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What a mess!


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I am very dissapointed.

When I started my first specialsation almost 2 years ago, the course forums were still lively functioning platforms with a social aspect to it.

Then Coursera decided, like almost every platform, to work with 'Facebook Connect', which killed the forums.

We were told that there would be a facebook page for the courses. Any of those I have not found yet.

Now there is a 'Community', within Coursera's homepage, which I believe one must be a computer expert (I am not) to find ones way around. Are Coursera aware that there are students, who were not born with a screen glued to their noses?

Yesterday, after some time, I managed to enter the community, and also write a comment, but today, I have been back and forth, for I don't know how long and have still not found a way in, except to write this comment.

One can hardly call Coursera a community any longer, I certainly have no sense of belonging to a community anymore. In this aspect I am deeply dissapointed.

Kind regards,

Liliane

14 replies

@Xamãma
In the 7 years I have been with Coursera I have not seen a promise of Facebook pages. Some of my profs have created pages privately, and some universities have too, but not through Coursera as far as I am aware.
The drop in forums participation came with the rolling out of the ‘New Platform’ which allowed students to join courses whenever they want, so, people are all at different points in their courses. Also the unlimited chances to submit assignments and quizzes took away a lot of the discussions.
all in all things have changed a lot.....
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Thank you for your answer. I would be tempted to say, that if it is "The drop in forums participation came with the rolling out of the ‘New Platform’ which allowed students to join courses whenever they want....", which is the course of it, then it was a very bad move for the students. The forums, which offered both opportunities to learn, to socialise and feel part of a community, have been destroyed and it has diminished the value of the courses significantly.

It is a damn shame, sorry to be so blunt. I hope Coursera will realise this in time, and revert it back to set start and finish of courses.
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Hi @Xamãma Liliane,

Thanks for your feedback! As @Lochcarron mentioned, one of the unfortunate side effects of our transition to having courses start every few weeks has been the decline of activity in the course discussion forums.

Although it is, as you put it, a shame, we do think that the many other benefits of courses starting every few weeks are worth it. Many more people are able to learn and benefit from Coursera courses now that it is easier for them to fit learning into their schedule. Having courses run only a handful of times a year excludes many who are not available during those weeks, or who can't dedicate as much time per week as is needed to complete the course in the designated time frame.

We have started this community here as an alternative space so that learners can continue to learn, socialize, and feel part of a community, even if the forums in the course(s) they are taking are not particularly active. We are also working on improvements to the course discussion forums so it's easier for learners to use them to get and give help while they're learning.

I'm sorry you didn't find it easy to discover this community. Since it is so new we haven't done much to include it in the overall Coursera experience yet. Now that you have managed to find us, please feel welcome to help others, get involved in conversations that interest you, or start discussions which you think other members might find interesting.
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Claire wrote:

Hi @Xamãma Liliane,

Thanks for your feedback! As @Lochcarron mentioned, one of the unfortunate side effects of our transition to having courses start every few weeks has been the decline of activity in the course discussion forums.

Although it is, as you put it, a shame, we do think that the many other benefits of courses starting every few weeks are worth it. Many more people are able to learn and benefit from Coursera courses now that it is easier for them to fit learning into their schedule. Having courses run only a handful of times a year excludes many who are not available during those weeks, or who can't dedicate as much time per week as is needed to complete the course in the designated time frame.

We have started this community here as an alternative space so that learners can continue to learn, socialize, and feel part of a community, even if the forums in the course(s) they are taking are not particularly active. We are also working on improvements to the course discussion forums so it's easier for learners to use them to get and give help while they're learning.

I'm sorry you didn't find it easy to discover this community. Since it is so new we haven't done much to include it in the overall Coursera experience yet. Now that you have managed to find us, please feel welcome to help others, get involved in conversations that interest you, or start discussions which you think other members might find interesting.



Hi Claire,

I started my first course about two years ago, when there was still set start and finishing times. I have a very fragile health, and were at times not able to perform as I should have. Even back at that time, I was able to 'postpone' handing in assignments and receive reviews.

Is the problem not, that in todays world, many wants to have it done by yesterday?
If one is in such a rush, is one truly serious? Or is it then, just a matter of gathering 'diplomas' rather than learning?

I would certainly say, for the serious learner, things has been seriously degraded. So much so, that I have been thinking whether I will continue to study beyond the course I am presently doing.

I know there are costs involved in running an organisation like Coursera, but I would rather pay a bit more per month, than this now haphazard kerfuffle Coursera has become.

We have become too busy, chop chop chop and we want it done, that's not a way to learn, no matter how much this suits the modern capitalistic effeciency driven world.

Festina Lente!

Kind regards,

Liliane
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Yet another thing, it is now possible to take notes electronically. What a wonderful effecient way to do it! No, it is not. Taking notes by hand is far better for the learning process.
Taking notes electronically, is passive, you gain nothing from it. When taking notes by hand, pencil to paper, the matter noted is processed through the brain, helping the student to remember and digest the subject at hand.

Had it not been better, to have invested those resources in smoother running of the courses, than various electronic gadgets?

"In general, research shows that taking notes by hand allows you to remember the material better than typing those notes on a computer. ... A similar study on the topic showed that taking notes using the pen-and-paper method leads to better recall ability than typing them up."

Here the sudents, don't even have to type. Instead Coursera is promoting the worst possible way to learn in regard to notes.

Kind regards,

Xamãma
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In my view a course that encourages participants to start at any point in time is something other than a MOOC. The ‘Massive’ in MOOC is the essential ingredient that allows critical masses of learners of all levels to focus on the same material at the same time, discussing and learning from each other in well-populated forums. This was certainly the intent of the original MOOCS and it's sad to see its abandonment for what I assume is financial rather than educational cost effectiveness.

In regard to taking notes electronically I'm inclined to agree that this can be passive but everyone has their preferences and the self-directed learner probably has a good idea of what works best for themselves. Personally, I tend to lose hand written notes so now I distill notes onto Evernote which has excellent facilities for notebook compilation and tagging.
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Gordon_L wrote:

In my view a course that encourages participants to start at any point in time is something other than a MOOC. The ‘Massive’ in MOOC is the essential ingredient that allows critical masses of learners of all levels to focus on the same material at the same time, discussing and learning from each other in well-populated forums. This was certainly the intent of the original MOOCS and it's sad to see its abandonment for what I assume is financial rather than educational cost effectiveness.

In regard to taking notes electronically I'm inclined to agree that this can be passive but everyone has their preferences and the self-directed learner probably has a good idea of what works best for themselves. Personally, I tend to lose hand written notes so now I distill notes onto Evernote which has excellent facilities for notebook compilation and tagging.



Hi Gordon,

Thank you for adding to this thread, I agree with most of what you write. Except about taking notes. Regardsless what the individual might believe about themselves, science clearly shows that taking handwritten notes, is preferable to any other method.

I have taken handwritten notes for years. I rarely read them again, but because I have done it by hand, pen to paper, it is processed in the brain in quite a different way, and is stored and archived in the brain forever. And can be found when neccessary.

I am not arguing with you, and thankfully each student can do as they please, but they will not benefit as much from their own preferred method, as much as they would using pen and paper. This is fact and not beliefs.

Finally I do believe that Coursera has far bigger issues and problems than notes, even if I in the context of this thread, were the one to bring it up. Mostly as a demonstration of Courseras objectives, which seems to have changed and become more profit orientated and less learner orientated. Defeating the original idea.

Best wishes

Xamãma
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A PS: We don't always know what is best for ourselves. I hope that someone from Coursera does read this thread, and take both what you have written, as well as my own comments into consideration.
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" ... they will not benefit as much from their own preferred method, as much as they would using pen and paper. This is fact and not beliefs." Fact in social sciences can be very elusive 🙂 I'm not familiar with the research but I'd want to know how "using pen and paper" was defined and compared with what other methods because 'equivalent' digital procedures are not difficult to imagine.

But regarding the bigger issues, Coursera and most of the other xMOOC providers see education as a commodity that can be bought and sold. Financial considerations colour everything from the constant exhortations to upgrade to the use of dubious but inexpensive methods promoted as 'assessment'. Ideally, authentic Higher Education should be free for all who can benefit in accordance with the UN resolution of 1966. (More here!)

"We don't always know what is best for ourselves" then who does? Everyone is different and an important part of education is surely to develop critical faculties so we can become self-directed learners.
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Gordon_L wrote:

" ... they will not benefit as much from their own preferred method, as much as they would using pen and paper. This is fact and not beliefs." Fact in social sciences can be very elusive 🙂 I'm not familiar with the research but I'd want to know how "using pen and paper" was defined and compared with what other methods because 'equivalent' digital procedures are not difficult to imagine.

But regarding the bigger issues, Coursera and most of the other xMOOC providers see education as a commodity that can be bought and sold. Financial considerations colour everything from the constant exhortations to upgrade to the use of dubious but inexpensive methods promoted as 'assessment'. Ideally, authentic Higher Education should be free for all who can benefit in accordance with the UN resolution of 1966. (More here!)

Everyone is different and an important part of education is surely to develop critical faculties so we can become self-directed learners.




You seem suspicious of social sciences, and ask for research, here you go, knock yourself out:

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking

I am happy to pay my monthly fee here. if things are working as intended.

You ask: "We don't always know what is best for ourselves" then who does?" When you have lived a life on the edge, lived it like an extreeme sport, not knowing what is around the next corner. Taken chances the fewest dare take. And you, at a mature age look back on your life, then you will realise the truth in my words.

I have a saying; "I was never so intelligent and so knowlegable as, when I was 18. Since then everything went downhill!"
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@Xamãma Thanks for link. Am puzzled by reference to monthly fee? What fee? No problems with the rest!
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I pay 39 US Dollars per month, when active in courses on coursera. Don't everyone?
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@Xamãma No - the audit option is free. Only a small proportion of participants aim for certificates and have to pay. For example, see the poll here on "Why do you take online courses?" Nobody to date has given "To get a certificate" as a reason.
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@Gordon_L

Five answers in a thread, can hardly demonstrate anything on a platform with thousands of participants. I can show you another thread, which contradicts this Finish at your own pace

In regard to your claim, just a couple of quotes from the thread you link to;-

"Getting a certificate is actually a good motivation for me to complete the course. Although I keep it to myself, I find it encouraging to get a certificate from the world's best institution, after putting effort to learn and to finish the course."

"For that purpose I will need to obtain the certificate."

"The goal for me is at the end, to complete the course and the required tests and assignment to get a verified certificate."

As far as I have known so far, you are/were not able to submit your assignments unless you paid to participate. Are you telling me it is possible to participate fully without payment? And that that is what most participants do?

Am I paying to review fellow students who is participating for free, without getting even one review back?

Personally I do not aim for certificates, but doing the written assignments in the courses I take, is a major part of the learning process. (We don't do quizzes)

@Claire Could you please explain payment options vs. free to me, as I do not fully understand what Gordon_L is talking about. Am I completely mistaken?

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