Back to School

Sophie Gill · 27 January, 2020

I’m still going through the process of registering for my BSc in Computer Science. However, as this is one of the first fully online degrees from the University of London, there are three taster courses currently available on Coursera.

I’ve started ‘auditing’ the courses, which means I can work through the material for free, but I won’t receive a mark or certification.

If I wanted to have my work certified then there is a monthly fee payable, but I just wanted to have a taster of online learning.

So far, it’s been pretty different to the work I do at Makers! The ‘lessons’ are highly structured, as are the challenges.

To be honest, it’s not been that easy to come back to traditional education and a formal learning environment.

Some of the positive’s I’ve noticed so far are:

  • It’s easy to spend just an hour or two learning
  • The material is engaging
  • Most of the material is video based, but you can watch it at 1.5x or even 2x speed if you want to cover the material more quickly.
  • The challenges are in-depth, you can’t skim on the information.

The biggest negative for me has to be the structured nature of the challenges. I’m currently working through a challenge using p5.js and I’m feeling pretty comfortable with the library - but I have to complete every step.

The challenge is supposed to take 3 hours, but I’m already 2 hours in and the end isn’t in sight! The challenge contains a high-degree of repetition, which might be useful for someone who is new to JavaScript, but I’m pretty familiar and want to move on to more complex problems more quickly.

But, it’s great to have the opportunity to experience studying in the evenings, before I make a big commitment. Overall, I’m still excited to start the course 😊

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