and some learning

Update 5/5/14: I dropped the course today and took a raincheck on taking it the next time it’s offered. Yes, I was paying for the certificate and they will let you try again later. I could not keep up with the math, while still working and driving between two states to work every day, because it is so foreign to me that I had to read everything over and over and over, and then wasn’t sure I understood it. I think I’m capable of learning the math, but it will have to wait until retirement. I did not realize that it would be so math heavy.

Now that I’m retiring—in addition to the fact that I haven’t taught since the spring of 2012—I’ve worried about whether I could keep up the teaching focus expressed in this site’s title, or even if I should presume to address that subject. Newcomers aren’t that fond of the old dogs, regardless of whether they can learn new tricks or not. I’m not quite ready to give up that topic, yet, but maybe I will supplement it with some learning posts. My own learning, that is.

I just started the Coursera Programming for Everybody course today. The topic is Python, which I think will be a nice complement to the hit or miss HTML lessons I’ve been taking when I can. Programming for the machine is not the same as coding for the web, at least that’s how the difference seems to me now, but I’m so fascinated by it all that I think the knowledge will be if not useful, then just interesting. Interesting like one of Henry James’ women descending a staircase with her hand on the railing? Maybe.

Now don’t ask me about that old MOOC I barely entered before dropping on Fantasy & Science Fiction or about my other skeptical MOOC posts. Just search this site for MOOC or Coursera. I’m still skeptical about them if you think they can substitute for undergraduate education, but I’m interested in this one for my own continuing education, where I think they have more value.

So I have started the first chapter of the free book and have done the first assignment of writing some little code in TextWrangler to run in a terminal window, as here:

I’ve watched some video presentations and asked some Forum questions and even graded a few assignments of other students. I have more faith in myself to finish this course, maybe because it’s more of a challenge than a literature course for a literature major. Time will tell.

Anyway, I’ve also been thinking for a while that I should buy a Raspberry Pi before I retire to play with, and one of today’s extra course videos was about that. Maybe that is a good idea. Gotta teach that grandchild about the machines—there’s that teaching again. Better get that Arduino kit, as well.

Featured image Photo Credit: nasmac via Compfight cc

Categories: computers, learning, technology

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