Friday, November 2, 2012

Avoiding Brain Atrophy

Every once in a while, I decide I don't use my brain enough and it is in danger of atrophy. ( I wouldn't want to start rooting for the Chefs - sorry randy or gasp Jr -)   I had heard about Coursera on TED.  Coursera gives free online classes in a huge range of subjects by faculty of top universities. ( I believe it was co-founded by Stanford and Princeton - but didn't check so don't quote me on that) I kept meaning to check it out (much like I kept meaning to blog - and you see how that went for 3 months).   Then one of my friends (Fe's mom) said she was taking Intro to Logic.  I decided to take it with her - the only requirements were Algebra and Set Theory.  It was taught by a Stanford professor.

 I ended up dropping the class for a few reasons. 
1.  It was taking WAY WAY more than the 2-3 hours a week that it estimated.
2.  While I did get higher than an 80 on the homework (required to get a certificate of completion) it was by the skin of my teeth, 
3.  Here is my biggest complaint about the class:  I really feel that after the hard deadline for turning in the homework (there is the due date and if you are late you lose points for every day you are late - the hard deadline is when you get a 0 anyway) the professor should have posted the correct answers and some sort of explanation as to how one would arrive at that answer.  So if you say got 9 points out of 20 for a question (yup 9) there is nothing other than to ask in the discussion forums how to get the right answer.  Some students got the right answer but in different ways and you don't know which is the correct way.  In a live class you can ask the professor or see him after class.  And since clearly the next week is only going to build on something that you only grasp 45% of - you are going downhill quickly.
4.  Set theory wasn't discussed in the classes, but showed up in the homework and there was never an explanation of how set theory ties into Logic equations ( he did explain how Algebra rules translated to Logic) and you are left out there trying to figure it out on your own.

I haven't given up on Coursera.  I may even try another math class at some point in the future.  I am currently signed up for one class that will start at the end of November and one that will start in April.  They are both nutrition based classes, which given my newfound weird diabetes have a real relevance in my life.  I really encourage other people to check out their course offerings.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I've gotten rid of the word verification for posting comments. To tell the truth, I have trouble reading the new stuff they are using. Feel free to disagree, but spammy or obnoxious comments will not go up.