MOOC: Weeks 2 & 3

October 4, 2013

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Almost halfway through my Coursera MOOC on Understanding Media by Understanding Google (see previous post here.)  It is fairly intense.  I am still doing about 4-5 hours of work per week.

So far, we have learned quite a bit. Week 1 focused on search and how Google works.  Week 2 consisted of Google News and Google Books, as well as a 300 word essay.  Week 3 had us exploring advertising (if you haven’t taken a look at how AdWords and AdSense works, and how those ads get to the top and side of your search page, you should! It is fascinating!)

Observations:

1. I suck at the quizzes.  I take them at least twice.  They are generally 5 points, and usually I get about 3 or 3.5.  However, I do the readings, watch the lectures, and take notes, so I am not worrying about it.

2. It is hard to write in 300-350 words a summary of the questions they give us for our peer graded written work.  I say this as a book reviewer who needs to keep the reviews under 200.  My experience as a book reviewer has served me well, but I imagine this is hard for others.

3. The forums are quite active. In the past day there has been a heated exchange on plagiarism, as Professor Youngman pointed out that someone had found a peer had cut/pasted from Wikipedia.  No one condones the cheating, but the fact that there are 40,000 people from many, many countries with many languages means there may be different cultural aspects or misunderstandings happening.  My hope is that the professor will educate everyone even more on plagiarism and how it exists in many forms.  There is an honor code, so we are told about doing one’s own work.  I am curious as to how this will all turn out.

4. I have already used one of the concepts learned in the class about the “filter bubble” (see the TED Talk here) as part of a website evaluation class I taught at my job, and the instructor was really fascinated by it.  So I am already passing on the knowledge!

I will get my first peer evaluation results on Monday and have finished this week’s homework and quiz already.  I am going to start Week 4 lectures this weekend, which focuses on YouTube.

Besides the fact that the class takes a lot of time, I am enjoying it and learning.  You definitely have to be able to be diligent and self-motivated, though, to be successful.

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