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Coursera Week #2 Recap

I just finished week 2 of my Coursera course, and I am exhausted. The assignment was around 70 pages of reading–two chapters from the book–plus the lecture and 3-4 articles that were just “recommended reading.” I’ve been taking notes of the reading and pretty much ignoring everything else, honestly. This week’s material covers IP, a subject I covered fairly extensively in law school, so maybe I’ll try relying more on the lectures.

So, it turns out that the 14-day deadline for the quiz was just for the first quiz; all the subsequent quizzes have a 1-week deadline. I just made the deadline for Week 2 because it took so long to get through all the reading. (Seriously, most of my law school assignments weren’t this long and involved!)

The content is still fine—the book is informative and thorough, and the few lectures I’ve watched were clear and easy to follow. I’m not crazy about the emphasis on forum participation, though. I reviewed the class policies last weekend, and it turns out that participation in the forum is a significant portion of the grading. Forum participation is based on number of posts, upvotes, starting threads, and some other criteria, but basically, I have to make 20 posts in order to get full credit. Meh. The class is so big that forum participation is difficult. I’m looking for smaller threads to participate in; I should be able to meet the requirements, but even if I don’t, it’s not like I’m taking the class for credit.

I’m not following along with the case study as well as I should—it’s been hard enough to get through the reading. My goals for next week are to work more on the case study and watch all the lectures.  Hopefully, doing these things will help me strike the balance between the readings and the social aspects of the class.

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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