Model Thinking

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9/10 stars
based on  36 reviews
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FREE

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  • TBA

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Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
4723 reviews

Course Description

We live in a complex world with diverse people, firms, and governments whose behaviors aggregate to produce novel, unexpected phenomena. We see political uprisings, market crashes, and a never ending array of social trends. How do we make sense of it? Models. Evidence shows that people who think with models consistently outperform those who don't. And, moreover people who think with lots of models outperform people who use only one. Why do models make us better thinkers? Models help us to better organize information - to make sense of that fire hose or hairball of data (choose your metaphor) available on the Internet. Models improve our abilities to make accurate forecasts. They help us make better decisions and adopt more effective strategies. They even can improve our ability to design institutions and procedures. In this class, I present a starter kit of models: I start with models of tipping points. I move on to cover models expl... We live in a complex world with diverse people, firms, and governments whose behaviors aggregate to produce novel, unexpected phenomena. We see political uprisings, market crashes, and a never ending array of social trends. How do we make sense of it? Models. Evidence shows that people who think with models consistently outperform those who don't. And, moreover people who think with lots of models outperform people who use only one. Why do models make us better thinkers? Models help us to better organize information - to make sense of that fire hose or hairball of data (choose your metaphor) available on the Internet. Models improve our abilities to make accurate forecasts. They help us make better decisions and adopt more effective strategies. They even can improve our ability to design institutions and procedures. In this class, I present a starter kit of models: I start with models of tipping points. I move on to cover models explain the wisdom of crowds, models that show why some countries are rich and some are poor, and models that help unpack the strategic decisions of firm and politicians. The models covered in this class provide a foundation for future social science classes, whether they be in economics, political science, business, or sociology. Mastering this material will give you a huge leg up in advanced courses. They also help you in life. Here's how the course will work. For each model, I present a short, easily digestible overview lecture. Then, I'll dig deeper. I'll go into the technical details of the model. Those technical lectures won't require calculus but be prepared for some algebra. For all the lectures, I'll offer some questions and we'll have quizzes and even a final exam. If you decide to do the deep dive, and take all the quizzes and the exam, you'll receive a certificate of completion. If you just decide to follow along for the introductory lectures to gain some exposure that's fine too. It's all free. And it's all here to help make you a better thinker!

Subtitles for all video lectures available in: English, Chinese (provided by Yeeyan), Ukrainian (Pinchuk Foundation), and Turkish (provided by Turkcell Akademi).

This course is also available in Chinese. Click here to visit the translated version of Model Thinking.
Reviews 9/10 stars
36 Reviews for Model Thinking

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 completed
4 years, 5 months ago
This course is like a box of chocolates: every week you get to know a few nice models. After a few weeks I started to see models everywhere and I like it! The course is not hard - sometimes even slow on the math - but with not too much of an effort I got to know twenty-something models and started to understand how to build my own. After the course I really missed my weekly update of mr Page.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 9 months ago
The video lectures are clear, no-nonsense presentations briefly covering the theory, logic and intended context of use of a couple dozen models. This is enough to provide a general understanding of the models and their uses. For any of the models where I wanted a deeper explanation, further treatments of most of the models are on the Internet. The quizzes and exams are used to extend the learning experience; they actually do require an understanding of the subject matter and bit of thought. On opportunities for improvement, complete, worked examples and practice problem sets would significantly boost the learning opportunities.
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Joan Ginard profile image
Joan Ginard profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
5 years, 6 months ago
As a physicist I know how you can use models, mathematical models, and I knew you can apply some of those model to social sciences. I enrolled the course to know how they do it. Teachers is great, clear explanations (maybe too slow sometimes), using short videos. And topics covered are interesting. BUT, As there're so many topics, two models a week, you can not go in depth in each model. Moreover, there are so many models that at the end of the course you remember nothing from first models. What I mean is maybe professor Page should split course in two parts and maybe do it a little bit more challenging. Because that's the other part, maybe there should be some assignment so we can work by ourselves some implications of the models.
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Bart olomeus profile image
Bart olomeus profile image
7/10 starsCompleted
  • 15 reviews
  • 13 completed
5 years, 6 months ago
I find the topic interesting. And the way the course touches each subject lightly is fine for me. The wide variety of models described, the examples given and the way the theory is explained is well executed. All in all the subject matter is quite easy. What I don't like is that sometimes the speed is brought to a halt because long lists of examples or numbers are summed up from the sheets that do not really help understanding the subject. This probably is just a personal annoyance. The quizzes seem to test if I can remember what the teacher said, instead of making me think and apply the knowledge I just acquired.
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Student

4/10 starsDropped
5 years, 8 months ago
Superficial - it skims over various different models but never gets into any real detail of the maths or how to program them, and makes lots of grandiose claims about how models explain 'everything' while only presenting trivial examples.
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A. L. profile image
A. L. profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
5 years, 9 months ago
This course offers a survey of many different models, mainly from the social sciences. It introduces several interesting (at least for the layman) and sometimes deep concepts and shows with examples how models are constructed and compared to actual data and situations. But overall it is a quick and cursory survey, totally lacking depth and precision. Prof. Page's speaking style is easy and very informal (maybe too informal), and it may pose difficulties for students whose mothertongue is not English. The lectures have captions, but they are peppered with errors and holes. Some exercises are embedded in the video lectures, but they are mainly a distraction. I took this course in autumn 2013, and prof. Page never showed up; the course was managed by a single heroic TA. Overall it required me a considerable amount of time, and it was not as good as I expected.
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Maciej Pilichowski profile image
Maciej Pilichowski profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 9 reviews
  • 9 completed
6 years ago
The lectures are excellent and interesting, I had a lot of fun watching them. The very first lecture hooked to me to entire course and made me learn NetLogo. The one, big, downside is -- it is all pure theory, the course is too easy, no challenges (real ones), no programming assignments. So it is less like regular course, it is more like a teaser.
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Arnold Lau profile image
Arnold Lau profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 8 reviews
  • 8 completed
6 years, 2 months ago
This course is an excellent overview of various models used in the field of the social sciences. There's a lot to like about the scope and breadth of the topics. However, the most recent run of the course was quite poor. Staff was totally absent from the course - it was a fully automated process, which I presume means that that's how all future runs of the course will be. Unfortunately, there were still numerous errors in the course material, ranging from simple arithmetic errors to deeper errors in the way something was explained, etc. At one point during the last week he repeatedly refers to an earlier model by a DIFFERENT name than the name he used weeks ago, causing no end of confusion. Unless everybody involved in setting up the course was just taking a break for the summer, I think it's reasonable to assume that those errors are going to stay there in the next run and never be fixed - after all, the most recent run was already ... This course is an excellent overview of various models used in the field of the social sciences. There's a lot to like about the scope and breadth of the topics. However, the most recent run of the course was quite poor. Staff was totally absent from the course - it was a fully automated process, which I presume means that that's how all future runs of the course will be. Unfortunately, there were still numerous errors in the course material, ranging from simple arithmetic errors to deeper errors in the way something was explained, etc. At one point during the last week he repeatedly refers to an earlier model by a DIFFERENT name than the name he used weeks ago, causing no end of confusion. Unless everybody involved in setting up the course was just taking a break for the summer, I think it's reasonable to assume that those errors are going to stay there in the next run and never be fixed - after all, the most recent run was already the 4th time for the course to be held, and the fact that basic errors haven't been fixed is telling. To add to that, many of the videos border on tedious. Professor Page is fond of going into every single mathematical step - even if it's just division - and doing it over, and over again, which is where the fast-forward button comes in handy. He is an endearing lecturer, however.
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Michael (Mickey) Hegarty profile image
Michael (Mickey) Hegarty profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 completed
6 years, 1 month ago
Completed the initial offering of this course in Spring 2012 and could not have been more satisfied. Professor Page is gifted with a passion for the subject, which he imparts in both his approach and presentation of the material. Take the course and you will not come away empty-headed!
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David Fountain profile image
David Fountain profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
6 years, 1 month ago
Coming at the course with a background in engineering and mathematics but no game theory, I found the course an excellent overview of the concepts. Watching the lessons with additional reading was pleasurable and allowed to me to get what I wanted from the course. Scott's presentation style was engaging and straightforward. I am looking forward to the Scott doing a deeper dive into aspects of this area. I also bought his book to help compensate the instructions for their work.
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Alex Ott profile image
Alex Ott profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 5 completed
6 years, 2 months ago
Very interesting course, with lot of materials. The only minus points are from quizzes - they are too easy, and with repetitions...
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Peter Vos profile image
Peter Vos profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
6 years, 2 months ago
I had quite substantial experience with this subject and I found the course repetitive, insufficiently rigorous and too easy. There was no advance guidance that this was really an entry level course. That said, it was nicely presented and had some fun parts. I stuck with it because there were areas where I had something to learn. Thank you Scott.
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Greg Hamel profile image
Greg Hamel profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 116 reviews
  • 107 completed
6 years, 2 months ago
Model thinking looks at the world under many different lenses which can lend insight into why the world and people work the way they do. This course can be likened to a college elective: it is fun, the workload isn't too high, the difficulty is relatively low and the material is interesting.
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Erdin Beshimov profile image
Erdin Beshimov profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
6 years, 2 months ago
What an insightful course. Perfect for people who love rigorous theory and it's applications to real and important problems.
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Mohammad Choudhury profile image
Mohammad Choudhury profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
6 years, 3 months ago
This is a very very interesting course. Its the first MOOC that I will hopefully complete.. It is the perfect example of the potential of MOOCs. Great job Scott E Page..
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Charlie Chung profile image
Charlie Chung profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
6 years, 3 months ago
Great course, multidisciplinary covering sociology, economics, psychology, etc. It's a little math heavy, but Dr. Page does go through the calculation steps very thoroughly, so that it is easy to follow along. The quizzes & exams require knowing & applying formulas, but this means that you see the mathematical aspects of the models very clearly.
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Usman Lakhani profile image
Usman Lakhani profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 10 reviews
  • 6 completed
6 years, 4 months ago
This is an excellent course. The material is extremely fascinating and I personally believe has allowed me to look at the things I thought I knew in a different light. There are quizzes and exams (mid and final) but the content is right from the lecture so there are no great surprises. The lecturer is very learned and he clearly cares about what he is teaching.
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Student

8/10 starsDropped
6 years, 4 months ago
The teaching style is good. The only problem is that everything is over- simplified. I'd rather facing more analytically challenging problems instead of who first proposed xxx model (a question in quiz). It probably quite fit to a senior high school student or freshmen in college.
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7/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 5 months ago
1\. Professor: Provides clear explanations of the key concepts, but his calligraphy could be improved. Sometimes his handwriting is difficult to read. Also, many graphs were somewhat sketchy. 2\. Contents: The presented models are well chosen and interesting. However, they tend to be "oversimplified". 3\. Grading: Most of the questions are too simple. In the version of the exam I took there was a question (multiple choice type) without a correct alternative. Some questions had ambiguous wording. 4\. Textbook: There are few recommended ones. However, they are not required, unless one wants to delve deeper on the subject
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Duncan Murray profile image
Duncan Murray profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 25 reviews
  • 24 completed
6 years, 5 months ago
A very interesting introduction to various statistical models - the lecturer explains things well and sounds like Alan Alda from MASH which is a cool bonus. I had a basic maths background, and some of the maths look hard but turned out to be fairly basic (well explained). The quizs offered good feedback, and there are no peer assignments or programming homework. The exam was practical in that it tested that you could do some of the calculations so it isn't just multiple choice theory, so you'll want to make sure you do follow the quizs.
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Anna Nachesa profile image
Anna Nachesa profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 13 reviews
  • 13 completed
6 years, 5 months ago
This course provides a good introduction to both the social networks and the game theory (it has a little bit of both). It's more qualitative than quantitative, in the sense that there aren't many technical challenges (or at least there weren't in the first version of the course, which I have completed), but the student receives a substantial overview of the field and learns some essential vocabulary and relevant concepts, which can serve as a starting point for exploring these topics further. Prerequisites: Good command of English and high-school math.
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L Figueroa profile image
L Figueroa profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 14 reviews
  • 13 completed
6 years, 5 months ago
Professor Page provides a broad course on the various types of mostly mathematical models (math used is somewhat restricted) which can be used to represent various aspects of reality. There is a fair amount of intuitive insights provided by Professor Page, which help in understanding. It was the first Coursera courses I finished and certainly one of the more memorable ones. I highly recommend it!
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Yunbin profile image
Yunbin profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
6 years, 5 months ago
A very interesting and easy course!!! It introduces models which help us understand world better and promote new way of thinking. Quiz and exams are relatively easy and you can get perfect score if you pay attention to key points. No background is required and all mathematical computations are explained clearly in lectures.
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cbrevard profile image
cbrevard profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 completed
6 years, 6 months ago
Stimulating lectures and good use of didactic tools. Excellent starting point for further exploration of the many subjects Prof. Page touches upon.
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Equanimous Creativity profile image
Equanimous Creativity profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 33 reviews
  • 32 completed
6 years, 6 months ago
I think this is the course I learned the most compare to the workload. It is simply pact with interesting models and insights. I always recommend this course as a first MOOC.
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Ruslan Bes profile image
Ruslan Bes profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 9 reviews
  • 8 completed
6 years, 11 months ago
Prerequisites: none. Videos: they contain a lot of interesting facts and are easy to understand. I personally liked Lecture 5.3 on Behavioral Models. Quizzes: could be heavily improved. They are far too easy, and with five attempts you can get a maximum score without even watching videos. This is -1. What I've currently learned from the course: \- Sometimes we don't choose but we rather have illusion of choice ("Status Quo Bias"). \- Recognize the situations when a small change can make huge leaps in result (Tipping points).
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TreyBien Duffy profile image
TreyBien Duffy profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
6 years, 11 months ago
Loved it enough that I stuck with it to the end. Math was a little above me but the flexibility on the evaluations encouraged me to continue. I might have dropped if I had only one shot at quizzes and wasn't t able to maintain 70's. Liked concepts: No Free Lumch, or that one solution doesn't match every challenge. Too often, at work, colleagues believe because one approach/model worked before it applies to the next, even every, challenge. Grn. Blotto enforced Sun Tsu's "you can't defend every front equally" principal. And, I will think twice before giving my next standing ovation. On Wisconsin! Sorry Blue.
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Bani profile image
Bani profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 3 completed
7 years ago
Interesting topics and well explained. The mathematics involved is very simple and doesn't have any prerequisites.
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Chris Simmons profile image
Chris Simmons profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 7 reviews
  • 7 completed
7 years ago
This was the first Coursera course that I took, and the first MOOC I took that wasn't computer science. What I really liked about this course was the diversity of the topics covered. Forest fires, herd immunity, the value of diversity, economic theory - this course touches on them all, but still manages to be cohesive and structured. Not very difficult, but very interesting - definitely worth the time.
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Jeremy Barth profile image
Jeremy Barth profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 3 completed
6 years, 11 months ago
Fascinating content. Fantastic professor. Just the right amount of detail in lectures. I wish I would have taken notes throughout to use as a reference now.
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