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Zach

Always had a passion for learning - modern MOOCs let me continue this even after finishing my degree! The only problem is getting enough free time to study everything.

Zach
South Korea
Mathematics
Masters Degree

Taking right now ( 6 )

Completed ( 14 )

Dropped ( 3 )

Introduction to Game Development

Written 2 years ago
Intro to Game Development was an excellent course. The lecturer, does an excellent job of keeping things organized - at the start and end of every video he explains what you will be doing (or have done). He also thoroughly explains the use of best practices and why some things are done.

Perhaps it is appropriate for a beginner course, but sometimes the technical aspects are a little frustrating. When making the games you are provided with pre-built art assets and code. You then combine these in Unity. However, a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff is left unexplained: it often seems like witchcraft how everything is nicely set up for you. You don't do any active code writing in the course, although in the final week you do have a sneak peak inside the source. While the later course in the specialization has some more of this, it was a little bit annoying.

Bear in mind that Coursera has locked this course down so that if you don't pay or get financial aid, you can no longer do the quizzes or the peer-graded assignments.
My rating
Zach completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

Machine Learning

Written 2 years ago
This course is a good first step of the specialization in machine learning. It provides a very loose overview of what is going on. Each week one lecturer explains the "idea" behind a machine learning algorithm, then the other one implements parts of it. For the quiz you're required to use the output to find specific data results, or add some minor feature changes. The lecturers in general do a good job and the lectures are well structured, with the welcome occasional piece of humor.

I personally found the course to be completely overshadowed by Andrew Ng's Machine Learning Course. This course makes use of a highly specialized tool: most of the time the actual "machine learning" part is done by some already built-in algorithm of the software, and almost all the work we do is in data handling. While I'm sure this is great for some people, I would hesitate to describe this as performing Machine Learning ourselves. Similarly, while the tool is excellent and I'm sure people use it in the industry, I went into the course hoping to learn more about the fundamentals of ~how~ machine learning works, which wasn't covered too well. It's quite likely the later courses cover this as this is the first in a specialization, but for anyone other than a beginner you might experience these same concerns.

The quizzes being multiple choice is also a little aggravating. By comparison, many other programming courses have code submitting and marking tools, and it makes this course feel somewhat unprofessional at times.
My rating
Zach completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

Gamification

Written 2 years ago
My rating
Zach completed this course.

Business of Games and Entrepreneurship

Written 2 years ago
Really not getting much from the course. Most of the advice is in question form "What are you doing to do about X,Y,Z?", often without offering constructive options. A lot of the advice that is given is very vague such as "Communicate clearly". Often the assignments are somewhat disjointed from the content discussed.
My rating
Zach partially completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

Principles of Game Design

Written 2 years ago
The course started off interesting, giving some good ideas for planning exercises and so on. As it went on, though, it seems to get more and more vague. There's lots of "You could do THIS, or THIS, or THIS", which ultimately doesn't really help much. The workload of the assignments seems to increase rapidly as the course goes on: the early ones are typically a page or less but later they are giving models that are in the tens of pages. Perhaps for someone deeply invested this is a useful framework, but as a hobbyist it seemed unnecessary.
My rating
Zach partially completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

Game Theory II: Advanced Applications

Written 2 years ago
This course is certainly very interesting, but it's also quite challenging. The class forums seem to be active with quite a few confused people. The content is very full-on mathsy rather than being a dumbed down version. While it recommends completing a precursor course it doesn't seem to be absolutely necessary: they usually redefine the most important terms.
My rating
Zach is taking this course right now, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

Machine Learning

Written 2 years ago
My rating
Zach completed this course.

An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1)

Written 2 years ago
My rating
Zach completed this course.

Principles of Computing (Part 1)

Written 2 years ago
My rating
Zach completed this course.

Algorithmic Thinking (Part 1)

Written 2 years ago
This course is the first part of a somewhat challenging conclusion to the specialization. The course is split into several two-week long components, during which you will have to complete a quiz and a machine-graded piece of code. Finally you will have to write additional code and answer somewhat challenging questions about the week's application. This includes preparing graphs of the runtimes of algorithms or their effectiveness.

As someone with a background in maths, I found this course an excellent way to apply my current knowledge to a programming environment. The applications are extremely interesting and have relevance. The code you write is short, but often you have to write it very thoughtfully. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that for one of the applications I had to leave my computer running for a few hours because I failed to adequately optimize my code.

Sometimes the programming can be a little bit confusing, although perhaps this is due to my inexperience with Python. For example for one assignment they provide some code for a custom function that is several lines long, when (I believe) it is possible to perform the same task in one line. The lectures help to some extent with some of these concerns, but they're not perfect.
My rating
Zach completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

Games without Chance: Combinatorial Game Theory

Written 2 years ago
The maths in this course is somewhat interesting, but honestly I feel it is let down by a poor presentation. The content of the course jumps back and forwards very rapidly: some weeks some knowledge is assumed and then the next week the lecturer explains it. Even then there are some reasonably large gaps and 'obvious' questions unanswered. Despite the technology available, presentation is done using a camera filming the lecturer writing on paper as he goes: this is a very classic mathematic style but somewhat out of place for a MOOC.
My rating
Zach is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

China300x: Chinese Thought: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science

Written 2 years ago
I usually go for computing and math style courses, but I thought it would be nice to branch out and try something new. I often worry about philosophy style courses being very wishy-washy, and I've seen this problem in other MOOCs.

This course did an absolutely perfect job of dispelling some of these concerns. The lecturer is engaging and good at presenting ideas. The lectures by their nature can't be the most interesting thing, but they're extremely well structured, and occasional "field trips" help break this monotony.

The historical facts and their interpretations are separated very clearly - the lecturer will often talk about the different views possible from a given piece. He also often compares the historical views with their modern day relevance or scientific data on the opinions the philosophers had.

There are quizzes at the end of each lecture, and also at the end of each week. There's also a final exam. All of the graded components are due for the end of the course: so there's no particular rush. The questions are very challenging and make sure you were actually paying attention; although some of them feel a little unfair and ambiguous even after reading the answer, most are very well designed.
My rating
Zach completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

Space Mission Design and Operations

Written 2 years ago
My rating
Zach dropped this course.

Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance

Written 2 years ago
My rating
Zach completed this course.

Principles of Computing (Part 2)

Written 2 years ago
My rating
Zach completed this course.

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