An interview with Luis Gerardo Ayala Bertel | Coursera Community
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An interview with Luis Gerardo Ayala Bertel

  • 22 June 2019
  • 6 replies
An interview with Luis Gerardo Ayala Bertel
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  • Community Manager
  • 1058 replies
You may recognize the name @Luis Gerardo Ayala B. He's been very involved in the Coursera Community over the past few months. (Check out and share your powerful photos in his post Illustrated Expression Contest!) I thought it would be great to do an interview with Luis Gerardo to learn more about his life and learning journey.

Where do you live?
I live in Sincelejo – Sucre, Colombia. It is a town in a stage of growth. Its main
source of income is livestock and agricultural sectors. It’s a welcoming place, full of nature, hope, and human talent.

What's your age?
26 years old

What led you to use Coursera, and when did you first enroll in a course?
In 2014, at 22 years old, I graduated from school as a public accountant. I also was studying
mathematics at the University of Cartagena. Then, at 24 years old, for reasons related to my mother's health, I had to leave the university and return to Sincelejo to take care of her.

I began to gain work experience. I took part-time jobs as a public accountant, a support
auxiliary to a lawyer, advisor to entrepreneurial projects in a non-profit company, and later a chess teacher at a school.

Given that I wanted to continue studying but was far from the university, I opted for virtual education. And thus I learned about Coursera, two years ago.

Which courses have you taken?
What would be your number one tip to give to a new Coursera learner?
Tip #1 is to take advantage of new opportunities for studying. One of the aspects that I have noticed, is that the model of virtual learning leads to responsibility, commitment and performance in your cognitive development. Coursera has a very nice background, and that gives you the ability to have a personalized approach to what you want to be in life. Then it's knowing how to find what you love, letting yourself be carried away by your passion and looking for courses in what you want to do – this I consider a great advantage because when you find your line of study or research, you will do things with dedication and a love for learning, and all things will go well because it's what you have always wanted. There are so many things to do, so much to discover and so much to create, that we are at an ideal time to start. That's why I invite you to make the most of what Coursera gives you.

How has what you learned on Coursera made an impact on your life?
The impact that Coursera has had on me has been important. For example, one of the courses that I chose to take – Order, Management and Time – has made me aware of fundamentally important things: to make the bed and be organized, get up with the best of moods, be grateful, and know that time is the essence of life and therefore you have to know how to use it.

What does the Coursera Community mean to you?
Because of the great invitation that I received from volunteer mentor Neural Networks and Deep Learning, I was interested in exploring the platform as a whole. Then I logged in to to look at it as a space where I felt I can put my acquired skills into practice. I see Coursera and the community, as a place where in my mind I had wanted to be, to be part of, to live the experience, to exchange ideas, to learn from that. I feel this can assist me in continuing to grow as a person and as a professional.

What part of your success do you attribute to Coursera?
To Coursera I attribute many of my successes. I would like to characterize it in two ways – tangible and intangible. Within the intangible is the fact of making me more responsible, giving me the strategies and methods to continue growing, giving me more confidence in myself and knowing that I am capable of doing many things. It also has motivated me to achieve my goals and look for bigger ones, feel that encouraged that I can give the best of me because Coursera is not just videos or courses – there is a community, a mission and a vision to provide education to everyone and with the best possible quality, that's why to being part of this great platform is a privilege.

In the tangible, I consider it a success that with the Course Certificates I managed to obtain a job with much more criteria and responsibility. I already have worked a year as a professor of the assistant accounting program in a corporate foundation – and all thanks to the merits obtained on Coursera.

What are your personal, education, and/or career goals?
This is a very interesting question and I would like to generalize something – education is the
main basis for the development and evolution of being, although it is true that each one has
goals focused on what we want, also we must take into account that to educate ourselves
is to be more sociable, to generate a space of harmony, to understand that we live in an
environment such as the Earth that we must protect and care for, to support each other and
always want to do good.

There is a very nice phrase that says "The more you know, the more humble you have to be,"
that I take into account in spite of my young age. Within my goals, I feel that I am at a good age
to project in the long term, so I'm making arrangements to participate in a project in the agricultural sector for a period of 5 years through a national fund, taking courses to apply for a Master of Applied Data Science within about 2–3 years and to finish the Specialization in Deep Learning, and continuing my mentoring process. I'm so grateful to know that I can do this and much more.

What has been meaningful to you about your Coursera experience?
The most meaningful thing about my Coursera experience is the opportunity to enter and be
part of the virtual world in the best universities in the world.

I had never imagined that from the place I am, I would have the privilege of being in a course from Stanford University – that I would get both the knowledge and the Certificate is impressive. And there you realize the dimension and quality of this platform, giving you access to many courses, many universities and institutions that put the love, dedication and the effort to provide education to everyone who enrolls, with a huge advantage to be able to get financial aid.

What are some of your favorite activities/hobbies aside from learning on Coursera?
When doing an activity/hobby, we stop doing other things, because we cannot do two things at the same time in different contexts. A great advantage of learning on Coursera and that is by occupying my time with other things, I have switched course sessions again and again. (I have been in a course for two months, but due to other commitments, I have not yet managed to finish it.) I consider it wonderful because I feel a balance between my personal, family, social, and academic life thanks to this teaching model by the platform.

My favorite activities or hobbies are:
  • Practicing chess – I'm a regional university champion
  • Being healthy by exercising my body. I practice playing soccer, basketball, volleyball with friends, and I go for walks or bicycle rides. I don't do it every day, only when I feel like it is a nice day or they invite me. In other words, I let myself live for the moment.
  • Visiting my relatives and playing video games with my cousins
  • Meeting with friends to chat, laugh at memories, listen to music, and go for walks
  • I love photography, sometimes I go out alone with only my cell phone and my headphones, to take pictures from a small flower to a sunset. I am a lover of nature.
  • Taking time to be by myself – listening to relaxing music for 4–6 hours, sounds of nature, the sea, or the forest.
  • Resting – sleep is necessary
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Live as you have always wanted to live, work for your dreams and goals, keep in mind that
there are no limits to achieve what you want, value what you have, be grateful, share moments
with your family, loved ones, close friends, colleagues, and enjoy life because there is only one.

6 replies

Such a great interview! Thank you for inspiring me with your story @Luis Gerardo Ayala B. .
Userlevel 5
Badge +4
I feel very honored by the post @Laura,

For the community i hope that my words are of your liking, i share them with the best zest, wanting the same way to invite you to participate answering, and since as i am starting, there may be many more who have already done or who are halfway through their project of life and it's very comfortable be able to write words of this type of experiences together Coursera, so you can feel welcome to send a message to this amazing Community Manager and i'm sure that she reply this post with your response of the interview making a wonderful presentation as we can see, and with your approval.

I appreciate your comment @YourUsername, when you see inspiring in someone or look it as example, that person try to do his best effort to keep grow and stay motivated, i feel right like this, assuming my willingness to sharing and moving forward to make connections and a nice environment where you can participate and be part of it.

Thanks and my cheers to everyone.
Userlevel 1
Badge +2
@Luis Gerardo Ayala B. thank you for sharing your beautiful story! This resonated with me so much, and you touched on what makes Coursera such a special community to learn on, the passionate folks who are growing and making themselves - and the world better!

Order, Management and Time sounds like such a great course, I am going to see if we can get it translated into English subtitles 🙂

What other courses are you interested in taking? I think you'd really like Learning How to Learn! It really opens up your mind into how your brain learns and what changes you can make to your study habits. Plus Barb Oakley and her team are such a dream! They create a great community of long time learning through weekly email updates.

Very best,
Userlevel 5
Badge +4
Greetings @Megan,
Thank you for your reply, I am currently enrolled in two courses, Machine Learning by University of Stanford and Python 3 Programming by University of Michigan, due for commitments i haven't yet completed and i hope to achieve those goals, it sounds interesting the course "Learning How to Learn!".

In your last words of the third paragraph, i get a lot of attention and it's nice.

Within one of the projects that i have taken into account, there is one that post in the community mentor and i recieved Mentor newsletter - Make-a-thon vote, it seemed a pleasant gesture, i can say that it's in accordance with your words.

The proposal is to add a branch .ccp (collective command platfrom), a space associated with a personal profile whose innovation is to classify the graduates for their finalized o sessioned courses, so that they can share content and exchange communications among others of the same program, based on activities or topics related to it, pretending answer the ask of @Will01011.
This is to create an interactive, dynamic and social environment, where you can continue learning, continue in your line of study, stay logged in, meet new friends, create a research or study team and work together.

That in turn is complemented in a great way with to create a high-powered virtual machine (Coursera host server) whose desktop can be seen on a different computer than the one that has it hosted.
So instead of starting your graphical interface locally, wait for a request remotely.

For the client request, reading in different articles, web pages and related, can be have a free software tool such as Remmina, a remote desktop client that supports different protocols from a homogeneous and intuitive interface.
Generating the connection to the desktop of the virtual machine.

Thus providing the community and learners to possess both the academic tools, and virtual tools, taking into account that only need a high bandwidth (open theory: how can improve the speed and the capacity of reaction in the virtual machines in regular or medium bandwidth).

As result: Simulate a computer of great capabilities in your mini laptop, only with a good internet connection (knowing that 5g technology is coming).

These projects are new concepts that I have conceived through readings, other sources and making use of my knowledge acquired in the different courses of this excellent platform.

The uses and opportunities in doing this are exponentially high, because it would be advantageous if you can use the new softwares that require performance hardwares, as an example, for the designers, videogame developers, movie creators know that this is necessary for the rendering process.

Fully customized, selecting when starting the operating system, its user and with a storage in the cloud.
Understanding that for purposes of maintenance and free use, processes will be carried out (something that i want to change the reputation and are the ads) goodlooking and clicked-encourage ads, taking into account your behavior to be processed as data within a model of unsupervised learning, giving the most probable estimate of what you would like to click on, generating income and access in an interactive way.

Therefore, it would generate a connected community in a wonderful cluster, storing information so that keep in it is continuous improved and promoting access, opportunities and employment.

cluster: it is a concept born at the beginning of the 90s as a tool for the analysis of those factors that allow a specific industry to incorporate new links in its production chain, the factors that determine the use of new technologies in its processes, and the determining factors of the generation of agglomeration activities. Budí Orduña, Vicente (2008).

With this i think many possibilities open, new networks of connection and realizing it can be so real that with the contributions of sponsors, strategic alliances and using the concept of community/integration can would be done. Keeping innovating and performance for a better experience.
Userlevel 1
Badge +2
Thanks @Luis Gerardo Ayala B. it sounds like you are continuing to expand in many great areas!

As for the great suggestion, I'll need more time to review and consider with our engineers!
Userlevel 5
Badge +4
I appreciate your words @Megan,

In my way of visualizing, this would generate a virtual ecosystem that produces high quality data, avoiding biased AI systems, doing a solid AI model that interconnects the server, the client, the proposed profile coursera learner/researcher, the strategic advertisings and the continuous improvement of the interface for a better interaction and experience for both the user and the model.

"AI systems are only as good as the data we put into them." IBM research