it again. This seems highly unethical, to be honest. Why didn't they just tape it again? The segments weren't that long, and if they just re-read the transcript from the previous takes it would be literally less than one hour of work per week! The only conclusion is that the staff didn't care. No wonder they kicked it off in week 1 by downgrading their own course - saying it will never compare to on-campus education. If you already start from that premise, the rest of the disaster is no surprise. It was a shame - very interesting topic by a professor who I'm sure is very knowledgeable, and has a very good career in the area. Too bad most of the time I was unable to hear a single word he said. It's also a shame that after a while there were no meaningful staff replies to any of our complaints. It just looked like everyone gave up on this course while it was happening. Now you tell me - without wanting to sound entitled, is this even ethical? Sometimes course staff seem to forget that we are also using our time to attend and appreciate their work, and learn from it. If a lecturer ignores us in mid-session, that is just disrespectful. I stuck with the course until the last week because I've been waiting for things to get better. Now I feel insulted, I feel like an idiot for doing so. I feel like I've been wasting my time. Don't make the same mistake I did.
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This course rubbed me the wrong way, and I quit after 3 weeks. What I'm about to say is a subjective, personal opinion. I do not mean to insult the work that the course staff had to put together this course. The lecturer is very passionate and a great teacher. However, I cannot accept the ideology underlying the presentation of the materials. Behavioral Economics, in my modest opinion (and that of most experts I've read), deals with failures of the principle of Economic rationality. It probes human behavior to try to amend Economic Theory with more realistic models. This idea is sometimes mentioned in the course, and the lectures do seem to go in that way to a certain extent (which is why I stayed for 3 weeks instead of quitting after the first). The position is, however, utterly rejected by the lecturer, who claims to prefer to focus on... how Behavioral Economics can help us change other people's behavior! He doesn't just go out and say "we want to change the way you act" (for your own good, of course!) - the academics who believe in this sort of inadmissible intromissions in people's lives have a technical term: to "nudge" behavior. The professor is careful to state that his objective is only to "nudge" behavior if people want to be "nudged". It is, however, amazing how people cannot "go nudge themselves" and we need a whole discipline to "nudge us over". Pretty soon the "discussion" classes (where the professor invites several experts to give their opinions) became full of examples where we need to "nudge" people on the path of enlightenment: exercise more, don't smoke, etc. And so I got out of there before they nudged me. Of course, this is behavioral psychology or social psychology, not Economics. And what a very dangerous, twisted form of psychology it is. Wanting people to do what we think is right for them is a disastrous policy with lots of historical evidence against it. When we believe we are doing it only when people actually want us to (of course, who would smoke because they want to smoke - surely people only smoke because they cannot help it!), and when we believe science justifies us in doing so - this ideology becomes extremely dangerous. I will continue to search for "real" courses on Behavioral Economics - the type that simply wants to study human behavior and its economic consequences, to create better economic models and improve our knowledge of human tendencies. But I will not ever come back to a course that seems to want to nudge everyone into social order. If you're like me, stay the nudge away from this course.
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I didn't have time to watch all the lectures or do the final exam (there are no quizzes), but as much as I could tell this is a great course. There aren't that many courses on geology - I don't know why, it's as interesting as anything else. If you like the topic, I'm sure you will find here an engaging lecturer and top quality classes.
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One of the people who commented here said: "During the lectures, I had strong feeling that professor Plous wants to make me non-smoking vegan budhistic pacifist, and to change my sexual orientation into a lesbian transsexual." Precisely why I dropped out. One of the assignments was to be a good Samaritan for a day, and if you were the best choir boy you would get to meet the Dalai Lama. Oh goody! What does that have to do with Social Psychology? Nothing. But it befits the instructor's philosophy. This is not science. It's pure ideology transvestite. I didn't watch many lectures as my patience threshold for demagogy is very low, but it's safe to recommend that you stay away from it - unless you like being mind-numbed by this pervasive post-modern mentality that distorts what should be a neutral enterprise, turning it into a justification for life choices.
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Wonderful small course on Greek History. It covers the period from Homer to Alexander - so it is by no means comprehensive. Most philosophical schools are only briefly mentioned, and there's practically no discussion of Plato and Aristotle - as many of you could expect. But seven weeks aren't enough to accommodate everything. Professor Andy is a delightful storyteller and carries so much knowledge and meaning in his stories, and as such classes are very engaging. I particularly liked the references to alternative theories and the non-biased description of events. It is a very light course, regarding assignments, but totally worth it. You'll learn a great deal. Recommended!
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Not everyone will agree, but I loved this course. If you take it will understand just how math and philosophy share a common reasoning. You will see just how absurd it is to distinguish between social and natural sciences, because science is all the same: it means knowledge. This course will give you the tools for better reasoning. You should know that it's difficult to stomach it - the lectures are challenging and tough to follow. The evaluation, on the other hand, is very simple; there are no weekly quizzes but you do take an easy final exam. If you like philosophy or math, or if you simply want to understand how logic is so important as the ground level for thought in any discipline, this is the course for you.
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Good introduction to a fascinating subject. The course is very well built because it does not present you with "out-of-the-oven", complete and validated knowledge. It tells you the story of how research has progressed in the field. It's structure is "this study made this breakthrough discovery; then that study added another discovery, etc". To me, this seemed highly engaging. There isn't a dull moment all the way. I do think that you need some background in biology and research to grasp all the concepts. I struggled with many topics in the course, although the professor makes an effort to explain slowly and build from simple to complex. I would recommend that future offerings add 1-2 weeks of very basic biological concepts before the course goes full speed into the apoptotic pathways.
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This is the second part of a two-part course, so I'll just write in here what I said about the first part. Fantastic course overviewing the history of contemporary music. Listening to professor John Covach tell his stories so passionately is an incredible experience. I highly recommend it if you're a fan of rock/pop music. You will learn a bit more about your favorite bands, but more importantly you will get a holistic summary of how music evolved in the US and how it translates very closely our modern history. The course itself is relatively light and the assessments are easy. But that doesn't take anything away from it. I'm convinced part of the reason I found the quizzes so easy to answer was because the professor is so good.
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This is a fantastic introductory course on the amazing world of Game Theory and strategies in competitive settings. It is fantastic because it "looks & feels" great - the material is masterly prepared, it's fresh and fun, the lecturer is an amazing communicator, the videos never have a dull moment, the contents are solid economic science, and you get out of it feeling like you now know a lot about company interactions. Unfortunately, it's also introductory because if you're like me and you've had advanced training in Game Theory or related, this course will be too basic. I did have fun in the course - but I did not really learn anything radically new. Not surprisingly, the quizzes are indeed also a piece of cake. In sum, take the course if you never had previous exposure to the subject - I guarantee you'll learn. If you do know about this stuff, well... it can still be fun! I had a great time remembering old concepts, and so can you.
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This was the first time I totally dropped out of a course. The subject is very interesting and the professor very knowledgeable, but I feel it requires previous background in the subject to be able to keep up the pace. Now, the quizzes aren't all that hard - so if you're objective is to grab the certificate and run, go for it. But if you really want to follow the material and substantively learn something, I think it's too hard unless you have any experience in the matter. I did not want to carry on in the course just for the certificate, so I left. That being said, I'm sure others would disagree with me and swear they've been able to follow. So if this course entices your curiosity you should check it out for yourself. And plus I tried the first offering of the course, so maybe future sessions will be different and include more preliminary information that gives a more thorough picture of the essential basis concepts needed.
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This is a great introductory course on computational methods for models of evolution, mixing great insights in the fields of Biology and Statistics. It's "computational", but there's no programming. The professor really had a lot of work to prepare the exercises so that you don't really need to write code yourself, but still learn how to use available packages to solve real research questions. So don't be afraid to take the course even if you don't know how to code! The exercises are assisted and you won't have much problem solving them, as long as you get the concepts. I highly recommend future sessions of this course to everyone, regardless of background. Some courses teach you about the concept of evolution, but this one actually gives you hands-on experience with true methods for research in the topic.
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Fantastic course overviewing the history of contemporary music. Listening to professor John Covach tell his stories so passionately is an incredible experience. I highly recommend it if you're a fan of rock/pop music. You will learn a bit more about your favorite bands, but more importantly you will get a holistic summary of how music evolved in the US and how it translates very closely our modern history. The course itself is relatively light and the assessments are easy. But that doesn't take anything away from it. I'm convinced part of the reason I found the quizzes so easy to answer was because the professor is so good.
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Really interesting course and topic. It's light (few assessments and short) and small - I would have been able to finish it just using my knowledge on the topic (and I'm not even close to an anthropologist!). I recommend it as an introduction.
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Nice course if you don't know much about research in psychology, or if you want to break the spell on some of the myths that pop culture and the media raised in our heads. But it's a very light course, you won't be going in too deep into any particular subject. After I finished I got the same impression as when I finish a 10-minute workout session - good, but tomorrow I won't feel any pain in my muscles. There's quizzes, peer assessments and an exam - so plenty of work. But the videos are short and you only get about 30 minutes of material to watch every week. Plus, you get the OLI online textbook, which is a really good backup (and free!).
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This is just a mini-course (an hour and a half of video), but it's surprisingly very informative. Since it refers to a very timely event, the Eurozone crisis, I would definitely recommend it to everyone - considering the amount of nonsense we hear in the media and from opinion-makers every day. I wish it was longer and more in-depth, but anyway it's relevant and very well lectured.
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It's an interesting introduction to the subject of ADHD. If you're a beginner, you will learn all that you may want to find out about this condition. If you have someone near you with ADHD, it is particularly worthwhile. My only beef with this course is that it's very superficial. Sure, that may be the objective - but for someone like me who was looking to go in detail into the neuroanatomy of ADHD, it wasn't enough. A symptom of that is the fact that lectures are too short (30-minute lectures) and the quizzes too easy. So, overall, great as an introduction, not so much if you're further ahead in your studies.
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It's an interesting introduction to Neuroscience. The professor is really passionate about the subject and that's contagious. You should take this course as a motivation to learn more and not expecting to find an in-depth analysis of any particular aspect of the topic. The assignments are easy and you get 1000 attempts (although they only count 20%), but you only get 3 shots at the exam, without knowing which answers are wrong after each try. So, good evaluation system that doesn't just give away the certificate.
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An amazing course by an amazing professor with amazing students on-camera. They managed to discuss all the issues you dream of hearing about in a classroom about moral justice: abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. - and all while being polite, not recurring to insult, and being spot-on with their arguments. The lecturer manages to remain neutral enough, and I bet he won't hurt your feelings if you happen to disagree with what's being said. If anything, he will make you a better thinker. And, as he says, he will "unsettle you". While the class isn't hard, it is challenging to keep up with all the nuances and all the small variations and arguments. However, the "self-test" exercises are really helpful. They also allowed students to wait for all the material and do the whole one-semester course in bulk, which was really cool. I got so hooked I finished all the material in 2 weeks! Highly recommended! A minor detail: The video footage is "old" (there's mention of George W. being President), but it's still relevant and up to date.
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If you're into Philosophy, this is a great course. Don't expect big flashy PPT presentations - Professor Mitch just talks against several backgrounds for an hour and a half each week. But that's also part of the enchantment. It doesn't feel like a MOOC. He seems to take you to his house or to his classroom and engulf you in a friendly conversation about self-knowledge. It's a pretty special course in that way. You don't need any specific background, but even if you have it you won't feel disappointed. You are guaranteed to learn something, since the course topics range from Socrates to Buddhism (!). I can't see a single drawback in this course. I personally hate the discussion forum in any philosophy course because a violently loud minority of students uses them to spew out unsubstantiated and poorly argued politics and ideology, instead of using them for a true discussion of the class topics. However, in this course the professor and the TAs did a good job managing the forum.
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A really good course. No programming! There is a lot of math but they introduced the concept of glue lectures to highlight the aspects from the class that will help you complete the quizzes - so it's not that hard to do it. Just make sure you know your calculus and you'll be fine. The instructor totally gets online learning and is one of the best around. He's engaging and informative. If you have an interest in this topic, or if you took the Machine Learning course and want to learn a radically different approach with Control Theory, this is the course for you.
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I expected this course to be more flexible and more interactive. We did have a writing assignment to express our own ideas - but that was it. Some of the weekly lectures were technically useful, like how to make a financial plan or a business proposal, but those are only important after you have... "developed innovative ideas for new companies". The fact of the matter is that you cannot teach innovation. You can only promote it and create a space for people to work on their own ideas. I sure hope in future offerings the course is revamped to create such a space.
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What a delightful little course! It's very short and it's easy, but the subject is fascinating and the instructor is just an amazing communicator. If you have an interest in this topic, I definitely recommend it!
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I only completed part A of the course - so please keep that in mind. Dr. Coke Barr is a very nice man and a good professor, and he'll take you on an intuitive journey through the amazing world of bioelectricity. You can take only part A - where you'll be evaluated for your understanding of the concepts - or you can take also part B - which involves math and calculations. After week 4, the exercises in part B got hard and demanded more time to complete than I could spare. Granted, the professor helps you every week by publishing hints on how to solve them, but those are sometimes ineffective because you can get the units wrong and then you spend days going in circles just because you forgot a zero. So I quit that part, but I still thought it was a great course, totally worth taking.
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A delightful course that will get you learning Python in no time - and incredibly fun too! Instead of developing complex statistical algorithms, the professors make you write (and evaluate) games! They went to the trouble of creating CodeSkulptor, which is pretty much just a web page, so there's no need to install Python. The course is incredibly engaging - but unfortunately no certificate was awarded.
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One of my favorite MOOCs ever. I have a great interest and affinity to Neuroscience - so I'm openly biased. But Professor Lester put together a very engaging course on drugs of addiction and drugs for treatment. It was a nice mix of Biochemistry, Bioelectricity, Pharmacology and even some Psychology. Since the course was short (5 weeks), there was a lot of material to cover which made it a bit hard to follow. Some background on (at least) Biochemistry is definitely required to keep up with the pace.
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Writing scientific papers is a skill that every scientist must learn. It doesn't come naturally, as most people believe - the language and structure of papers are very peculiar, and there are certain expectations that reviewers and editors have that we'll sooner or later clash with. This course is a magnificent piece of work. It explains very clearly all the basics (and even some advanced tricks) needed to write quality papers. More than that, it gives the essentials for quality writing in English. It includes lots of training (writing and reviewing other people's writing), so it's very engaging. The best thing I can say about it is that after taking it I looked back at some papers I had written as a young PhD that were rejected by several journals - and now I know exactly why. They look like school reports and not like scientific papers.
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Since I've had advanced classes in statistics and econometrics, I took this course mainly for the "Bio-" than for the "-statistics" part. I wanted to know more about the application of statistics to life sciences. Due to this particular interest, I was a bit disappointed. The course is relatively short but full of great entry-level information. If you never took a statistics course or if it's been a while and you want to remember the fundamentals, then you should take this course. But if, like me, you are looking for advanced statistical methods and their application in fields such as medicine or biology, you will not find that here.
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This is good as an intuitive, introductory course (hence the name), but if you're someone like me who has a background in Economics and you just want to know more about Finance, you'll be kind of disappointed. The Professor is highly enthusiastic and friendly - you really feel engaged by his style. However, this year's class was very light and informal - while the tests and exams were much more profound in terms of playing with concepts and math. The videos are very long because there's some circling around the topic and particularities of each topic are never objectively stated. In sum, if you like qualitative classes on the topic that kind of give you a sense of the issues, and you like to learn through analogy and narrative, this course is for you. If, like me, you think learning using narratives is tremendously dangerous, and you find no replacement for formalism, math, and rigorous concepts (as much as Finance allows), look for other options.
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This was a very fun course to attend. It's relatively "light" but still tremendously informative and very practical. It deals mostly with the insertion of game elements into business communication strategies to engage consumers. This is an emerging trend, and Professor Werbach gave us a very introduction to the subject, considering how difficult it is to depict the state of the art of a very novel field.
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This was the best MOOC I took to date. Professor Ng has amazing teaching skills, particularly because he teaches such a hard class. The length of the lessons is just right, and the material he prepares for programming assignments is great because if guides you through the exercise. Overall, a tremendous experience whether you have previous programming experience or not.