My Coursera Accomplishments —and— thoughts about MOOCs
(Originally posted on 2016-06-09)
I recently participated in online non-credit courses (MOOCs), and I did well. This gave me a real sense of accomplishment. That's something that I miss from my software development days.
I have a college degree, but my disability makes homework a real challenge. This format allows me to study, and attend lectures when I am at my best, which is rare.
That flexibility makes online lectures better than live college lectures. Although, yes, you would also want access to your instructors.
The first course was Survey of Music Technology.
Dr. Jason A. Freeman taught the class. He is from the Georgia Institute of Technology. I completed it on June 1, 2016.
Here is a video that shows what we did in the Crane class. We also spent a lot of time doing wacky things with analog synthesizers. I was always able to figure out what the sound would be just by seeing how the modules were hooked up.
The course had one quiz each week, and two projects. The first project involved using the Reaper DAW as a virtual recording studio. For the second project we did something similar, but we used the EarSketch instead.
EarSketch allows us to write software in place of the DAW. It's a Python API and runtime environment.
I earned 100% on all tests and assignments.
Dariusz Terefenko taught the class. He is from the Eastman School of Music, the University of Rochester. I completed it on June 8, 2016.
Dr. Terefenko's version was much deeper with regards to composing and improvising on the piano. I suspect that he has covered everything. If you are a piano player, and you love the blues, then you need this course.
It's pretty amazing how much information was in the lectures. This would have been difficult to do in a live classroom setting. The logistics of getting everyone into the class, out of the class, and on the same page, eats up way too much time in a traditional setting.
The third course was Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)
This is a basic beginner's programming course taught by Charles Severance from The University of Michigan. I would recommend it to any beginner. You really need to take all five courses in the Python for Everybody specialization, in order to get the full benefit though.
What's "For Everybody" mean? For some reason, in academics, there's a stigma attached to anyone using relational databases to create computer programs. Outside of academia? Everybody does this, but inside academia, there's Computer Scientists, and then there's "everybody" else.
I believe that this is a bad name for the course. It makes it look as though it's not as serious, and the name itself undermines the accomplishment made.
I earned 100% on all tests and assignments.
Lastly, there's Python Data Structures.
This was about how to use the data structures built-in to Python's standard API.
It was very different from my previous data structures courses which involved using pointers, and other techniques, to build our own data structures.
I earned 100% on all tests and assignments.