> 7. Neglecting to read the textbook before you start working problems.
I think it's a perfectly valid approach. I found that trying to solve the problems first helped me form questions which I would then seek to answer by reading the text. Of course then I would go back to the problems and try to solve them again. Rinse and repeat until I could solve them with confidence.
I'm a total autodidact. I've been doing it long enough that I know what works for me, but I know that many people don't have the base knowledge to do it, so if they need a resource on how to become a better self-learner (or be successful at coursera), at least it is a start.
I agree with that in general, but I do also find that it's much less intimidating to start out on something easy (so you're more likely to start) and also helps you to ease into a state of focus. In college I would usually start with a reading (while taking reading notes) since it was something I knew I could always do without too much fuss. Afterward, it was much easier to start in on thornier stuff.
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ankimobile-flashcards/id3734... ($24.99)
Having spend much of yesterday grading, this one rings true. As a professor it is incredibly disappointing to get an assignment from a student who clearly didn't understand the assignment and decided to fake it only to do the assignment totally wrong.
Students, if you are confused: 1. read the directions 2. look on the syllabus (I get way too many emails with questions that are answered in the directions or the syllabus) and then 3. ask the instructor
Example: "Don't repeatedly solve problems you already know how to solve." That's great if the test is only looking to see whether you know how to solve the problem. If instead you are going to be tested on how quickly you can solve multiple iterations of the problem, extensive repetition is a necessity.
There are also times when passive reading wholly absent understanding is not a bad things. This is particularly true in law and history. Any law student who properly understands an assigned reading prior to a lecture need not bother attending class. Often you must just read and retain material on the expectation that it will make sense later. Either it will be explained in person, or at some point you will attain a critical mass of knowledge. At law school that is normally at the start of the second year, when you start making links between the various disciplines and suddenly it all starts making sense.
What's your solution to that? Enrolling into paid courses only? Approaching courses with a different mindset altogether?
If it is something that will help you achieve one of your most precious goals, then think about why you have that goal. Then when it's time to watch the next video, or do the next piece of homework, think of that reason. If you're mildly bored and don't have a compelling reason to keep going, you'll lose focus quickly. If you have that "why," you have a reason to keep making progress even if you're bored or tired.
A support group or even just an individual can also help. Get someone to take the course along with you, and there will be tons of benefits. You'll see that it's possible, you won't want to fall behind on conversations with your friend, and you will enjoy it more. Failing that, at the very least have an accountability partner who can help remind you of why you have this goal, and check up on you. Having someone call you up and ask "did you finish lesson 3 this week like you said you would?" can be a great motivator.
Those are all short-term tips. If you want information on how to increase your willpower overall, I recommend reading Kelly McGonigal's The Willpower Instinct, a very action-oriented scientific look at willpower.
If I could resume at my own pace, I'd have finished courses that I gave up on.
I wonder if this schedule is a carry over from how college courses are run. Perhaps there are those who need the discipline of a schedule. It'd have been nice to have a choice between a schedule as well as an "at your pace".
Coursera and all the others should focus on this part of the problem, not by asking for more money, that will just make them less likely to try again. Maybe calling the student after a few weeks of inactivity could be one way to help, another one may be to create and maintain local study groups (having free food is always a good incentive), another one is to be "paired" with another online student so you feel a little social pressure.
This is the biggest difference for me between courses that I have started and courses that I have finished. Meeting with someone in real life, even if it's just for an hour a week, easily creates the pressure to continue on that an email reminder simply doesn't do.
-create a linode, AWS or DO instance.
- Have trusted friend config wireless router to use new instance IP for DNS.
- Run modified nodejs dnsjack on new instance.
- Add my SmartMadre traffic control code to instance. Config oAuth or our APIanySite
- Now, code will cut off non allowed sites after X mins. SmartMadre code requires some amount of measurable progress to allow full internet back
- give trusted friend control of instance. You and friend could get email showing amount of daily progress.
- Suggestions welcome!
But you raise an important point. Doing it with a friend. It helps so much because you motivate eachother and there's also a bit of friendly competition and raising eachother's bar.
1. Set a clear goal, e.g "By the end of September I want to work through the course solve all the exercises".
2. Tell another friend what I'm doing and make a bet, every time I don't finish the weeks assignments in time I'll pay 50€.
3. Plan the evening before at what time I'm going to sit down and do this course.
In my opinion, the challenges of self-teaching are to be able to study regularly over a longer period of time, and not only read/watch things but do exercises. Those things are enforced at school, but can be difficult to reproduce in a less constrained setting. For that, the MOOC are quite useful. My only grief is that I usually don't like the videos. I'd be happier with a book.
I'm usually listening to things while cleaning, driving, etc, for entertainment rather than maximizing learning. My experience has been that if someone introduces a really novel concept or historical fact in a talk, it will sink in and stick with me for a long time.
I've found a lot of fantastic material in this university's lectures-
I'm working on a search engine to curate a wider range of these, although it's still very much a work in progress-
There seems to be a bug with the filter on the left side: after you select one and the page reload, subsequent attempts to filter won't work.
I actually have been working on a similar kind of search engine, albeit being a more "proper" search engine + crawler combination rather than curation likes yours. It's great to see other works like yours for inspiration :-).
Would love the ability to search through these materials that are audio only.
I'm working on adding a feature so that every search result can be subscribed to as a podcast as well, so you can listen to everything on one topic by different people.
I'd love that podcast subscription capability, though listening to it in HTML5 means I can speed up the playback without having to download the audio file first (my podcast app, PocketCast, doesn't let me do this).
A while ago, I was thinking about doing a search engine on top of audio. The startup deepgram seemed to offer interesting tools, but didn't get a chance to play with it:
Currently I have it searching transcripts, but I want to get machine transcriptions in as well, because it should work better how often someone says 'um', which I'm going to try as one of the ranking factors.
I wonder when MOOC providers will start providing "study halls" using WebRTC video...
It worked in that I stuck with it, but the amount of time I spend on the original course didn't divide by two hours so I did also spend a little bit of time on another course.
/at this point I should clarify I am an unpaid shill for beeminder, not a paid one.
I think the Kahn academy model is a much better one where you complete things in much smaller units and can pick up where you left off, but it doesn't really get into more advanced material.
I see people say there's value in completing the course with others, but I value the flexibility.
Of course completion is low, there is no cost to signing up so many people will do it on a whim.
The real Achilles heal is certification, for it to be valued employers need to be convinced you aren't cheating and that the assessment is rigorous.
I find it a shame that MOOCs these days are trying to duplicate the brick and mortar experience, because they really could be offering so much more.
Does a MOOC have an interest in creating longer courses that seem like they're worthy of certification, rather than just teaching people quickly and effectively?
I really don't think this is it either, because you have to be naive to think there isn't massive cheating that goes on in traditional universities. I would venture to guess that cheating is perhaps lower currently with the students who complete MOOC's because the fact that there is no current incentive to do so. Also it's not that it isn't rigorous either -- at least for some of the EdX courses they are almost 1:1 translations of the OpenCourseWare versions, which themselves are just the actual classes they teach at MIT.
With that said I do believe that they should be valued and have a lot more credibility.
The main things I took away were:
* focused and diffuse thinking - I now take short walks at work if I'm struggling with problems for a bit and often find I come up with an alternative approach when I'm not focusing as tightly
* repetition and recall - I take notes and then create flash cards to force recalling information
Additionally, learning the science behind why you lose information so fast after a cramming session has been helpful too. I really wish I had learned this info before attending college, it could have made a big difference for me.
It did seem a bit gimmicky and superficial at first, but once the course progresses, you realize that the material itself heavily applies the techniques that they describe in the course (e.g. spaced repetition, visual associations).
I do the opposite. I do the easiest things first, so I can concentrate on the harder problems without the easy ones being on my mind.
Also, I just don't work that well in the morning. Later in the day is best for me for my most difficult tasks.
I also remember that the instructors were very good - positive and enthusiastic, and that they explained the concepts very well.
In general, it's hard to remember contents of courses I think. I often try to write a review of the course, either as a blog post, or on one of the review sites (Course Talk or Class Central). The act of deciding what was the most important parts, and expressing it in words go a long way towards remembering better.
Examples of reviews:
Get enough sleep.
Learn to chunk large bits of information.
Get a high level overview before diving into the small details.
Learn to use things you already know to make connections to new topics.
Don't over learn, cramming in one go rarely works, it's best to study, forget about it, come back at it, it will stick with more exposure. meaning, get the knowledge into your long term memory.
Use pomodoro technique, to beat procrastination.
Its hard to guage how it might help with motivation to get started with MOOCS, but I'd say it's more valuable than all the content just to remember for any topic: "don't believe you know it (or waste time passively studying it) unless you test yourself on it" and "use spaced repitition or you will forget it, but think you still know it."
I don't know that I can recall many specifics, but the most noticeable effect of the course for me was a greater awareness of what state of mind I'm in when approaching a task, how appropriate that state of mind is to what I'm trying to achieve, and how my choice of activities and working methods are likely to shape that state of mind.
MOOC deniers are asking if they a) adequately satisfy the requirements from education, an important part of which is the actual completion of the course and b) are economically viable.
Let us leave aside the question of whether you decide if it is a good idea whether to gamble at Vegas by talking only to those who hit the jackpot. 
Barbara Oakley's defense seems to be:
1. "Look at how many people can now learn this stuff" 
2. "Look at all the new and amazing things which happen when students can play, pause, rewind and resume the lesson, or when teachers can use all the technologies at their disposal" .
3. To fellow instructors: "Please try a little better. The problem might be the way you teach"
And remember that teaching someone how to learn is not exactly at the same level of rigor or conceptual difficulty  of teaching someone calculus. If you have ever seen a screencast of some really dense material  from some really smart people and see them struggle to "hold the stack in their head", so to speak, as they present their thoughts in public view, you know the process starts becoming seriously challenging as the subject increases in difficulty. Here are some quotes from Barbara Oakley's articles, which I think are good examples of things which don't scale very well as the material becomes more rigorous.
"Good online courses make students feel professors are speaking directly to them. A teacher’s direct focus on the camera translates as personal attention in the videos. Students develop a sense of familiarity; we are often seen as friendly private tutors. It makes us more approachable and “listen-to-able.” It’s not that we’re replacing teachers in a classroom. It’s that we serve as additional personalized resources, despite the fact that we’re explaining at massive scales. And I should mention that every single video lecture I give in our MOOC is the best lecture on that topic I’ve ever given in my life."
"Terry and I made “Learning How to Learn” for less than $5,000, and largely in my basement. I had no previous film editing experience—in fact, I could barely click a camera shutter. Much of the moving imagery for the course was created using simple PowerPoint slides. So I would issue a challenge to MOOC critics. Make your own online course. Film the most interesting, most insightful lecture you’ve ever given in your life. If you don’t think your lecture is good enough, reshoot it until you’re happy. Make your video available for millions of students around the world, not just the privileged few in your classes. Come up with questions for a quiz on the mistakes you most commonly see in your classes. You will learn more than you know about the outreach and capabilities of MOOCs. More importantly, you will exemplify a wonderful openness for learning to students everywhere."
 "She cited a range of groups who are promoting the course from the California State Prison System, federal K-12 teacher certificate programs, as well as refugee camps in Somalia and Sudan, where she asserted that students threatened to overwhelm the meager Internet bandwidth available in those countries." - from original article
 "I would venture to say most MOOC deniers have little experience with creating and teaching online courses. The reality is MOOCs can be artistically and technically fascinating and can have terrific pedagogical advantages. This is particularly true in the fraught area of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), where difficult explanations often cry out for a student to replay a portion of a lecture, or simply to take a pause while comprehension works its way to consciousness. "
 For example, I would like to know how the students assessed the satisfactory completion of the material to decide whether they are, indeed, better learners. And then compare it with whether their actual learning rate improved in their future endeavors.
Edits: some edits for readability
 I mean this in two senses. One, of course, is the choice of subject, among thousands of possible ones - something as meta as "Learning how to learn" has a few built in advantages when it comes to measuring popularity. Two, I don't mean it in the sense of a skill-less person getting the luck of the draw to achieve the desired result. I mean in the sense of how there are bound to be a few jackpot winners in a large enough sample, and studying them is misleading because the takeaway messages are not universally applicable.
Sure, "Most popular MOOC" is a gimmick -- CGPGrey or Veritasium could claim that any of their YouTube videos are the most popular MOOC.
To really evaluate this course, they should compare students who take this course plus other, vs students who only take others. (Which has blindness problems, but it's a start)