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Topic: Coursera, really cool free online courses< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 3:43 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Anyone enjoy doing free online courses from coursera? I'm doing an Astronomy course from Duke which is really fun and full of all kinds of things I never knew and this Econ class from Caltech that's about to start looks really interesting too from the first week of lectures.  I really can't wait for the Galaxies and Cosmology class from Caltech starting about a week from now. Pretty cool to study stuff I never had time for when I was in school.

http://www.coursera.org/course/introastro
http://www.coursera.org/course/econ1scientists
http://www.coursera.org/course/cosmo
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 8:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am thinking about taking a few classes this year in mental health, public health.

How do you find the work load? I have my masters degree but it has been 5 years since I've been in school. I did however love taking online classes. I also have a newborn and I'm starting a new job in 2 weeks. Would I be in over my head for a class that says 5-7 hours a week?

The one class I am interested starts Jan 28th and runs 6 weeks, called "The Social Context of Mental Health".


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 12:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'd say the 6-8 hours a week listed for the astronomy class is a bit low. It's more like a real college class requiring maybe 12 hours per week. I can't tell for the econ class I posted yet, since the course hasn't officially started and thus no homework assignments have been posted. I haven't looked at the other courses yet in progress other than watching a lecture or two to see if I found them interesting.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 12:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Interesting that two out of three courses listed in the opening post require a working knowledge of calculus.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 12:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(mbear @ Dec. 29 2012, 12:36 pm)
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I'd say the 6-8 hours a week listed for the astronomy class is a bit low. It's more like a real college class requiring maybe 12 hours per week.

I may hold off until spring then, when I am a bit more organized :)

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 1:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TravisNWood @ Dec. 29 2012, 12:47 pm)
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Interesting that two out of three courses listed in the opening post require a working knowledge of calculus.

The astronomy one does too if you want to understand where the second week of the course comes from.  :p

Moral of the story: calculus is friggin awesome (but maybe not as awesome as topology nor group theory).
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 2:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(mbear @ Dec. 29 2012, 1:43 am)
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Anyone enjoy doing free online courses from coursera? . . .

Well, to answer your question: No.

It's been a long time since I needed college credit for anything. And when I was in college, my instructors instilled in me the need for branching out from the academic setting and learning to study on my own.

For instance, would I rather read all Stephen Jay Gould's books or take an online course he taught at Harvard? Easy choice, were it available. I read the books. No credit, no need.

Others may differ.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 2:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TravisNWood @ Dec. 29 2012, 2:30 pm)
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(mbear @ Dec. 29 2012, 1:43 am)
QUOTE
Anyone enjoy doing free online courses from coursera? . . .

Well, to answer your question: No.

It's been a long time since I needed college credit for anything. And when I was in college, my instructors instilled in me the need for branching out from the academic setting and learning to study on my own.

For instance, would I rather read all Stephen Jay Gould's books or take an online course he taught at Harvard? Easy choice, were it available. I read the books. No credit, no need.

Others may differ.

I find just reading books to be too passive to get anything out of it. It's really easy to agree with what an expert writes as you're going along with it, but without being able to apply the ideas it's pretty easy to forget them or never really even know them. I think the pressure of deadlines and of having to do work on your own (or in your own group) applying concepts one might read or listen to adds a lot of value. Personally, I'd rather take Stephen Jay Gould's course and learn one of his books in-depth over reading a bunch of his work.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 9:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here is a link to a site called Open Culture - they have links to not only upcoming free OE classes, but almost 600 previous ones as well that you can "take". No credit or certificate, but there is some really great stuff. I am currently doing a photography course that is really good and a human behavioral biology course which is great.

http://www.openculture.com/
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 9:30 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(mbear @ Dec. 29 2012, 11:08 am)
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(TravisNWood @ Dec. 29 2012, 12:47 pm)
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Interesting that two out of three courses listed in the opening post require a working knowledge of calculus.

The astronomy one does too if you want to understand where the second week of the course comes from.  :p

Moral of the story: calculus is friggin awesome (but maybe not as awesome as topology nor group theory).

Here you go, from my link above...

QUOTE
Analytic Geometry and Calculus – YouTube – iTunes Video – Benjamin Johnson, UC Berkeley

Calculus – iTunes Audio – F. Michael Christ, UC Berkeley

Calculus 1 - Web - Matthew Leingang, NYU

Calculus Revisited: Single Variable Calculus (1970) – YouTube - iTunes Video – Web Site – Herb Gross, MIT

Multivariable Calculus - YouTube - iTunes – Web Site - Dennis Auroux, MIT

Single Variable Calculus - YouTube – iTunesU – Web Site – David Jerison, MIT

The Calculus Lifesaver – iTunes Video - Adrian Banner, Princeton
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 10:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No thanks.

I took calculus 42 years ago, University of Wyoming — Honors Classes, I might add.

Hate to say  it, but those courses don't even look mildly entertaining.

I'm sure Coursera has a lot to offer for those who need that sort of format. There are better ways to learn for other folks.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 1:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TravisNWood @ Dec. 29 2012, 9:47 am)
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Interesting that two out of three courses listed in the opening post require a working knowledge of calculus.

Aced Calculus in college.  :cool:

Don't remember anything whatsoever now.  :(


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 1:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Dec. 30 2012, 1:01 pm)
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Aced Calculus in college.  :cool:

Don't remember anything whatsoever now.  :(

Never took Calculus in high school or college so I don't remember anything about it either. Guess that makes us even. :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 1:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Dec. 30 2012, 1:01 pm)
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(TravisNWood @ Dec. 29 2012, 9:47 am)
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Interesting that two out of three courses listed in the opening post require a working knowledge of calculus.

Aced Calculus in college.  :cool:

Don't remember anything whatsoever now.  :(

I can understand forgetting stuff like your birthday, your anniversary, where your car keys are, etc, but how do you forget your integrals or when a series converges? Don't tell me you forgot Newton's Laws too or this thread is going to turn into a wall of flames. :angry:
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 1:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TravisNWood @ Dec. 30 2012, 10:23 am)
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Hate to say  it, but those courses don't even look mildly entertaining.

I'm sure Coursera has a lot to offer for those who need that sort of format. There are better ways to learn for other folks.

I get the RTFM sentiment, but for learning something a first time I don't always find that an efficient way. For example, I think this course (MIT though, not coursera) is far superior to any introductory mechanics book since you see experiments actually done.

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses....ll-1999

Even the great intro mechanics textbooks (like Kleppner & Kolenkow) can seem like just juggling equations at times.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 1:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(mbear @ Dec. 30 2012, 10:33 am)
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(Ben2World @ Dec. 30 2012, 1:01 pm)
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(TravisNWood @ Dec. 29 2012, 9:47 am)
QUOTE
Interesting that two out of three courses listed in the opening post require a working knowledge of calculus.

Aced Calculus in college.  :cool:

Don't remember anything whatsoever now.  :(

I can understand forgetting stuff like your birthday, your anniversary, where your car keys are, etc, but how do you forget your integrals or when a series converges? Don't tell me you forgot Newton's Laws too or this thread is going to turn into a wall of flames. :angry:

Wall of flames?  Why?  I was commenting on my own sadly-deteriorating memory -- not on the courses.

I can forget both birthdays and formulas!  I take solace in knowing that, surely, I am not alone.   :;):


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 3:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(mbear @ Dec. 30 2012, 11:49 am)
QUOTE

(TravisNWood @ Dec. 30 2012, 10:23 am)
QUOTE
Hate to say  it, but those courses don't even look mildly entertaining.

I'm sure Coursera has a lot to offer for those who need that sort of format. There are better ways to learn for other folks.

I get the RTFM sentiment, but for learning something a first time I don't always find that an efficient way. For example, I think this course (MIT though, not coursera) is far superior to any introductory mechanics book since you see experiments actually done.

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses....ll-1999

Even the great intro mechanics textbooks (like Kleppner & Kolenkow) can seem like just juggling equations at times.

That's pretty much how I feel, not that I prefer one learning style, but that different topics are going to be more efficiently learned through various means and I try to take advantage of as many as I can.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 4:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Dec. 30 2012, 1:56 pm)
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Wall of flames?  Why?  I was commenting on my own sadly-deteriorating memory -- not on the courses.

I can forget both birthdays and formulas!  I take solace in knowing that, surely, I am not alone.   :;):

No bueno, just some things you can't forget. Newton is rolling in his grave hearing such madness. Getting ready to go to the birthplace of algebra and can't remember a table of integrals... smh  :p
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 5:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(mbear @ Dec. 30 2012, 11:49 am)
QUOTE

(TravisNWood @ Dec. 30 2012, 10:23 am)
QUOTE
Hate to say  it, but those courses don't even look mildly entertaining.

I'm sure Coursera has a lot to offer for those who need that sort of format. There are better ways to learn for other folks.

I get the RTFM sentiment, but for learning something a first time I don't always find that an efficient way. For example, I think this course (MIT though, not coursera) is far superior to any introductory mechanics book since you see experiments actually done.

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses....ll-1999

Even the great intro mechanics textbooks (like Kleppner & Kolenkow) can seem like just juggling equations at times.

Your interests seem to be heavily weighted toward math and the physical sciences. I tended that way in early college years. Then I got a big awakening from the Vietnam War. You know, they didn't even give us a choice of colors in body bags when it was time to come home.

My interests matured to life sciences, history, psychology and questions like: How did we get into that mess the world was in? My professors at that time demanded a lot of reading. There was no online anything. And I'm glad of it.

There is NO WAY you can present the full 11-volume works of Will and Ariel Durant into an online course. And, in my opinion, there is no way you will be richer for having failed to carefully read each volume.

I have read carefully dozens of history and psychology classics that would only suffer mayhem in your world. In comparison, they live supreme on my bookshelves.

But I repeat: online courses are great where suited. But they have some serious limits that need to be recognized.

Gotta go.


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(TravisNWood @ Dec. 30 2012, 2:25 pm)
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There is NO WAY you can present the full 11-volume works of Will and Ariel Durant into an online course. And, in my opinion, there is no way you will be richer for having failed to carefully read each volume.

I have read carefully dozens of history and psychology classics that would only suffer mayhem in your world. In comparison, they live supreme on my bookshelves.

I fail to understand why reading online is automatically different from (meaning inferior to) reading hard copies.

Methinks it really depends on the individual reader.   Neither commitment nor success is based on form and format.


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