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.