- #1

Florian Geyer

- 95

- 24

I have some experience with online courses, and I have found some "strange" things I want to ask about.

- First, why so many of them suggest time that is too short for the course? I will give an example here of a course I have studied in Coursera which is on vector calculus. the platform suggest that the time needed for the course is 29 hours, this is a link to the course:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/vector-calculus-engineers

and this is the link for the lecture notes https://www.math.hkust.edu.hk/~machas/vector-calculus-for-engineers.pdf .

first of all you may find 29 hours is enough, and this is entirely understandable, because I can suppose many of you have a PhD in physics or mathematics, but how about if the learner like me when I learned the course for the first time? it took me something between 250 and 300 hours, I needed this time for:

- Listening to lectures (of course).

- Reading the lecture notes and try to understand it, and doing all the derivations.

- Doing all the problems (and understanding everything in it).

- Doing some algorithms on doing the types of problems written in the lecture notes in their most general form (this of course a laborious work and takes a lot of effort and trying many things). this step is vital for my studying of mathematics.

- Trying many ways and (hitting the wall by my face as many prefer to say), and if I could not do a problem then I ask ChatGPT first (and trust me it gives me the needed insight most the time) and this of course demand that I type all the problem with all the needed steps I want to discuss and with my understanding of each step.

- If the previous step did not work, then I go to my professors and discuss the problem with them.

- Doing more work on topics which are not covered well (at least I cannot understand them) like some introduction to tensors like Levi-Cevita and Kronecker-Delta, and Einstein summation convention, and many other topics like the derivation of the gradient, divergence, curl and the Laplacian in each coordinate system (the last step regarding the del operator I just go over it like some others, because I am mortal after all).

These are the steps which I can remember right now, and I suppose there are some missing things I have done, but I thing the picture is clear now, which is there are so many things to be done and the suggested time for each course in mathematics and physics is much less than the actual needed time.. Bear in mind that I have not said anything about using even the smallest textbook on the subject, or even a chapter on a mathematical methods textbook.

so my question (especially for educators) is, why in online courses they prefer to use these very tight suggested time? please give me your insight.