MOOC Mania – Embedded Systems

embedded systems

I’m really excited and nervous about this class. (It’s always important to keep in mind that most professors are not necessarily naturals in front of a camera, especially in “intro” videos.)


Yeah, yeah, Michael Sandel is definitely the exception. Noted. Back to business?

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Enough rockstar professor. Back to business.


— Embedded Systems awesomeness —

 


 


I have a few worries. One is, of course, I won’t be able to do it. But that’s not really the worry. That has happened before.

The real worry I have is that I will be able to do it but will not be able to fund doing it.

Either way, I’m psyched, so here I go.

MIT – Greatest Hits

Kick it up a notch?

Intro to Solid State Chemistry – MIT 3.091

(When MIT makes statements like “introductory level” I don’t think they have a normal concept of the term. Nonetheless, no harm, no foul. And one of their very best courses with one of the very best professors, Prof. Grossman, is also one of the most generous with texts, discussions, and even the actual certificate, which is free.)

do yourself a solid.JPG

One of the very best things about MOOCs is the free textbooks (or portions of textbooks) so often included in them. A gazillion years ago, when I was in school, a science textbook averaged $150.

(And science majors rarely have the luxury of getting to buy a used textbook.)

Again, with MOOCs you can poke around. Visit. See what you like. Sometimes you’ll surprise yourself. Even some subjects with work beyond what you feel you could manage in the strictest sense can still be fascinating.

(So don’t be intimidated just because the first question on the first quiz is this)

Thermite reaction:

The thermite reaction, used to weld rails together in the building of railroads, occurs when iron(III) oxide (Fe2O3) reacts with elemental aluminum to produce aluminum oxide (Al2O3) and elemental iron.
(a) Write a balanced equation for this reaction, using any correct set of coefficients. Depict the reaction arrow (⟶) as ‘->’.

And if you’re not at all intimidated by it, do yourself a solid

Dive in!

MOOC Mania

 

I have become a certified MOOC freak. There are several different platforms for MOOCS – Massive Open Online Courses – such as edX and Coursera, and happily many others are available on YouTube. (Many are available through those platforms as well as on YouTube.)

I prefer the edX platform if I use one. I have never gotten a certificate or worried about that at all, so I ride free, just for the joy of cramming my ever-curious mind.

What’s so amazing is that anyone at all can, for free, peek in at some of the most elite and incredible classes being taught today.

Harvard’s most popular course, Justice,” for instance, taught by Professor Michael Sandel, is a class everyone should at least check out. I am big on “archived” courses, because they are always “self-paced,” but Justice actually just began again for real, so check it out.

Here’s the little course intro video and text below:

Taught by lauded Harvard professor Michael Sandel, Justice explores critical analysis of classical and contemporary theories of justice, including discussion of present-day applications. Topics include affirmative action, income distribution, same-sex marriage, the role of markets, debates about rights (human rights and property rights), arguments for and against equality, dilemmas of loyalty in public and private life. The course invites learners to subject their own views on these controversies to critical examination.
The principal readings for the course are texts by Aristotle, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and John Rawls. Other assigned readings include writings by contemporary philosophers, court cases, and articles about political controversies that raise philosophical questions.

Other favorites of mine are Boston University’s War for the Greater Middle East taught by the amazing Andrew Bacevich – archived now at edX – and all three of the foremost Lincoln/Civil War Historian’s – (Dr. Eric Foner’s) – courses on Civil War and Reconstruction from Columbia University.

Jump in!

 

“Well, you’re looking at the wrong guy” Bacevich on the Middle East

 

andrew bacevich

Dr. Bacevich: “Well, you’re looking at the wrong guy.”

Col./Prof. Andrew Bacevich is never one to shove sunshine up anyone’s ass when it’s raining. He’s always been beautifully no-nonsense, and everyone who knows him and knows the price he and his family have paid for our ongoing Middle East debacles, understands that he grasps the true costs.
In this short clip where the questioner says: “I need cheering up,” Col. Bacevich answers, I think, for many of us who spend so much mental energy and time in the weeds of the Middle East.
One cannot be a Middle East scholar and cheery at the same time.

 

Foner Funny – Prof Eric Foner on Delaware

“So, here it’s really martial law, almost, which is holding, which is getting, making sure that Maryland stays in the Union. And of course, if Maryland stays in the Union, there’s not much chance of Delaware leaving, because Delaware is just a tiny, little place stuck over in the corner.”

“Is anybody here from Delaware?”

[Silence from class. No one is claiming Delaware.]

“I don’t mean to say anything bad about Delaware.”

[Silence solidifies. Prof. Foner surveys his classroom, and seemingly finding them safely non-Delaware friendly, decides that actually…]

“I don’t really like Delaware much because…”

 [laughter]

“No, no, nothing against them but, you know, first of all, what kind of state has a blue hen as a motto, as a — it’s weird — as a symbol?”

“But no, if you drive to Washington, on Route 95, you pass through Delaware for about ten minutes. And they charge you an arm and a leg for the privilege of driving for ten minutes through their state. That’s how they balance their state budget –“

[laughter]

“– so no one outside of… anyway. They couldn’t secede.”