Blog Inception

This blog is dedicated to documenting my projects and learning journey. The Philomath means a lover of knowledge and Ingeniare is latin for engineer. I am a undergraduate CS student, MOOC enthusiast and a voracious learner. Although I have a variety of interests in different fields, my main concentration will be in the fields of computer science and psychology. The blog itself will be organized into a few categories, which would consist of:

  1. Weekly postings (posting that will contain updates for the week, where I will try to make all kinds of connections between related and unrelated subjects that I have learned throughout the week)
  2. Focused topic posting (will be more organized around a particular topic of interest that requires in-depth research)
  3. Course review (a MOOC course review, containing a final project for each course)
  4. Book review (a review of a book of particular interest to me)

The MOOC spectrum is expanding to cover a wide range of topics and the teaching is constantly getting better thanks to data collection and analysis of its students. Here I would like to compare a MOOC sources:

  • EDX – quality courses consisting of video lectures and interactive small quizzes (the number of organizations is limited but the quality of the courses are top-notch)
  • Coursera – wide range of topics from business to machine learning (has a more diversified courses from international universities)
  • Udacity – great quality self-paced courses (currently, most of the courses are about computer science or tech-related)
  • FutureLearn – courses are mostly from UK and other European universities and the courses tend to have much less work involved but encourage more participation in the forums
  • Open2Study – has free courses backed by the Open Universities of Australia (OUA) tends to have more focused courses around a particular topic

I will mostly be using Edx and coursera for learning, but will rely on other sources depending on the availability of the specific topics that I am interested in. Here are the courses that I am enrolled in outside of my current college curriculum as of September 2009:

  • Harvard CS50 – Introduction to Computer Science – I have heard that they cover a lot of material and that they have a good evaluation system for evaluating assignments.
  • MIT 6.00.1x – Intro to Computer Science and Python – it is usually great to cover the material from multiple sources if time permits because it allows one to find out what is important about the topic by finding the topics that persist in multiple sources and repetition is always beneficial as long as it is appropriately spaced out.
  • Think101 – Science of everyday thinking – this course is of particular interest to me because I am very much interested in meta-cognition and thinking about thinking. I think that in the information age, we need to become increasingly aware of the faults of our brains that usually go unnoticed. The “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman is a great book on this subject.
  • Science of Happiness (Berkeley) – I am amazed to such a course exists. Positive psychology and the science of happiness is vital for success in a career in any type of field.
  • Discovery Precalculus – I have taken a calculus class before but this course takes on a unique approach and its emphasis on critical thinking skills and applied calculus has allured me to take it
  • Intro to Psychology – I am very interested in psychology but never got the chance to formally learn it. Thanks to the inception of MOOCs, I finally have the opportunity to do so.

It might be quite a workload, especially the two CS courses but the main advantage of MOOCs is that they can be done anywhere and anytime. Since the lectures themselves are segmented into small chunks, my main strategy for time management will be to learn during commute and break time.

So, to kick-off my first post, what could be more appropriate than starting off with a course on getting started with online learning? The course itself turned out to be aimed at a particular audience (adult learners), but it has asked some relevant questions about informal online education, such as time management, self-motivation and so on.

 

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