About 5 weeks ago I was poking through the forums here on ATS and I kept getting ads for Edx
so I decided to click on
it and see what they had to offer. Right off the top I was pretty impressed with the variety of courses they had available. So I figured I'd give
it a try and enrolled in 'CS For all' which is an introductory Computer Science course from Harvey Mudd College and they teach coding in Python.
I am now on week 3 of my adventure and I have this to say about it:
It is so worth the time!
It's bugged tho... The automatic grader is kind of a pain because the homework for each module has 6 -10 questions on average, but you have to get
all the questions right in order to pass. So basically you're stuck with either scoring 100% or 0. That kind of sucks, but really, it's the only
issue I see. I'm only on week 3 of 17 and I've already learned quite a lot. I didn't know anything about programming before and I feel pretty
good about myself because I've gone from 'WTF is code?' to being able to write small programs for every kind of calculator I can think of. I
haven't gotten to the lessons where we learn to build actual apps yet, I'm still learning recursive functions, lists, proper syntax etc. However, I
can make text based programs already and I have written a calculator that can work out displacement and predicted Horsepower output for an internal
combustion engine. I also did a ballistics calculator and all kinds of calculators for Electronics. (ohms law, calculate charge, resistor color
codes, etc) I know that doesn't sound too impressive, but when you consider that 3 weeks ago I knew nothing about code, it's pretty good.
The support on the site is alright too. The staff will answer your questions and they're nice about it. Myself, along with a few other people who
have enrolled, are having some trouble with a few concepts and the staff are patient and helpful. I don't feel like I'm being belittled because
I'm asking 'dumb questions.' That's always a plus. They are a little slow to get to your questions, usually takes a day or two, but I cant blame
them. This is done all by volunteer so to complain would be silly. It is after all, FREE!
The information they have available is also top notch. You get access to all the same literature that you would get if you took the course at the
school and there's more than enough info on the internet to fill in any blanks. The discussion board for the course is moderated well and there's
no threat of having other students make fun of you or talk down to you. Most of the people enrolled are quick to help too. I've had a few of my
questions answered by other students and it was a pleasing experience.
This course isn't without it's issues though. Right now the course page is down because of a problem with the grader and the whole system got
fudged. This is to be expected though, it's a new course and they're still ironing out the wrinkles.
I'm going to try and keep my review of this course going until the end because I feel that free education is the best education and now that we have
access to it, it should be promoted. I know ATS has a rule about discussing the Ads they have, so I hope I'm not in any violation of the board
rules! If I am, then I apologize. I just want to try and get more people into this. Although in it's infancy, it's still a great idea.
So far, I give this course a big thumbs up and I'm thinking about enrolling in another one.
It's worth noting that although the course is free, you will need to pay $50 if you want to earn a certificate when you pass. If you don't pay the
$50, you still get the information so it's really no loss either way.
So whether you are looking to get a new education and a new career, or just want to learn something new for fun, I would strongly recommend