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Free mental model class


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Thanks for posting!


Below is a review of  Coursera (http://www.cs101-class.org/hub.php), the venture behind this and a handful of other online classes. It's basically Stanford's answer to MIT's OpenCourseWare.


Review from http://blog.remoteresponder.net/tag/coursera/


I am a big fan of so-called Open Educational Resources (OER)  including free on-line video courses. Stanford’s Databases course is the 12th I’ve completed, but only the second in which I did a “deep dive” by reinforcing learning with exercises, quizzes and exams. In general, I use OER video courses as edutainment  as I usually find the extra work too time-consuming: my goal is to broadly understand how the world works, not to build expertise in every subject I study! So, conceptually, I prefer the traditional form of video courses pioneered by MIT’s OpenCourseWare which in contrast with Stanford’s new approach might be called archived courses. Archived courses make the material available without (m)any social tools. So, working through the materials in traditional OER courses usually requires extra self-discipline and commitment (unless you just watch the videos for fun as I often do).


Stanford’s OER system, online at coursera.org , builds on the basic idea of OER video courses by adding deadlines, interactive feedback from automatically evaluated work, and some, including the Databases course, offer the ability to earn a “Statement of Accomplishment” for demonstrating basic proficiency. It is precisely these social enhancements that makes Stanford’s initiative so noteworthy. Together these social tools provide a shared experience with a clear set of tasks for a cohort of students working through the course at the same time.


The extra interactivity and the focus of deadlines give the Stanford approach to OER a special excitement and sense of goal accomplishment which is absent in archived courses. Even though I prefer the archived courses whose videos can be more entertaining than Stanford’s tutorial-focused approach, I have to admit I was enthralled by the deadlines: they kept me focused. It should be emphasized that Stanford’s courses like the more traditional OER archival courses can be pursued at a pace that suits your time and interest: there’s no imperative to follow the deadlines or earn kudos for accomplishments.

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  • 1 month later...

Sanjay has some very nice lecture notes on the web. Great guy, I've occasionally corresponded with him.  i think he also runs a small fund in India.


I've looked at the pdf of his lectures over the years.  They are excellent.  He periodically revises them.  I have not read the latest revisions.  His lectures principally relate to mental models useful for finance. (BTW, guys don't crash his site; it's slow enough already.)


Also check out his personal reading list: http://www.sanjaybakshi.net/Sanjay_Bakshi/Books.html

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