EdX-self educating

I decided to learn how to do computers, in a better way. So, I signed up for CS50 (intro to computer science, basically) through Harvard on EdX. To investigate, go here. It is kinda exciting. I have discovered that there are an incredible number of people who do this. There is a section of the site called “hello” which is just a collection of people who are taking CS50 online making videos saying hello. There are so many of them. It’s on an infinity scroll, so I actually don’t know how many. I have yet to reach the bottom. I do know that before the videos were even made, 50,000 people signed up for the class through EdX.

There are two things that this tells me. 1: I am behind the curve. Tens of thousands of people figured out how easy and awesome this is before I did.

2: people are motivated and awesome. Who takes a class on computer science just for fun? Apparently, tens of thousands of people.

I signed up at the suggestion of a friend last Monday, and I have watched two lectures so far, and shall do a problem set … on Tuesday? I might just watch a ton of lectures. I have learned so much. I also think I will understand xkcd.com much more easily (i.e. not emailing my brother or asking xkcdexplained every time there is a programing reference).

I have also noticed that thanks to my fascination with webcomics and techie blogs most of the terminology makes sense. Getting further context, just further solidifies it in my mind. Essentially, webcomics are helping me academically. Perfect justification for all those days I spent going through archives of girlgenius.com or questionablecontent.net or qwantz.com or wondermark.com … etc. you get the picture. I love webcomics. And they have helped me understand at least two lectures of computer science. yay!

So far it seems like a viable way to learn. Perhaps it is because of the elevated sense computer scientists have of what user interfaces are supposed to do, but the whole experience is impressively scaffolded, such that if I have questions, I have someone to ask, and I also have videos explaining, preemptively, the answers to questions I may have. It’s pretty cool.

I have also attempted to devise a way to keep myself motivated to finish by mid April (the recommended completion date, by which if I finish, I will get a fancy certificate). It may be difficult, what with my full time job and a couple vacations in the middle, but I’m optimistic. I’m on a schedule, so I have to do it, finish a week on the syllabus, per week. Theoretically, I should do a pset by tomorrow. We’ll see. I’m really aiming for Tuesday.

It’s possible I’m trying to be too productive right now, blogging multiple times a week, starting a teacher blog, training for a half marathon, teaching myself a college course, but I’m enjoying it. I might let something slip, but I might just get it all done.


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