Coursera Online Courses Update

By Max Li | Published: April 8, 2012

It’s been a while since I last posted about these courses, and a lot has changed. SaaS Class is now over, and many of the promised Stanford courses have been up and running for a few weeks. I’ve gone from being incredibly optimistic as to how many courses I can handle to being significantly more realistic. Instead of my desired ten courses (yeah right), I am now only taking two: Algorithms and Cryptography. So without further ado, here is a review of SaaS class and the two new classes (so far).

SaaS Class

This was a compelling course. As I said in my previous post, the shining point of the course was the assignments. I learned quite a bit for a five week course, though I feel that given the broad subject coverage of the class, I only know enough to be horribly dangerous. Time to start reading up on Rails tutorials I guess (well, only if I weren’t so busy with these other courses)…


I am really enjoying this course so far. This is the first half of a full course on algorithms (I really hope I won’t be swamped with schoolwork when the second half is offered). Some of the topics I’ve already learned from my CS classes, but many are new and extremely interesting. The lectures are very well explained, and the professor (Tim Roughgarden) has the ability to keep my attention on the lecture (despite my horrifically short attention span).


I’ve always known some bits and pieces about cryptography, but it’s quite fulfilling to actually fill in all the holes and receive a formal treatment of the subject. The fact that the professor Dan Boneh actually gives proofs for many of the concepts covered makes me quite excited for the course; I know that it’s not (completely) watered down (I’m looking at you CS 373). Overall, this will likely prove to be quite an interesting course.