MITx 6.002x week 8 – just about keeping up with the schedule

Having basked in the afterglow of a successful midterm exam for a little while, I returned to week 8 of the course on Sunday. The lecture sequences were on step, ramp and impulse inputs to RL and RC circuits, followed by a sequence on digital memory.

The first sequence of week 8 (S15) is a good example of a part of the course which really needs revising for online consumption before it’s presented again. The video lectures for this sequence were overly long and repetitive – making the whole experience boring (rather than “fun” or “amazing” as we’re always being told). As a result, it took substantially more than two hours just to watch the 27 separate videos (let alone understand their content). I really believe that the material could have been easily and better explained in half that number in 45-60 minutes. Slower is not always better – even if for some electronic circuits it may be!

It seems I wasn’t the only person that felt this way about this particular sequence as its provoked similar consternation in the course forum. There’s nothing new there – OU students were (and probably still are!) always good at voicing their feelings about pedagogic style in the module forums too.

However, what is particularly impressive on this occasion is the positive reaction of the 6.002x staff to the criticism of this particular sequence – well done, THuang! I’m not certain that other institutions would have reacted quite so well to student feedback of this type.

Anyway, on to the week 8 labs and homework. The lab was fine – once I’d realised that the value shown on the graphs didn’t relate to the end of the curve as I’d assumed – but the portion of the graph that was marked with a very faint dotted line! I wasted a couple of hours trying to figure out what I’d got wrong with my maths …

I found the homework questions for week 8 rather tricky on the whole. Part two was relatively straightforward, but part one was especially frustrating (though I got there in the end) and part three, on a memory circuit, was somewhere between the two in difficulty.

I got around to starting week 9 yesterday evening by attempting the lab – which I was able to complete without studying any of the material beforehand. Clearly, my intuition is being developed, just as Professor Agarwal promises!

The homework questions look rather more challenging though … time to get back to the video lectures. Fortunately, there are only 18 to watch in sequence 17!

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