- gustavo's personal blog

EDX Software As A Service (BerkeleyX CS169.1x)

I came to know about EDX when they launched, but I did not dare taking MIT’s ‘Circuits and Electronics’ class. I do not have b***s of steel, and, in fact, electronics is one of the reasons I’m dropping Computer Engineering (the other is because I want to do the good ol’ Computer Science ;). Some time later, I found that they had a new course on Software As A Service (new to me ;) that used Rails, and, coincidence or not, I had just begun learning Ruby. I started it on Sept, was approved, and here are my impressions.

The EDX platform was very good and easy to use. I had little trouble setting up the course environment - it was already set up because I was reading the Pickaxe book -, I had only to tweak some gems and voilà! If I had any trouble, I would probably have been able to solve it with the help of the nice folk in the forums. The forums offered a limited yet very useful social interaction for the students. Everyone could discuss everything (course related) and it was really great.

The videos were very good, and I really liked the “classroom feeling”. Unlike Coursera and others, the videos were filmed during real classes, and that’s cooler in my humble opinion.

The evaluation system was almost perfect. It did output test errors (when they did exist) and you could easily track down bugs and resubmit your code. The deadlines were very generous and I managed to achieve 86% of “correct answers” (I was too lazy to redo the wrong ones ;).

The course contents were very diverse, and they basically covered Ruby, Rails, TDD and BDD. The only thing I did hate was Cucumber (that’s some pretty useless thing, huh?).

The overall course quality really surprised me, and it was worth every single second I spent with it.