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A Learning Experiment

January 9, 2013

I’ve been looking for ways to improve the way I do my job, which is mostly writing and editing, but at a higher level it’s teaching people. That was the goal of SQLServerCentral, to help people learn about SQL Server and become better at their jobs.

Last summer I was looking at a few of the other online learning techniques, and decided to give one a try. I signed up for a Single Variable Calculus class at Coursera. It was delivered by Professor Ghrist from the University of Pennsylvania. There were some problems getting started, and the course was delayed from August until January. I had forgotten about this during the busy fall, but the first week of January I received an email that the class would start on Jan 7, and sure enough, I got a welcome email with a note to start.

The class is set up as you might expect for a college class. I received a syllabus, some introductory remarks (8 minutes, about what I’d get in class), grading instructions, and an initial exam to see how prepared I am. I’ll be starting this week, setting aside a little time a few nights a week to work through this.

I thought this would be a good class to understand the delivery mechanisms and structures as I have had 7 or 8 semester of calculus, though that was over 20 years ago. I’m hoping this won’t take too much time, but it will give me a chance to review some skills I’ll need to help my son in a few years, and it should be fun. I like math.

I’m also looking for ideas that might help me build some better features for my regular job.

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4 Comments
  1. Stephen permalink

    You may be interested in “Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application”, another course in the Coursera catalog. https://www.coursera.org/course/foe

    As far as delivery goes, even though I’m not a fan of Jim Cramer, I always thought his Mad Money show on CNBC was a great example of how to keep an audience entertained while trying to educate them. After watching that, any technical presentation fell flat.

    Good luck with the calculus. I’ll be taking the Coursera classes “Data Analysis” and “Health Informatics in the Cloud” starting in late January. Quite looking forward to them.

  2. Stephen, thanks, I’ll check that out. Single Variable Calc is kicking my butt a touch on some things I don’t remember.

    I definitely want to go through a few others, and I’m tempted to write a course for SQLServerCentral and deliver that.

  3. Good luck on the course. I’m a huge fan of calculus personally. It’s not exactly a course, but if you like math you might want to look at Applied Mathematics for Database Professionals by Lex de Haan. I’m working my way through it and it has been enlightening even though my undergrad was in mathm.

  4. I need to do some more math for DBA stuff. I was thinking to do some stats work next, since that’s an area that is likely important for future career stuff.

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