Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kicking my MOOC (Coursera) addiction ...

MOOC: That's Massively Open Online Course an interesting trend in online education.

It's been a while since I posted anything here ... the reason, well I dropped into a bad habit of following MOOCs.  Starting with "Functional Programming in Scala" last autumn on Coursera, I quickly became a junkie following some Python courses, an investment course, CUDA programming course, Programming Languages ...

I'm now doing less of these courses as they were taking up too much of my time, but I so appreciate some of them.

I thoroughly recommend the aforementioned "Functional Programming in Scala" given by the language's creator Martin Odersky.  Excellently executed course in terms of course materials, videos, assignments with online scoring.  I had some trouble with some of the homeworks, it was a bit of a challenge to get my head around functional programming but I got there with a distinction as well.

I've probably done about 10 courses over the last 6 months, mainly on Coursera but also on and Other favourite courses have been EdX's "CS169.1x Software as a Service" for it's fast-paced introduction to Ruby, Rails, Agile, test-driven development and behaviour-driven development.  I took part 1 and loved it.  I felt this was the most practical of all the courses I've done.
Nevertheless, I decided to postpone part 2 until this autumn to have a needed break.

I also thought Coursera's "Programming Languages" course was excellent, but not for the beginner.  I found this course extremely difficult in places.

I also followed Stanford's "Introduction to Databases" course on Class2Go.  I found the course subjects to be excellent and wide ranging from relational database theory, XML and JSON to UML, XSL transformations.  Unfortunately, the course materials I found not to be so good.  I didn't find this course very pedagogical.  Nevertheless there were many students expressing strong gratitude on the forums for this course.

It's unfortuunate that we have no way of judging the difficulty of these courses in advance (I've taken other courses where I've done the 3 hour exam in 20 mins and got very high marks).  But I guess this will always be very subjective.  In the course forums you'll always find many people complaining how easy the courses are ... no matter how much you or I might be struggling.  Don't be put off !

Anyway, I wanted to give a heads up on these sites which I think are providing amazing opportunities for learning.  I didn't mention Udacity which also seems to be an excellent site.  I haven't followed any of their courses but they seem extremely well done also, without the deadlines of other sites.
This may or not suit you.

I just came across this site, CourseTalk, which provides student ratings of these online courses.
Should be useful.

So back to real life now .. well I still have 3 Coursera classes ongoing and more in the pipeline but they're very low bandwidth compared to the previous ones ... this is holiday !

I need to free up some brain bandwidth to get back to my goal of studying for an RHCE/RHCSA and getting good experience in Virtualization and Cloud Computing ... in particular I really need to get going on OpenStack ... more to follow ...

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