Now finished, I remain torn about this course. But I've bumped it up to four stars.
Positives:
- using Python
- having to use doctests (yes, seriously, I didn't really understand the funny comments preceded by >>> before this :s)
- building my own sparse simple matrix and vector classes
- GF2 ( = "binary arithmetic without the carry digit" when this hayseed finally figured it out)
- carefully crafted material and lectures
- linking lin alg concepts to applications (my faves: perspective correction, and factorising big numbers)
- multiple interpretations of matrix multiplication
- Prof Klein and TAs extremely active and helpful on forums
Negatives:
- no (freely available) text to go to for clarification
- lectures a little fast-paced
- several times lectures omitted steps, which left me agonising about whether I really understood what was going on for hours.
- quite a few errors in lectures
- abrupt changes in volume of lecture audio
- problems with submitting answers (grader tests are different to the doctests provided, and - because some of us didn't know the grader test case was available by running it with a flag - passing the doctests but failing the grader lead to a horrible sinking feeling)
- horrible marking scheme (pass/ distinction thresholds are applied by section, with lowest dropped, not to overall average. 20% late submission penalty made getting a distinction if more than one section was late was impossible, even with 100% unadjusted.)
perhaps just for me
- difficulty grokking proofs in lecture form (perhaps I just need to write them down & think about them more)
- using Python 3.x is a bit of a pain.
Overall, a somewhat flawed execution of an otherwise excellent idea. Unfortunately with flaws that made an already tricky subject quite a bit harder - so I hope they can be ironed out over repeated iterations.
But interesting, a MOOC I feel proud to have completed. Looking forward to retaking it - to make sure I really 'get it' - and the promised follow-ups from Prof Klein.
(EDIT: but not for quite a while; from the forum: "The follow-on course has not been scheduled yet. I'm not yet sure when it will run. I will announce on the codingthematrix mailing list. It will likely not be for at least a year due to an upcoming big project on my part.")