Monday, 11 March 2013

A Few Short Course Reviews

I will add to this blog over time, and may change my mind on some  where the review is early in the course.
I have not given any review of courses I dropped, but more on those can be found on my full list. Further details will only given privately out of respect for the professors, who are offering these courses without any compensation for their time. 

Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life 
Interesting, fun, informative, and well-presented. Quizzes are cleverly done.
Outstanding point: "What have we learned" section of review at the end of each video.

Introduction to Genetics and Evolution 
Very engaging professor and very in-depth course. This is not an easy course, and I am quite certain I will not achieve a pass mark, but I recommend it anyway.
Outstanding point: Slides are extremely well done.

The Modern World: Global History Since 1760
Professor is a treasure. The perspective of this course is unusual, and despite having studied history for pleasure for 40 years, I have learned much here because of this different angle.
Outstanding point: Art used as examples of the zeitgeist.

Energy 101 
Very clear presentation, and a LOT of data presented. Very balanced and fair approach.
Outstanding point: It's just impossible to misunderstand the information presented.

Aboriginal Worldviews and Education 
Probably the most enjoyable of all courses so far, a lot of material to get through, but so worth it. This one will change your heart.
Outstanding point: The style of presentation is perfect for the subject matter.

Packs a lot in, but never feels "difficult". I have never learned so much in such a short space of time, or understood biological concepts so easily.
Outstanding point: Very engaging professor.

Know Thyself
Extremely well-planned order of study and good presentation (professor filmed giving lectures outdoors, very appropriate).
Outstanding point: Overview followed by more details on each area.

How Things Work 1
Huge fun (professor filmed falling off skateboard), very easy to follow. This is how to teach basic concepts. I've never done physics before, and I get it.
Outstanding point: Visual demonstration things work.

Chemistry: Concept Development and Application
Very clear explanations that make perfect sense the very first time. A novel approach, that works.
Outstanding point: Showing how and why, and not just presenting data.


  1. oy! you really are torturing me here you know........

  2. I'm enrolled in How Things Work and Know Thyself.
    I am doing horrible at the first one so far. 40% on the quiz. Ouch.
    The latter I am doing great at so far. 97%.
    I was trying Introduction To Mathematical Thinking, but my algebra is so rusty, I decided to drop it. I wanted to do the Astrobiology course, but I missed two deadlines. I hope it runs again. I'd like to try it.

    1. Ouch, yes. Never mind. You can do it again. I watched all the videos twice. I got two questions wrong, because I wasn't clear on the velocity and acceralation directions during a turn. So afterwards I went and read up on those more. That was the hardest part, I felt. It's not intuitive.

      I'm leaving anything mathematical alone for now. I will do them later on, perhaps this time next year. What do you think of the Know Thyself professor? I think he's great but Michael says he gabbles. I love the meditative moments. I've ordered his book.

      Yes, DO take the Astrobiology next time, there's only a tiny bit of mathematical stuff towards the end, it's mostly concepts.

  3. I think he's great. Very understandable, with out droning on and losing my interest. I would like to find an easy math course to start. It's been so long...

    I had a problem with the the same question in the physics course. I'm going to assume I will fail it this time, but I plan to keep at it, so as to get a better mark the next time it's available.

    At first, I was only signed up for three classes, but I agreed with what you said. I grabbed every one that interested me, and plan to watch and see which ones interest me, and which ones I think I am capable of doing.
    I was honestly expecting to be sitting at home this winter, and would have time to do a few at a time, but it seems that I'm barely able to keep up with the two I have going on now.
    The one I am eagerly waiting for is the Archeology one in June. I'm hoping it's not too advanced for me.

    1. I think you can tell, if not in the first week, certainly by the second whether it's right for you or not. Certainly some of these courses are more difficult than others, and I think that's intentional. Some are meant as introductions to a subject, others are for those who want to dive right in. On the Astrobiology forum there was a general clamour for a part two, and the professor seems to be up for it. Presumably that would be more in depth, and intended for those who'd taken the first course.

  4. I'm cramming the Energy 101 course tonight. I'm half way through week three. Thankfully, it is one of the courses that is allowing me to catch up (I think. It's letting me take the tests, and not telling me I'm too late).
    This guy is a rambler. I also noticed (thanks to your many blogs) that this professor has a hard time pronouncing many words properly. Oil sounds like oral to me. He is still understandable, but I had to comment on it.

  5. True, I also remember him saying something about being from Florida too. Guess it could be worse.