I’m coming to the end of week two of the Coursera Statistics One course, with just the quiz and assignment to do over the weekend. There have been a lot of forum postings because people are having difficulty using R, with many people saying they’re dropping out because of the problems they’re having getting the software to run and get results etc, particularly since there were some errors in the main lectures, for example hist(someVar) was used when it should have been hist(someObject$someVar). I’ve been posting to the forums and helping out where I can, which has fitted nicely with the eModerating course I’ve also been taking over the last two weeks. In response, Coursera has posted a number of video tutorials on using R by a female staff member. She’s very good – the tutorials are detailed and comprehensive without being confusing. For example, she demos common mistakes and what the corresponding error messages look like, but this is where Mr Grumpy makes an appearance. This is week two and these videos have been created specifically to help people with R, but there are mistakes in them. At one point, list.files() is shown as all one word, which would give an error.
- Is is too much to ask that something as well funded as Coursera using video as the primary teaching method could actually produce videos without errors in them?
- This is week two – surely anyone who’s used R would see the need to give support to students who’ve never encountered it before (and probably are strangers to the command line as well) from the beginning of the course and possibly as a week 0 activity.
- There is no certificate of achievement (not an issue for me) but quiz and assignment submissions were initially restricted to one attempt only. If there’s no certificate, why not allow multiple attempts from the start so that students can master the materials and fomatively assess their own progress?
Whatever happened to learning design? How does the initial course presentation meet Professor Conway’s aim of maximising retention? And just to make it clear, I’m criticising the pedagogy here, not the content or the presentation of the content, which I find to be very good.
I’d be interested in hearing perspectives from others on the course.