Geeks With Blogs
Ray Smith
It has been a while since I updated this blog.  I do apologize.  I have a legitimate excuse though!
It was an EdX course, a very very difficult course at that, but man I loved the course and threw myself into it.  I managed to eek out a 93%.( only about a 1000 of us got over 90, in fact only 1376 got over 80)..I missed two questions during the entire class and both were on the final, one not paying attention to a true false and the other, well, I worked it out on the bloch sphere but I still don't know what I did wrong.  It bugs me a bit, but I must move on.  Before starting the class I had already placed a quantum entanglement experiment on my over extended to do list, during the class I was more than motivated to actually build a quantum computer, by the end of the class, I recognized the sheer difficulty of such a task but remain determined.  The class had a lot of students, somewhere around 100,000 but only a fraction of that managed to get a passing grade which was set very high at >80% granted that a lot just merely watched the videos, which the prof, Umesh V. Vazirani, presented in perhaps the best form I have ever seen ANY quantum mechanics subject presented.  I do hope to meet him someday and tell him so in person, meanwhile, the course will come up again and even though I have already received my certificate of mastery, (thank you edx, thank you), I do plan to take the class again if I am at all able.  An honerable mention to the course TA Seung Woo Shin.  who did an outstanding job as TA, very, very helpful and not a single utterance of negativity (as some ta's can be a bit short fused after repeating themselves so often).  As well as too my fellow students in the forum, the forum is where the real action is in moocs.  As I persue my QC project, I do hope to hear from many of them again.  I also managed a cert from the MIT intro to solid state chemistry, though I did not receive as high a grade.  So far all the classes have been great, and difficult.  Prof. Cima from MIT started out in fist gear but we quickly shifted through the gears into umpteenth gear (as is common in post secondary education).  I thought it was going to increase my knowledge of solid state electronics and help me as I develop solid state electronic components in my lab.  Instead we really only spent about a week on band gaps as they apply to electronics.  Still I am super elated I took the class.  One of my top secret projects is a grahene device which I will blog about much later next year and this class has provided a nice foundation for such a project.  As well it and the CS191x class have provided a much needed confidence boost to my impetuous to take on the large projects I have recently added to the to do list.  

I first discovered the edx classes by signing up for an email reminder to one of the first moocs, an AI class from berkely.  The class was FULL the day after I recieved my reminder but soon there after, with an angel on my shoulder, I received news that the world famous MIT Prof.Anant Agarwal was planning a mooc of his world renowned MIT 6.002 circuts and electronics class, a requirement for all EE degree students at MIT.  I was amazed at how quickly that first class moved and enjoyed it so much that I hope to take it again, this time with a handful of 2N7000 MOSFETS and my oscilloscope at my side to really follow along in style!     As a side note, any students from the CS191x class that wish to remain in contact with me are welcome to drop me a line at my email.  You can find it on my webpage    And in fairness, it would not right if I did not mention 8.02x Electricity and Magnetism taught by professor Walter Lewin.  Sadly, I put so much effort into the QC class that I slipped a bit too far behind in that class, but I must say, Lewin's style is to be seen to be fully appreciated, Nothing against my PSU physics prof Stahll, but Lewin is above and beyond soooo many physics people that it is a gift in itself to watch his lectures, let alone attend one of his classes.  Superb is the only adjective I have for him.  Among other things I discovered a method to solve complex magnetic loop problems with three or more circuit loops correctly...I was always taught the kirchoff method, but, as I learned, this will not always yeild the correct answer!...don't ask me, take the course, you'll love it, and the cost?  free.  Edx has started a revolution that will, without doubt, Change the world .  It has already changed mine.

For those interested, I am already signed up to take 8.02 MReVx Mechanics ReView taught by David E. Pritchard.  I am due for a mechanics review class as I start a foray into three d printing and am eager to sharpen some of my problem solving skills, and, as I am discovering is the norm in these moocs, surely learn some new problem solving skills.  I may not be able to do as well as I did in the QC class, but I do hope to do better than just merely watch the videos.  If you want to help change the world, sign up for this or one of the many other Edx classes, you'll be happy you did.  The number one secret is USE THE FORUMS.

Although I do have several other blogs, this is the one where I will update my quantum computer and graphene projects, I don't really expect to open source them but I will share as I am able.  Thanks again all, and remember, keep looking up!!

Ray Smith
Posted on Friday, May 31, 2013 1:48 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Changing the World.

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EdX is a wonderful platform. My first experience with it was SaaS course from uc Berkeley. I used to use khan academy and coursera but this one is a complete experience of online learning. Using google groups of courses, face book pages and the own EdX forums were a lot of fun. I guess you feel the same satisfaction and fun like me after finishinf the first course. Currently I'm using mit opencourseware but EdX is the best online learning platform I have seen so far. The only problem I have with EdX is the limited library of courses, don't you think so?
Left by Hessam on May 31, 2013 5:59 AM

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