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General > Certificate for SciFi and Fantasy

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message 1: by Jute (new)

Jute | 139 comments Mod
Did you all get your certificate for the SciFi and Fantasy class?


message 2: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany (tiffanyfarrantgonzalez) I saw a post in the forum that the certificates had all been mailed out, but unfortunately I didn't receive an email with mine. I did find it stored here though https://www.coursera.org/account/records

I was a little confused with the percentage mark, as I was expecting a letter grade. I'm not entirely sure what constitutes an A or B etc. Odd :)


message 3: by Seawood (new)

Seawood Got it - no email, though. Yes, I was expecting a letter grade too. From the forums it looks like they've totally mangled it - it doesn't seem to include the expected Participation component. My score is a raw percentage of my seven best essays - to confirm yours, add up your seven best scores and divide by 42; that should correspond to the % you've been given. Where the grade banding is on that I have no idea and nobody seems to know, least of all the member of staff dealing with it. We'll have to keep an eye on the forum for a few days, I guess.

Suspect there's been either a gigantic cock-up with the data, or they're frantically tweaking the banding to prove the course is both challenging and passable...;-)


message 4: by Emy (new)

Emy (EmyPT) | 88 comments Mod
Link worked for me too... Must remember to change my name to my real name before the certificates are issued on the History course :)


message 5: by Xiri (new)

Xiri | 187 comments Mod
I've actually suspected a percentage, since that's how our system works, and, well, all other certificate records were pretty much the same.

This one took the cake at being delivered late though, grr.


message 6: by Seawood (new)

Seawood Heh. I stand by my "massive cock-up" theory, given the latest email - looks like Rabkin didn't check how Coursera calculates results and has just used his own marking scheme from his regular course.

If you got more than 25/42, you passed, but they're "unable" to tell you how good your pass was. If they're not going to do the banding I guess we'd need to see stats on average scores across the board. Given the harsh peer grading I'm not really surprised it's come to this, though.


message 7: by Tiffany (last edited Nov 09, 2012 01:27AM) (new)

Tiffany (tiffanyfarrantgonzalez) It's been a little frustrating to read some of the comments in the forum. It appears as though students who completed all 10 assignments and peer evaluations aren't being graded any differently to those who only did 7, which seems a little unfair. Participation, (which originally counted towards 50% of the grade) is now being counted as 100% if you've done just 7 of the assignments.

On top of that, it looks like participation isn't counting towards the final percentage anyway, just your writing scores: https://class.coursera.org/fantasysf-...

I'm not sure why Coursera couldn't develop an algorithm that would have taken into account Prof. Rabkin's original rubic. It doesn't seem like that would have been too difficult to have included participation into the final percentage.

I loved the course, the lectures and the material, so it's just a shame to see so many people not getting the grade they expected and worked so hard for.


message 8: by Seawood (new)

Seawood The frustration for me - and it's not just with sci-fi but the whole interaction between Coursera and the universities - is that this sort of thing should have been nailed down before the course even started. I'm tired of starting courses and saying "hang on, where's the rubric, the marking standards, the timetable, the video subtitles, the deadlines - and WHICH TIMEZONE ARE YOU IN?!". Basic details which should be the standard across the board for every course before it goes live.

Ditto the listings - I have courses in my list which start next month and still have no dates, hrs required, description of work required and so on. How can you plan?


message 9: by Jute (new)

Jute | 139 comments Mod
I too think that timezone issue is poorly done, particularly since they want to know what zone YOU are in. Computers are really good at calculating stuff like that if they have just a simple program.

I really enjoyed the class and it's a shame that the end has to mar it for people.


message 10: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany (tiffanyfarrantgonzalez) You can set your timezone in your account settings. All the times / dates for submission deadlines will automatically be updated to reflect where you are in the world. Super handy!


message 11: by Seawood (last edited Nov 09, 2012 07:35AM) (new)

Seawood You can now, yes - that's new in the last 6-8 weeks or so and it really helps for deadlines. What I meant was some of the universities completely forget to state where *they* are in the world and assume everyone knows which part of America belongs to which zone...so you've no idea when the TAs will be around on the forums, for example, or when you can expect video releases.

I ended up bringing one course up sharply against their first world privilage...they'd embedded quizzes in the videos which counted towards your mark, and I had to point out that not everyone could watch the vids online because we don't all have nice fat always-on broadband. Ditto when courses put up hour-long vids. That really annoyed me, it's so thoughtless - and more to the point, several other courses had run into the same problems and had to do last minute tweaks to their grading schemes. It's like they don't talk about best practice to each other at all, or even feed back issues to Coursera.


message 12: by Emy (new)

Emy (EmyPT) | 88 comments Mod
Just went back to check my updated score following today's email, and I now have 90%! Since I feel I didn't do nearly well enough, my brain is now going "Dafuq??"* repeatedly. Mind you, since I've ended off work the last couple of days that may just be my brain in general today... :P

*Say it out loud (possibly not in public!)


message 13: by Tiffany (last edited Nov 16, 2012 11:36AM) (new)

Tiffany (tiffanyfarrantgonzalez) Unfortunately my percentage went down *sad face*

They've now worked it out by the number of essays you've completed, rather than taking into account the mark you received from your peers.

Some people have pointed out in the forums that you could have written gibberish in every single essay and received 100% for the course which is a real shame for those you genuinely tried hard :(

I'm really not sure why the Coursera team couldn't work out an algorithm that took into consideration both participation and scores from essays. I understand it's a free course, but it's a shame that the grades couldn't be worked out in the way that the Prof. intended them too.


message 14: by Seawood (new)

Seawood It is entirely stupid - I have 100% which absolutely doesn't reflect the quality of the essays I wrote. I was perfectly happy with my 76%, thank you. The more I think on it the more I think "completion" is a daft thing to grade on - you wouldn't get it at uni (would you? Maybe US unis grade differently?).

I have a feeling this is not the last change we'll see: my guess is that someone screwed up and it should be 7 essay scores plus 10 essays completed = final score, which is pretty much what the rubric said.


message 15: by Jute (last edited Nov 16, 2012 02:07PM) (new)

Jute | 139 comments Mod
Seawood wrote: "It is entirely stupid - I have 100% which absolutely doesn't reflect the quality of the essays I wrote. I was perfectly happy with my 76%, thank you. The more I think on it the more I think "comple..."

I had thought from what was initially said was that you didn't have to do all of the essays. So I skipped doing the last one, which tanked my score.

Oh and US classes sometimes have a 'participation' part to the grade but none I know of would give you 100 for just showing up.


message 16: by Seawood (new)

Seawood It was originally; I considered skipping Bradbury myself. Reading between the lines leads me to suspect there has been some...confusion at best and out-and-out cussedness between Coursera and Prof Rabkin.

You wouldn't get a participation grade at uni here. At least, not at mine (nearly 20 years ago, mind) - lecture attendance was not mandatory. In fact I skipped so many one semester my coursemates thought I'd left (I'd been a bad combination of ill, lazy and off-campus), and my OH was *so* absent in his final year one of the professors asked if he was sure he was in the right exam as no-one recognised him. Friends at Oxford told me they weren't expected to attend lectures but tutorials were so important they'd get kicked out for non-attendance.


message 17: by Emy (new)

Emy (EmyPT) | 88 comments Mod
I had a participation expectation, but that was A) for languages, and B) because it was impossible to complete without attendance at practical classes... Other courses were less so, I think. Especially those which were lecture based so you could borrow notes and didn't have to sign in.


message 18: by Jute (new)

Jute | 139 comments Mod
In my past experience, you could get dropped from classes for non-attendance.

What is a tutorial?


message 19: by Seawood (new)

Seawood Attendence requirements came in as I was finishing, actually - you were supposed to sign in for lectures. Except people would get their friends to sign in so it never worked. You couldn't get away with that for labs, of course.

Tutorials - ime, anyway - were small groups of 3-8 students with a tutor, postdoc or PhD candidate who would take you through either remedial work (we had a catch-up maths class in first year, for example, as the syllabuses varied around the country and some of us hadn't covered enough material), or problem sets around that term's work. IME there weren't nearly enough of these :(


message 20: by Jute (new)

Jute | 139 comments Mod
Seawood wrote: "Attendence requirements came in as I was finishing, actually - you were supposed to sign in for lectures. Except people would get their friends to sign in so it never worked. You couldn't get away ..."

Funny thing is that here, Doctoral candidates teach most of the classes.


message 21: by Seawood (new)

Seawood Yes, I've picked that up from TV/novels...but they get paid reasonably well for it, right? It wasn't the case here when I was a student. Course, anything may have changed in the last 20 years but most postgrads were not fond of the teaching aspect and avoided it where possible.


message 22: by Jute (new)

Jute | 139 comments Mod
Usually their pay is part of their 'grant' that includes a tuition waiver. I am not sure how much it is, but I know that it's usually not much more than what you can live on.


message 23: by Seawood (new)

Seawood I bet it's more than what I got as a PhD. I had one of the best grants around and it was less than £9k/year ($14k now, no idea what the exchange rate was then). It was one of the reasons I quit because I could have earned more as an office junior doing typing and photocopying. Postgrad is seriously undervalued.


message 24: by Jute (new)

Jute | 139 comments Mod
Seawood wrote: "I bet it's more than what I got as a PhD. I had one of the best grants around and it was less than £9k/year ($14k now, no idea what the exchange rate was then). It was one of the reasons I quit bec..."

Oh wow... yeah, that was serious poverty!


message 25: by Seawood (new)

Seawood It wasn't great. The sad thing is that as a medical-based PhD I had a "really good grant" - Physics, economics, arts, you were lucky to get £5k. I don't know how anyone survived. By that time I was living with my now-husband so we had his income as well, but it was nowhere near enough to buy our own place. I'm constantly amazed by how many people manage to get through postgrad!

This is (to drag the thread kicking and screaming close to the topic) where online study might really have an impact - if you can save yourself the costs of undergrad tuition and living, either by not going to a traditional uni set-up, or by being able to work and study at the same time, you might have enough money to do postgrad afterwards.


message 26: by Jute (new)

Jute | 139 comments Mod
The balance between the large classes needed to make it profitable, versus being able to have some individual attention is something that I've thought about.

I think you do miss out on having the personal interaction, but it could be the difference between an education or no education.


message 27: by Emy (new)

Emy (EmyPT) | 88 comments Mod
Having been to the PG fair yesterday, I can now tell you that a PhD Studentship which is 8hrs/week teaching for Full tutition fees + subsistence, is worth a grand total of about £13k. Possibly. If you are lucky! Yeah, that's going to pay the mortgage isn't it! >.<


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