Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

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Deleted User 2764

Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby Deleted User 2764 » 05 Oct 2014 14:36

@patzy: I can see where someone would not understand what a "string" in programming is. Fortunately I picked up really quick that it means a group of characters and not something the cat loves to play with. :)
Zill wrote:Unfortunately, some "real world" problems can only be solved by using abstract mathematical concepts such as, for example, "imaginary numbers".
Imaginary numbers in the real world? Seems like an oxymoron! :lol: But, I don't think in terms of "real" or "imaginary". Everything exists. Just in different planes. Maybe my definition would be a language that attempts to explain things that another language cannot or is more efficitent at explaining things that other languages would be. But I personally don't see a use for such "high math" in what I want to do (or I guess I'd make other attempts to understand it first). It's a crypic language to me and here you have professors using natural language to explain math language to explain something else. It's just... wierd.

But I'm not a mathemetician and don't intend to be.

Now many who are not programmers would think *I* am weird! (Ok, more than programmers but that's another subject entirely :lol: ) I mean I remember the days in FidoNet when we had a blast writing obfuscated code (anyone remember that?) That probably would have sent many heads spinning. Yet I can understand what the code is doing and sometimes even get a laugh now and then. :)

Like patzy said, each subject, etc. has it's own language. But in looking for courses to learn in areas of interest, I am finding one really has to pay attention to the "language" that it will be using. I thought "Machine learning" meant programming. Both courses mentioned you need programming knowledge. But the coureses both put too much emphesis on and use a lot of "high math" concepts and formulas and I can't see where the programming is going to fit in. That's like they are trying to convert high math formulas into natural language and from there into programming code or math into code into natural language. Too many languages. Too confusing. Imagine trying to start off in C then convert it into BASIC and from there into Cobol. Good luck with that. Yes, it can be done (heck, I don't know Cobol but I probably could do that somehow if I really needed/wanted to). But then tell a beginner who only knows a small amount of C and is proficient in BASIC and knows no Cobol to do it. Won't happen.

That's the analogy I use because these courses seem like they are doing that. I don't think their descriptions really accurately describe the prerequisites.

But online learning is still new so they probably need to tweak some things first. These new education sites are getting started and are competing for most courses offered, so they are right now taking anything the Universities (who are trying to "get out there in the internet") can give them, even if the courses aren't well made for the internet learning platform yet.

One thing I read in the Caltech course a few times (especially discussion area) is that they are giving the online learners exactly what they give to the students attending the bring-and-morter school. This is a big mistake because the student base online is very different with different learning backgrounds and abilities and goals than those who are going to the actual school. The course has to reflect that for the maximum best results.

They have a way to go yet. But hopefully this thread will help pick out the good ones from the not-yet-ready ones.

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Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby oneleaf » 05 Oct 2014 18:00

As a math guy foremost, I don't think these courses are intentionally being wanky. Most CS programs start off with concurrent requirements of math courses and it is just the language they use to express logic, which is what programming is all about. It is way more pure than English. I recently did a few functions for a small application based on set theory, and as they got more complex, it became exceedingly tedious to explain them in English. It really depends on what kind of approach you get on with as well as the language. Functional languages that have a preference for immutable values will tend to have a lot of reference to high math concepts because it is the best way to express the ideas. Tranlating to English first would be more akin to what you are complaining about (translation of a translation) then just speaking the language of mathematics.

Deleted User 2764

Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby Deleted User 2764 » 05 Oct 2014 19:08

I'm not sure I understood all that - no offense. I have a saying now that I can understand programming code but I can't understand math. :lol: Hey, it's true! I can program but math? Well, no thanks. Yes, math is needed but I seem to get by on just what I know and what I don't know I figure it out some other way. And as some here can tell you, I can be pretty bad even at the basics. :oops:

I think the reason I never learned such a confusing language is the same reason I haven't learned any other natural language other than English. No interest, too confusing and I didn't (and still don't) have the time for it.

Hey, you can't know everything! I do but that's beside the point. :twisted: (No I don't - I was just kidding! :mrgreen: )

I think they should put up in red "Don't take this course if you're bad at math!" :lol:

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Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby oneleaf » 05 Oct 2014 19:43

Have you ever looked into the Golang? I have been doing a lot of coding in Go, and you might find it interesting. Feels more imperative, and more low level than Python, and I think the creators sort of shunned the overly academic approaches. You can learn it without thinking about math. :)

I rewrote a database application from Python to Go and immediately saw better performance. It has some neat capabilities in concurrency, has a fantastic standard library, and the documentation is very performance centric and well written. I heard the GTK toolkit is coming along too so we may see Go more prevalent in Linux GUI programming some day.

Deleted User 2764

Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby Deleted User 2764 » 05 Oct 2014 21:25

Looked at the first part of the video. Looks like a more complicated version of C. You know the old saying, so many languages, so little time. I also want to look at Wolfram language.

But for now, I'm going to keep working on Python and finish the course I'm currently taking. One language at a time! :)

Deleted User 2764

Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby Deleted User 2764 » 09 Oct 2014 17:43

I've dropped out of the Python course. I just don't have the time for doing all that and the homework too. I was ill and fell behind. Then when I got recovered enough, a lot of personal problems arose that piled on one after another and I have virtually no time for school or anything other than having to take care of these things and try to keep up at work. That's it.

Maybe I'll just learn from the self-paced tutorials that are on the web. That way I can do things when I have the time.

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Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby mhwelsh » 10 Oct 2014 12:35

Be patient - not a patient. Recuperate and start again.
Good luck.

martin welsh

Deleted User 2764

Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby Deleted User 2764 » 10 Oct 2014 13:18

Thank you. Doing my best. :) After the smoke clears with what is going on in life right now, I hope to resume studying but probably will do things in a more self-paced way, so that there's some room in case something comes up, I can put it aside and return when I've taken care of what I need to.

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Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby patzy » 11 Oct 2014 01:03

So far, I've enrolled in four EdX courses as an auditor. That way I get all the benefits without the hassle of deadlines. I can ask questions, join in discussions, have a go at the test questions and even do the exams if I want to.

I'm trying out some of the subjects I know little about and am learning a lot. Just now I'm doing The Greek Hero in 24 Hours, during the first 'hour' I wondered why I was bothering, but now I'm hooked on it.

So my recommendation is to try something different and relax with it.

It's working well for me. :D

Deleted User 2764

Re: Are you taking Online Courses? Discuss here!

Postby Deleted User 2764 » 11 Oct 2014 01:21

The Python course I was taking was via coursera and I don't know if they had the ability to audit a course. Still too much going on even to audit a course or do any study.

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