Andrew C.

Seattle, WA, United States
    • Favorite Topics: Arts, Business & Management, Computer Science, Economics & Finance, Energy & Earth Sciences, Engineering, Food and Nutrition, Humanities, Info, Tech, & Design, Mathematics, Music, Film & Audio, Physical & Earth Sciences, Physics, Social Sciences

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Recent reviews
Course Name
Understanding economic policymaking

IE Business School

Professor Allard does a wonderful job at explaining the way the economy works.  Her approach, while accessible, is thorough and informative - her lectures feel as if she's talking across the dinner table.  I recommend her course to anyone starting out in economics or wanting a refresher. 
Climate Change

University of Melbourne

This is a fairly thorough exploration of the issues related to climate change.  The assortment of instructors gives the course some breadth but also makes it a bit uneven.  Also, the political perspectives bookend the scientific discussions.  I think the class would worked better if they split it into two or more targeted classes.  Overall, this was an informative course.
The Camera Never Lies

University of London International Programmes

I only lasted a couple weeks in this class for similar reasons as the other reviewers - primarily that the lecture format was greatly hindered by copyright restrictions.  Further, I felt the instructor wasn't being systematic in his analysis and teaching style.  Hopefully, his next lectures will address these issues.
Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets

Brown University

Taught by Indiana Jone's equally dynamic if not more respectable sister, Prof. Alcock digs up a real treasure of a class.  She and her team of guest lecturers cover a lot of ground - both geographically and historically.  I especially liked how the course introduces the nuts-and-bolts of what archaeologists really do in the field and labs.
History of Rock, Part Two

University of Rochester

A continuation of History of Rock, Part One, this course covers rock from 1970 to 1990s (when rock started to feel redundent IMHO).  While the class has just started, Prof. Covach maintains the energy from before.  The challenge of this class is how to choose which genres and groups to discuss.  Looking forward to it! 
Epigenetic Control of Gene Expression

University of Melbourne

Starting with a positive note, Prof. Blewitt is a natural lecturer who is great at describing genetic functionality.  I feel that the class could be more accessible and still retain it's mission if she would include more overview (e.g., "why is this important") prior to details (e.g., "what chemistry is going on").  Would suggest this class only for people who have taken Introduction to Genetics and Evolution and Genetics and Society: A Course for Educators or have completed an undergrad in biology.  Perhaps the instructor will do a precursor class in the future.
Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Change Conversations

The University of British Columbia

Profs. Harris and Burch have put together a solid course on climate systems.  They make a great team as Harris lectures on the technical issues of climate change while Burch focuses more on policy issues.  I think this course is well suited as an introduction and gives much of the vocabulary needed to be credible.   My only frustration in the course is that it shows how far we have to go.
Introduction to Psychology

University of Toronto

Prof. Joordens enthusism and knowledge really comes through in his teaching style - you get the sense that his packed lectures are just a gateway to a fascianting topic.  He starts by detailing the physical structure of the brain and it's functionality.  Next, he overviews how learning and memory work in both a healthy individual as well as ones with mental afflictions. Each lecture ends with links to additional readings and videos.  He also packs in additional lectures based on feedback of students.  The course also uses proprietary software developed at the University of Toronto that simulates some psychological experiences.  While there were some bumps with the technology at the beginning of the class, it seems to have been used by many students. 
Discrete Optimization

University of Melbourne

I totally agree with Bram that this course is drinking water out of a fire hose.  I've studied several optimization courses while doing my PhD at Stanford and find this course tough.  The programming assignments are like "come up with your own algorithm to optimally solve the bin-packing problem using our overview lectures as a starting point".  I really like Prof Hentenryck's almost manic teaching style but the course really needs a teaching assistant to give practical tips... even a few practical programming examples could help.
Global Sustainable Energy: Past, Present and Future

University of Florida

Once you get past Prof. Porter's substantial mustache, you realize that he really enjoys teaching this class.  He starts by going over the sources and uses of energy and then rolls up his sleeves to give practical solutions to reduce energy use.  His lectures are fast paced and solid.
Web Intelligence and Big Data

Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

This is a good introduction to the issues relating to processing large data sets.  Prof. Sharoff starts with techniques to query data using map-reduce and then builds upon it to address several machine learning problems.  The lecture style is a bit dry but he makes up for that with good graphics and guest lectureres.
Science, Technology, and Society in China II: History of S&T in Chinese Society

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

I took the first version of this class and must confess that I found myself skipping through many of the lectures.  I think the course is more suited for someone in the public sector who wants to evaluate China's policies to growth of Science and Tech.  Prof. Sharif seems like a knowledgeable person but the material seems better suited for text than live video.
Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society

University of Pennsylvania

Prof. Ulrich shows you an effective way to break down the design process to maximize options and meet the needs of users. He starts by explaining how to determine what your users want, then decomposing the task, and finally evaluating the solutions and managing feedback. The lectures flow quickly and I felt this was a good exposure to best practices - especially suited for someone who wants to be more systematic in creating new ideas.
History of Rock, Part One

University of Rochester

Just started taking this course but already enjoying it. Prof. Covach has great energy and deep knowledge on the history of Rock (and roll). He's starting with the pre-history (1900-1955) and going to the psychedelic late 1960. You'll need to have two windows open - one fo the lectures and another to look up music on Youtube. It's fun to get the backstory of major influencers of modern sound.
Generating the Wealth of Nations

University of Melbourne

This is a good introduction to the question of what makes a country successful. Prof. Borland effectively uses historical images and charts to explain the different paths to prosperity countries take. Although I've only watched the first two weeks of lectures, I enjoy the topic and it's presentation. If you want a more formal description of the mechanics of the "wealth of nations", you might like Principles of Macroeconomics.
Principles of Macroeconomics

University of Melbourne

Prof. Olekalns is a very competent instructor teaching the fundamentals of macroeconomics. His fairly dry lecturing style should come as no surprise to someone taking a course in the "dismal science". You should expect basic formulas of macro presented formally (e.g., mathematical equations). Would suggest this course for someone who wants to continue in economics but might suggest Generating the Wealth of Nations for someone who wants a more intuitive understanding of macroeconomics.
Physics I: Classical Mechanics

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This course is a great example of the "chalk on the white board" college experience. Prof. Lewin masterfully explains many of the important fundamentals in mechanics using props and intuition. I've watched a handle of the lectures and found them to be informative and engaging.
Computational Photography

Georgia Institute of Technology

What surprised me about this course was that Prof. Essa goes beyond the basics of image processing and covers many cutting edge topics such as feature detection, image merging, and video editing. While there is some math, it's presented clearly. His teaching style is relaxed but technically efficient. A good course! Hopefully, he will teach a follow-up.
Think Again: How to Reason and Argue

Duke University

If there was ever a course to have a review with OMG in it, it would be this one. As someone with a technical undergrad, I didn't have the pleasure to take many classes like "Think Again". Dr. Neta and especially Dr. Sinnott-Armstrong add so much humor and originality to something I would have not expected - analyzing the way people reason and argue. The only slight is while I loved the lectures, sometimes the granularity of the analysis is sometimes laboriously fine.
The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound, and Color

Wesleyan University

I really enjoyed this class but not yet completed it so this review is just over the first few lectures. Prof. Higgens selected several early hollywood films to watch and then gives his reflections of the innovations and storytelling techniques used. Not only are his choices of films superb but he discusses subtleties that give insight to the directors thought process. I look forward to continuing this class.