Monday, 8 December 2014

Learning German - Advent Calendar

Have you been learning German for a while? Then you probably know Hueber Verlag, the well-known German publishing company specializing in materials for learning German and other languages. Last year I have found out, that there is an advent-related contest going on on their website. It is in a form of an advent calendar. Starting on 1st December there appears one new question each day. If you answer it correctly and in time, you have a chance to win a particular prize for that day. The questions are in German. They are a fun way how to learn new vocabulary and a couple of new facts, too. Last year's topic was Christmas. This year it is anniversaries of famous people. For more information concerning the contest, read the official website.

You still have a chance to participate in this year's advent calendar contest here.

If you want to use the old ones from previous years for improving your German, there they are:
20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.

Their drawings are so cute. I am really glad that they left all these calendars online.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

First Impression - Coursera's Course Introduction to Neuroeconomics

This is a second part of this blog's new series called First Impression. This time I am going to do a small review of another course offered by Coursera, which is named Introduction to Neuroeconomics: how the brain makes decisions. (If you missed the first part of the series of if you are not sure what Coursera is, look here.)

This particular course is available in English and has been running since 23rd June 2014. It is taught by Vasily Klucharev from National Research University - Higher School of Economics, which is located in Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod and Perm). The English subtitles available to this course are again imprecise, which might be a problem for someone who does not understand the lecturer's accent that well.

During the first week of the course, the video lectures were in total less than one hour long. They contained several in-built questions, which were not difficult. However, the way how the subject matter is explained seems to be chaotic or incomplete at times. It forced me to stop or replay some bits of the videos couple of times in order to understand what the described experiments were about. Concerning the first week's graded quiz, the questions were created to make a student think for a while, but still they are not tricky and are quite easy to answer. If you want to improve your score, you may attempt the quiz for the second or the third time. The questions will not be the same, which I consider to be fair.

Although the field of neuroeconomics appears to be interesting, I already perceive the theory and experiments as controversial. Thus be aware that your personal belief might not be in agreement with the belief of the lecturer or the experimenters mentioned throughout the course. Nevertheless, I will try to follow the course and deliver an after-course review after the ninth final week of the course is over.

Final verdict of the first impression: Confusing and controversial at times, though interesting and worth diving into the second week of lectures and quiz questions.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

First Impression - Coursera and Its Supply Chain Management Course

Perhaps you have already heard of Coursera, one of the platforms which specialize in online education. It offers plenty of university courses for free. The only thing you need to do to access them is to register to have an account there (only one per person is allowed). If you register for a course, take it during its official period and succeed in fulfilling the requirements, you are entitled to receive a Statement of Accomplishment. In addition, if you pay an extra sum of money and go through a process of validating your account, you will earn a verified certificate, which lets you share your course record with employers or other educational institutions via a special URL. This option is currently available only for some of the courses.

Today I am going to give you a short first impression about a course called Supply Chain Management: A Learning Perspective. It has been running since 16th June 2014 and the total duration is supposed to be eight weeks. The institution providing this course is a public South Korean research university KAIST. The lecturer of the course is Professor Bowon Kim. The lectures are available in English with subtitles which seem to be automatically transcribed from the speech (not written by the lecturer). As for the pronunciation of a non-native speaker, it might be somewhat difficult go through the videos without having the subtitles switched on, despite them occasionally missing a word or totally misinterpreting a phrase.

The course is now in its second week, thus I will focus on the first week and all the assignments and quizzes related to it. The first-week's lectures are in total over 70 minutes long and contain no in-built (not graded) quizzes. The lecture is understandable even for a person with no background in anything related to economy, management et cetera. The special terminology is quite basic and easy to find online. The topic is, in my opinion, presented well and the graded quiz does not contain unclear tasks. The assignment, though, might be difficult, if you are not used to writing essays. However, I believe that after seeing the essays of other's after the deadline (when attempting to do a peer review), it might give a student the idea for the next time of how an essays should be written.

By the end of the course I will try to do some after-course review, since the courses are usually left on the website for anyone who wants to go through the material later or sometimes, they are updated and rerun. Thus, I suppose this and the final review might be useful.

Final verdict of the first impression: So far the course looks good and worth going through.