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Oct 18

First Impressions: University of Maryland’s Coursera Entrepreneurship Course

As with all of these First Impressions posts, please keep in mind that they are exactly that – my first impressions of a course.  It is plausible, perhaps even likely, that my first impression will be wrong and my opinion of the course will change over time.  Please read my Full Review posts about these courses (written upon completion of the course) for the full story.

 

First taste…kind of sour

First, the course’s introductory survey didn’t work right and seemed carelessly put together.  Second, the professor comes across as if his intent is to use Coursera as a means to sell his book (i.e. no chapters or content of the book is available for free to Coursera students).  I suppose this does make sense, though, considering that he is an entrepreneurship professor, after all.  Still, kind of tacky, and not really in the Coursera spirit.

 

You can work ahead! 

This is fantastic for people like me who have a lot on their plate and a workload that varies considerably.  Since all the course material is available at the onset of the course, I have the freedom to work ahead as my schedule allows.  I really wish all Coursera classes were like this.  Thank you, professor.

 

Video lecture fake-out

The intro video is a very polished, professionally produced video similar to the standard set by UVA Darden’s Strategy class.

Nice, professional videos...

Nice, professional videos…

Very nice.  Oh, but wait.  The rest of the zillion videos in each Week of material aren’t the same.  Nope, they are actually just videos of the professor giving lectures in his classroom at the University of Maryland:

Video lecture recorded from classroom

Video lecture recorded from classroom

This is…interesting.  Let’s do some pros and cons:

  • Pro:  this is the exact same material that the brick and mortar students are paying steep tuition to receive, yet I am paying zero
  • Con:  the “class participation” dynamic of a real-life lecture means LOTS of dead time while the professor waits for students to respond.  This is painfully slow for a video lecture, and necessitates watching the videos at 1.5-2.0 times playback speed.
  • Pro:  the videos go into much greater detail than video lectures of some other courses, and are rich with examples
  • Con:  the videos are dreadfully long

 

Annoying quizzes

Quiz 1 had some silly questions that remind me of undergrad – i.e. you have to memorize things the professor says in lecture, or how he defines things, because the quiz will ask things like, “True or False: Entrepreneurs cause Entrepreneurship.”  What am I supposed to do with that?

Update:  Of course, I find out in the first video of Week 2 that, indeed, the entrepreneur does cause entrepreneurship.

Silly quizzes...

Silly quizzes…

Why didn’t you mention that in Week 1 so I could know this for the corresponding Week 1 quiz?  Frustration.

 

Quizzes with essays

This is the first Coursera business course I’ve taken that asks for free-text responses (one to two paragraphs) as part of the quizzes.  While I like the nature of these questions and the opportunity to respond with my own thoughts, it makes me wonder how my responses are graded.  I assume there is an algorithm that checks for keywords in my responses that are associated with the question?  This is an interesting one for a MOOC, and I’m curious to see how this evolves.

 

Light workload

I think the workload of this course is appropriate, but on the light side of my homemade MBA classes.  About 4-5 hours of focused effort got me through one “week” of material.  That’s not far off of the 5-7 hour per week the class suggested, so I’m happy with that.

 

Déjà vu

So after being a bit bored and disappointed with the Week 1 material, I just remembered that I studied Entrepreneurship in grad school, so my expectations are probably a little high.  That said, I’ll try to adjust my attitude for the rest of the course and see where it goes.

1 comment

  1. imti

    very good course I found so far

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