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Linda Saalman

Linda Saalman

Why We Post: the Anthropology of Social Media

Written 9 months ago
Remarkably insightful, well-designed, and well-executed class that brings extraordinary depth to the subject. Really opened my eyes to the differences in how social media is used in different cultures, which gave me a whole different level of insight into how it is used in my own culture and among my own friends, and has in turn affected my own use. Loved the way that the instructors made it easy to learn from the class materials, the extensive supplemental texts, and the online discussions, enabling a student to limit their time while still grasping the material, or to dive in more deeply and have a richer experience. This means it brings value to beginning, intermediate, or advanced students.
My rating
Linda Saalman audited this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

Osteoarchaeology: The Truth in Our Bones

Written 8 months ago
This is a remarkably well-designed and executed class -- found it fascinating, learned a lot, and loved the way it made full and effective use of the Coursera platform. If you have any interest in archaeology, physical anthropology, history, or even occupational or physical therapy, you should consider it. Not only did it effectively engage the strengths of multiple instructors, but it also made the best use of student projects that I've experienced. As an older student who has more difficulty remembering new vocabulary than I once did, the projects were particularly helpful in cementing the new terminology, as well as providing a great way to practice what I learned. Note that if you are serious about both the topic and the project assignments (which also entail evaluating the completed project steps of other students), this class requires more time each week than other courses I've taken -- not to listen to lectures, but to apply and use and practice what you've learned.
My rating
Linda Saalman audited this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

Food as Medicine

Written 8 months ago
Informative, accessible, well-designed class that takes into account likely levels of student knowledge and preconceived opinions without pandering to them. Monash, of course, is the premiere research institution on the topic of FODMAPs, and their deep expertise in nutrition is evident. They also do a nice job offering supplemental reading material for people who wish to dive a bit deeper. And FutureLearn, of course, is a platform particularly well-suited to student discussions and supplementary material, allowing students to complete the course taking very little time each week, or spend more time and have a more engaging and deeper experience.
My rating
Linda Saalman audited this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

A History of Violence: From the Middle Ages to Modern Times

Written 8 months ago
I took this course because violence is a topic that disturbs me, and I've avoided coming to grips with it throughout my adult life. It accomplished exactly what I had hoped, by helping me understand the many manifestations of violence; why, when, and how it occurred and occurs; and how to come to grips with it. The class is well-designed and regularly reminds students of sources of counseling if they need it. The professor is deeply knowlegeable, although unfortunately, the lectures boil the topic down to such a degree that they can feel incomplete. Some of the other students were clearly knowledgeable in the field as well, and prepared to engage in helpful discussions. The class does its best with the edX platform, which is not terribly user-friendly. I could wish that the list of references for people who would like to learn more had been better annotated (and, of course, that the edX discussion functionality was better designed). It's not easy to find a middle ground in this class between just listening to high-level lectures and reading for many hours a week to filter the supplementary material and comments.
My rating
Linda Saalman audited this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

A History of Royal Food and Feasting

Written 8 months ago
I really enjoyed this class -- it's fun. Loved the way it made use of multiple experts and historic venues, including a range of presenters and graphic designers; created a nice platform for people who wanted to actually try recipes while still encouraging those of us who were coming at this from more of a historical perspective; provided context for the lessons; and engaged with the student body. In fact, this is the best class I've experienced so far for active moderator engagement in the discussions, and for leveraging student-provided info into the course itself. (And FutureLearn, of course, is a platform particularly well-suited to student discussions and supplementary material, allowing students to complete the course taking very little time each week, or spend more time and have a more engaging and deeper experience.) I could wish for a bit more academic rigor, but that's just a personal preference.
My rating
Linda Saalman audited this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

Corruption

Written 8 months ago
Short with a strong punch. This class should be required for anyone who wants to understand how democracy and capitalism work in the real world, or how government and businesses relate to one another, or how ethics matter in practice. Bear with the first module, which is a bit low-key, because the remaining three are remarkable, and the supplemental materials are worth reading or viewing. As is typical of my experience with the Coursera platform, the discussion engagement and quality is poor. On the positive side, that let's you complete the course more quickly.
My rating
Linda Saalman audited this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum

Written 8 months ago
If you are in the market for a class on the museum as a force for social justice, this is the course for you -- its advocacy is passionate, deep, and compellingly expressed. However, if you are interested in the museum in any other role, or other aspects of developing, operating, or strengthening 21st century museums, this is not where you will find it. Good use of text, video, and supplementary sources. Terrific student discussion board, the best I've experienced (although entirely unmoderated, with no involvement by the course providers, and no apparent way to get questions answered). I delved into all the supplementary material and was active on the discussion board, which explains the high time commitment -- you can certainly spend less time on this course if you would prefer.
My rating
Linda Saalman completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

The Modern World, Part One: Global History from 1760 to 1910

Written 8 months ago
If you are looking to bring your bits and pieces of historical knowledge together into a coherent whole, and understand the trends and interactions of this period of history, this is absolutely your course -- it's superb, and the professor is terrific. Also really helped me better understand the global world we are living in today. The course is accessible to a beginner, but may be overwhelming, and it really helps to come in with some exposure to the topic. As usual for a Coursera class, the discussion forum is hit-or-miss with weak participation, although there is an active moderator. (For a better discussion platform, try FutureLearn.) The quizzes are helpful -- there's a lot of learning here, and the quizzes help cement it.
My rating
Linda Saalman audited this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

Social Norms, Social Change I

Written 7 months ago
This first class creates the vocabulary and concept framework to understand social norms, customs, beliefs, expectations, etc, and the tools to measure social norms, etc. The entire matter of how to influence those norms is deferred to a second course, which I had not fully understood. The vocabulary and concepts are fairly complex, so I found it important to take notes. (It would have been most helpful if the slides used in the class had been separately attached as a downloadable ppt or pdf.) The class is, not surprisingly, entirely built around examples of Unicef activities globally; therefore, it requires extrapolation if you wish to apply what you are learning to the USA or Europe. As is typical for Coursera, the student discussion functionality is weak -- I learned very little from it. (This is a problem of the platform -- unlike FutureLearn, Coursera makes it difficult to learn whether and how any other students reacted to your comments, and therefore it is very difficult to interactively engage the student body).
My rating
Linda Saalman audited this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

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