Coursera Course, Week 1

I signed up for a course on Coursera almost a year ago, and it finally got underway. Of course, it started the same week I was on vacation, so I’m a week behind, but I just started Week 1. It’s interesting so far–the professors are using a mixture of video and e-textbooks. I hope I can stick with it over the next six weeks or so!

I’m going to try to blog about the course, too, to get me writing again and to help me decide how I feel about these courses. Thus far, my approach to the course has been to read the textbook and take notes, and then watch the lectures. I’ll try to track how (or whether) my approach evolves over the next few weeks.

Impressions after completing Week 1:

– The forum appears to be mostly useless. It’s a huge class, with some threads having more than 500 posts, and a lot of the thread topics are questions that are easily answered if you read the material. In other words, it’s about as useful as the Blackboard forums I had in college.

– The textbook chapters run a little long, but not too long. It contains legal terms and jargon without explaining all of them—I could see where that could get confusing for non-lawyers or people not acquainted with these terms. That makes me a little nervous about starting the Computer Science class I signed up for…

– The course material seems daunting (a textbook chapter, four lecture videos, a discussion forum, a case study, AND a quiz?,) but it really isn’t that bad. The lectures are all less than 5 minutes each. The first quiz was short, and you could take it up to 3 times. It took me under an hour to do it all, and the deadline for the quiz was really generous–about 2 weeks.

– The course is using Bitstrips for images. No. No no no no no.

I’m going to start Week 2 tomorrow so I can get caught up with the rest of the class. I like it so far, and I think the course does a good job of providing information and giving you chances to apply what you learned in different problems and case studies. It’s somewhat similar to how my IP professor in law school ran lectures. I like it.

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