November 15, 2012
by Debbie

Gamification with Coursera: A Review

Last month I finished Coursera’s Gamification course delivered by Prof. Kevin Werbach where I learned that gamification involved much more than points, badges and leaderboards. The course looked at not just was gamification is, but at the psychology behind it – what motivates people, how people are attracted to a gamified system and what keeps them coming back for more. The highlight of the course was looking at lots of great examples of gamification, in particular ones that resulted in outcomes only made possible because of its gamified approach. Continue Reading →

Udacity CS253 Web Application Engineering

May 30, 2012
by Debbie

Udacity CS253: Web Application Engineering – A Dropout’s Review

This week thousands(?) of online students will be finishing Udacity’s CS253 Web Application Engineering course by building a wiki for the blog they have created. Unfortunately I will not be one of them. The course was run by Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman and involved coding a blog in Python using Google App Engine. I was hesitant about signing up because of the amount of time I had needed each week to complete CS101: Building A Search Engine. Udacity however, changed their homework grading policy from one with hard deadlines to a system where you can make as many submissions as it takes to get it right (even after the solution video is posted). This policy change was what prompted me to try another course.

There were a couple of other choices in subjects: CS212 Design of Computer Programs and CS262 Programming Languages but Web Application Engineering looked the most interesting because I wanted to learn how a website interacted with it’s database. All three courses had the same prerequisite: ‘previous programming experience, comparable to what is covered by the Udacity CS101 course’. So I thought I would be fine. Continue Reading →


May 29, 2012
by Debbie

Udacity CS101 & Stanford University CS101 Online Courses Compared

Seven weeks ago I finished Udacity’s CS101 online course and this week I finished Stanford University’s CS101 online course with Coursera. While they may have the same name, these courses couldn’t be more different both in their content and in their level of difficulty.

Udacity CS101 involved learning enough code to make a simple search engine. There were times I found myself tearing my hair out trying to complete the homework questions, which always took longer than anticipated. But I can honestly say that I have never learned so much in 7 weeks and that the level of difficulty just made it all the more rewarding. Continue Reading →