Mid-semester reflections: Model Thinking Coursera Course

Well, I’m just about to listen to the last two lectures before the mid-term exam for Scott Page‘s Model Thinking course on Coursera.  This course has far exceeded my expectations (thankfully)!

I feel that I am more engaged than in the first two courses I took – I sit there with pen and paper as he goes through different models.  Pausing the videos after he beings a model, I try to puzzle it out first.  I also feel as though the assessment quizes are much better designed than in the other courses I’ve taken.  For example, the midterm (which I have yet to take) will have questions and if you don’t like your score you can re-take it but the questions will be slightly different.  Finally, in general, I really feel I have a new appreciation for models, their goals, what they can and cannot do, the patterns they can generate, and a sense of several classes of models that can be applied to a range of different problems.  It’s quite exciting to be in an everyday conversation or experience and to think “oh!  this relates to the standing ovation model!” or “oh!  the cellular automata model could predict this pattern!”  It’s nice.  Here’s an incredibly well-done re-cap of the course that you can peruse if you’re interested in the substance of what we’re learning.

I also really enjoy Scott Page’s straightforward and direct style.  It’s very sweet too that at the beginning and end of each sub-lecture (they range from 3-20 minutes), Scott laughs in this very unassuming “I’m feeling a little awkward talking to a camera” way.  I love that.  It’s this tacit acknowledgement that he really is talking to several tens of thousands of students but he has no sense of that reach physically right there and then.

In closing this little reflections piece, I would just say that this has made me feel that my forays into Coursera have been worth it!  I just wish I could freeze time and really take “History of the World since 1300,” “Introduction to Mathematical Thinking,” “Securing our Digital Democracy,” “Introduction to Operations Management” and about five other courses I signed up for as I was shopping around…


One thought on “Mid-semester reflections: Model Thinking Coursera Course

  1. Pingback: Scott Page really rocks | Sarah Barbrow

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