My second Coursera MOOC course, Creative Programming for Digital Media and Mobile Apps, which I introduced back in the post Knob Twiddling, finally concluded at the end of July. It was very fulfilling, and I learned so much, but also came up against the imitations of my own nascent skills as a coder (also documented in the post Coding is Tough). Every step of developing my final project seemed to take me a couple back. In the end I got a diluted version of the original idea working, but it was disappointingly simple in appearance for the viewer, and deceptively complex for the novice coder.
I loved the structure that the MOOC course gave me, but I was also slave to it, and I now look forward to getting back to some of the subscription code school sites I have been using before. For my limited hours available to auto didactic endeavours, I think the self study route is the one for me. I don;t doubt I will come back to the MOOC after a break. it is an art-form in its infancy. I am also aware that other MOOC platforms (Udacity for example) lets you just follow content at your own pace.
The unique and interesting aspect of the COursera model of learning is the peer assessment. As soon as the deadline for submission passes you can go in and review five or more of your cohort’s submissions to assess in words and in assigning a score. Your score is the average of those given by your five plus assessors. There is a lot of trust in this but I think it would be very hard to deliberately abuse it. The submissions you see are anonymous, and you have no view of who else will see this students work. There is no other way to assess the coursework. According to the course’s administrators, over 90,000 students enrolled on the course, and 10,000 were still active on week ten’s content. If only half of these completed the final assignment that’s still 5,000 submissions to mark. The process and technology seem pretty robust.
No final result yet for my course, but hoping for a distinction (see Grade Me! Grade Me!).
…update 10 Sept 2013…
Grade received finally. 96.9%. I am happy with that, but there is SOOOOOOO much more to learn. The grade help, but they are just a distraction from the real purpose, which is simply to learn.