Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Coursera - Impressions after trying out couple of courses

When I looked at announcement about Coursera a year or so back I was intrigued. For those who have not heard about it, Coursera is social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.

At that time, Coursera was just gaining steam. I did not find the list of courses relevant to me till about a couple of months back. Lately, the number of courses has increased dramatically. I did a couple of courses - one a 6 week course (on Statistics) and another a 10 week course (on Finance). A mindboggling statistics from one of the courses: there were 75,000 students from around the world taking the course simultaneously with me! I would highly recommend Coursera to anybody. At least check the course lists and try out one of them.

There were a few hiccups. The site was down for a few days. I got un-enrolled 4 weeks into a course. I chalk it up to growing pains. All of the issues were resolved quickly and without much impact to me, the user. The professors and teaching assistants were also learning with us: how to deliver a course to thousands of students at a time; give out challenging evaluations given the huge discrepancy in the knowledge level;  evaluate thousands of students every week, and deliver credentials based on performance. In both the courses I took, the professors took the input from forums and changed the course for better mid-way through the program.

Overall a great experience which I plan to repeat with "A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior" course by Dan Ariely in March 2013

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