If you are ready to learn, Coursera is ready to teach
Overall Satisfaction with Coursera
- Interaction: the student learns by doing. For programming courses, this means programming!
- Assessments: the courses I'd taken ask students to grade each others work with a rubric. This is hugely effective and permits tests and quizzes to be other than multiple choice.
- Creativity and enthusiasm of the instructors. Some of the approaches demonstrated real out-of-the-box thinking by the instructors. For example, the Rice Python course was a self-contained website requiring no installation of IDE on one's computer, and the final project was a working version of Asteroids.
- Low cost of entry: most of the course I enrolled in were free, with an optional fee for certifications. This really gives people the freedom to explore learning. It's almost like a Public Library of Learning.
- Coursera forces a weekly discipline on the user with lectures and assignments and this really motivates one to put in the effort.
- If you leave the projects for the weekends, your Sunday nights could be a drag. But I list this as a benefit also, it enforces discipline on the learning process.
- I hope Coursera continues to offer no-cost and low-cost learning opportunities.
- I honestly can't think of any serious deficiency in the product. I am a huge fan.
- I learned R 100% on Coursera and used it on several critical analysis projects.
- I brought in R and Python (both learned in Coursera) to the Enterprise as the foundation of our analytics capabilities.
It's absolutely ideal for programming. Today, most programming environments are available for free and enthusiasts can tinker with programming on their own. But Coursera structures that process and presents iteratively more complex assignments to the student.
I found it useful for non-programming. I took a refresher Calculus course and the user was able to enter solutions symbolically which I found impressive.