Aug 202014

I went back to Udacity in order to finish up some programming courses, and because they were offering a deal. It’s been a while since I did any work in Python, but it’s funny how quickly it comes back to you. (Well, mostly.)

The only thing that’s kind of weird is going back over all the work I’ve already done. It feels like someone much smarter than me has already done a lot of this.

I’ve also been finishing up a Coursera MOOC on Music Theory, just to refresh a bit. It wasn’t bad, but the class felt kind of rushed towards the end. Really rushed! It was a good class, but the final exam was a little unreasonable, based on the amount of experience a lot of the students had.

I think the faculty had a “Well, this is obvious, isn’t it?” moment, when, “No, this is not obvious to a beginner. This is far from obvious,” is what they should have realized.

Still, right up until that point, it was very good. And I still got my PDF diploma (or whatever), so it’s all good.

And now I know what a hemisemidemiquaver is. But I’m still going to call it a 32nd note. And no way will I call a quarter note a crotchet. Makes me feel dirty.

But other than that, it was pretty good!

I’ve taken a lot of MOOC classes, on a bunch of different platforms, and I like the Udacity model the best– there’s no “You can only take this class NOW” problem. Take it whenever you want.

Coursera is too traditional in its approach, from my point of view, and some classes place far too much emphasis on the social aspect of learning. Honestly, I rarely, if ever, have time to use the forums. I barely have time to do the classes, and you want me to waste time in the forums? No thanks. If I want to socialize, I do it in the real world, or at least over Skype or voice chat.

The time pressure of Coursera isn’t fun, either. If I’m learning for fun, I want to learn at my own pace. Especially if I’m paying for it.

But! Coursera has an outstanding variety of classes, especially in Business and Music. I finished up a Marketing class offered by Penn’s Wharton School of Business. That was pretty interesting. And the music courses offered by Berklee are interesting. Sometimes I’ll drop the $50 for the certified certificate, but I have a hard time justifying that for something like Songwriting.

Oh, I took a look at the edX Linux class. My eyes glazed over at the cost. Really, guys? I get that you’re a non-profit, but that’s a crazy amount of money for what I can get from some YouTube videos and RTFMing a bit. A lot of the first week’s videos were just ads for the Linux Foundation, and that did nothing for me, either. I dropped it. I don’t have time for it.

It’s too bad. I was really excited about this course, and about edX, but the amount of money they ask for is just way too much for what’s essentially a DIY course. Coursera has already set my expectations at the appropriate level– $49 for a certified piece of paper is about right, considering it’s “college lite.”

I’m not a huge fan of the amount of money Udacity wants for its certified courses, either, but the coaching is useful. edX just wants the money, no coaching. As mom would say, “Das geht nicht!”

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