I offered some initial thoughts here. I haven’t really changed those opinions. I will say that the materials that are there are all well put together, clean, sans glitches, and professional looking. I will also add that the videos run very smoothly, even for me, and that’s saying something – I have terrible bandwidth.
The quizzes have some variety of questions, but for obvious reasons, there are no essay-type or short answer questions. The assignments are short and are to be “marked” by other members of the class. This part gives me pause. I don’t actually have any suggestions for another way to do this given the size of the class but without some sort of oversight by a facilitator it really seems like the blind leading the blind. I ‘m told that we will all get to assess the submissions of 5 other people. Not sure why we have to do 5 but 2 possibilities come to mind: 1. they are expecting that many people will not do their share, and 2. it may be possible to get a more realistic assessment if more than one person does it. Of course, the second possibility assumes that the people doing the assessment will do a decent job AND that they are fit to do the assessment.
When I submitted my assignment, I was effectively forced to assess 5 other submissions. The system takes you through lock-step so you are given 5 other submissions. Presumably, you won’t get to see your mark unless you do them.
I really like that I can download all the lectures and that I have numerous choices for the format: I can download the mp4 video or just the slides (pdf). at this point this first half of the lectures also offer a text only version (txt), and subtitles (srt).
That having been said, there is nothing innovative about the way the content is presented or the way it is assessed.
I’ve also noticed that I have a different attitude towards this course than I do towards the other online course I’m taking. The other one is for “real” – meaning I’m paying money for it and I, if I succeed, I will come out the other end with a bona fide credential. I find I don’t put the same effort into the coursera course that I do into a real course for a couple of reasons:
- There’s no benefit to being outstanding, only to being ‘good enough’.
- I’m not sure I like the idea of sharing my best ideas with 5 strangers (at least if I post them on my blog, there is some sort of public record that I control).
I should be getting my first set of marks in both courses soon. I’ll let you know.