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Doris Smith

Web developer and sometime English teacher from California, currently living in Turkey. MOOC-addict; considering a career transition to data science.

Doris Smith
Kuşadası, Turkey
Mathematics
Bachelors Degree

Taking right now ( 7 )

Completed ( 23 )

Enrolled ( 15 )

"Dubliners" by Joyce: BerkeleyX Book Club

Written 2 years ago
This was my first "online book club", and I was unprepared for how different this was from the conventional MOOC's I've been taking. There was much less direction and a much greater emphasis on discussing things with other students. Unfortunately, I find the edX.org platform less conducive for genuine discussion than other platforms such as those of Coursera or FutureLearn. Instead of discussion, we tended to get monologues to which people would occasionally chime in with "Yes, I agree".

That I didn't much care for The Dubliners didn't help either. (I'm trying the book club again now with Dracula, and I'm enjoying that much more.)
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

Greek and Roman Mythology

Written 2 years ago
A great course with an excellent professor: I'd gladly take another course with Professor Struck any day. He's a very engaging and inspiring lecturer, with a deep knowledge and great enthusiasm for the material.

I was a little unprepared for the amount of reading this course took, though. While I enjoyed the Greek writers, I didn't much care for Virgil or Ovid. (It may be that I was just a little burned out by then, or maybe the translations were just too clunky.)
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

The Emergence of the Modern Middle East - Part I

Written 2 years ago
(This review applies equally to the two halves of the course. As an aside, I don't understand why the course was split in two. It's unnatural and unnecessary.)

A fascinating overview of the history of the Middle East over the past two+ centuries (since Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798). He covers the rise of nationalism, the role of political Islam, the high-handed and arbitrary geographical division of the Middle East following WWI, the establishment of Israel, and (briefly) the Arab Spring.

In particular, in his discussion of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict, he seems to be fair-minded and objective, favoring neither side. (Although I don't know if any Palestinians or Israelis would agree with that perception!)
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

The Emergence of the Modern Middle East - Part II

Written 2 years ago
(This review applies equally to the two halves of the course. As an aside, I don't understand why the course was split in two. It's unnatural and unnecessary.)

A fascinating overview of the history of the Middle East over the past two+ centuries (since Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798). He covers the rise of nationalism, the role of political Islam, the high-handed and arbitrary geographical division of the Middle East following WWI, the establishment of Israel, and (briefly) the Arab Spring.

In particular, in his discussion of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict, he seems to be fair-minded and objective, favoring neither side. (Although I don't know if any Palestinians or Israelis would agree with that perception!)
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

World War 1: Paris 1919 - A New World Order?

Written 2 years ago
The course, while rather cursory, gave an excellent overview of some of the motivations behind the various treaties that followed on the end of WWI. In particular, I learned a lot about the League of Nations and how the lesson learned by the League shaped the United Nations.
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

World War 1: Trauma and Memory

Written 2 years ago
Frequently sad and even painful. The course made it apparent just how ill-prepared combatant nations were for the consequences and effects of modern war.
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

World War 1: A History in 100 Stories

Written 2 years ago
This is the first class in FutureLearn's sequence of classes marking the centenary of the outbreak of WWI that I've taken. As the title suggests, it's anecdotal in nature. I didn't fully realize at the outset that the stories all centered on Australia; I had expected something a little more geographically diverse. However, this had the beneficial effect of largely shifting the emphasis away from the Western front and more towards the fighting at Gallipoli and in the Middle East.

Some of the stories were sad, tragic even, and some were infuriating (with substantial overlap between the two categories). They made it very clear how very unprepared combatant nations in WWI were to deal with the consequences of war.
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

The Data Scientist’s Toolbox

Written 2 years ago
Very basic: its role seems to be simply to prepare the student for other classes in the Data Science specialization.
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python

Written 2 years ago
An excellent introduction to thinking computationally. I liked the instructor, and the exercises and problems sets largely struck a nice balance, being challenging but not discouraging. The midterm and final, though, I found very difficult.

The pacing of the class is also a little uneven: we lingered over the easier topics early on, but then sped through more demanding topics, such as object-oriented programming, toward the end of the course.
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

Shakespeare and his World

Written 2 years ago
A nice overview of Shakespeare's life and time. A little superficial (it was possible to follow the course without actually reading or even watching any of the plays purportedly under discussion), but I did come away with a better understanding of the historical context of Shakespeare's work.
My rating
Doris Smith audited this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

Data Visualization

Written 2 years ago
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course.

"Dracula" by Stoker: BerkeleyX Book Club

Written 2 years ago
I enjoyed this course far more than the earlier "book club" course on James Joyce's The Dubliners, perhaps because I liked the book better. The posts in the discussion forums were more interesting, and the exercises were more engaging. (Although I still feel that Coursera's discussion forums are better than edX's at stimulating genuine discussion.)
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

Internet History, Technology, and Security

Written 2 years ago
I've been working on the Internet since before there was a WWW, so I didn't necessarily expect to learn much, but in fact this was highly informative. The history part was mostly familiar, but it was helpful to have everything laid out clearly on a timeline. The technology and security portions did a great deal to clarify my previously vague understandings of how things work. Dr. Chuck is an excellent instructor: knowledgeable, relaxed, and funny.

I especially liked the "graduation ceremony" at the end, complete with Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance and a graduation speaker. This is the first MOOC I've taken that included a graduation, and it was a nice touch.
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

Language Revival: Securing the Future of Endangered Languages

Written 2 years ago
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Doris Smith completed this course.

The Civil War and Reconstruction - 1861 - 1865: A New Birth of Freedom

Written 2 years ago
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Doris Smith completed this course.

The Civil War and Reconstruction - 1850-1861: A Nation Divided

Written 2 years ago
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Doris Smith completed this course.

Othello: In Performance

Written 2 years ago
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Doris Smith completed this course.

World War 1: Lessons and Legacy of the Great War

Written 2 years ago
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Doris Smith completed this course.

Robert Burns: Poems, Songs and Legacy

Written 2 years ago
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Doris Smith completed this course.

The Holocaust: an Introduction - Part 1

Written 2 years ago
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Doris Smith completed this course.

The Holocaust: an Introduction - Part 2

Written 2 years ago
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Doris Smith completed this course.

World War 1: Changing Faces of Heroism

Written 2 years ago
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Doris Smith completed this course.

Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction

Written 2 years ago
My rating
Doris Smith completed this course.

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