Friday, March 29, 2013

10 Tools Challenge - Coursera (2)

Back to Coursera.  This is a follow up to an earlier post.

I'm now finishing week 4 for both courses I signed up for.  A third course is starting next week and I'll be in trouble.  I'm managing the two courses by sticking to the strict minimum of work.  I'm watching the video lectures and taking notes.  I'm not doing any of the recommended readings.  This makes taking the quizzes challenging. Sometimes I get "lucky" with my guesses and the score has nothing to do with how much I understood or absorbed.  

As a student, how much am I really learning? 
  • Physics for dummies (aka "How Things Work") - 6 weeks
    Entertaining videolectures, formulas are barely touched on and there is no work involving calculations.  The quizzes are challenging because they definitely test the understanding of concepts.  Yet I managed a 10/10 on a quiz for which I would have given myself a 5/10 in terms of understanding.  If the course were offered over the summer, I would recommend it to my daughter.  She might need to take the real  version of this course in the fall.  This version would be very good prep.  I'm assuming the real course is asking for a little more from the students.
  • Know Thyself (Philosophy) - 10 weeks
    Here the subject lends itself to much more reflection and deep thinking than what I am engaging in, yet it's giving me a nice, shallow introduction to some philosophers I encountered years ago or have heard of but never read. This is also a longer course and for now, I haven't made a deep connection to the materials. I'm not inclined to read much more than a wikipedia article or two on related concepts.
Now to the "discussion forums":  I tried and failed to engage in any meaningful interaction.  The benefit/cost ratio is just not there.  Too much noise.

Assuming I complete the courses and pass the quizzes, do I deserve college credits?  I don't think so. At least not for these two courses. They're really good for what they do, but I'm barely scratching the surface because I can pass without reading or writing anything.  Extensive reading and writing was 90% of my college experience.

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