Mav vs Stanford - Week 2


Stanford is offering 3 courses online: Introduction to Databases, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning. I plan on completing all the advanced tasks every week, and posting my thoughts / reflections every Sunday. This is week 2, Sunday October 23, 2011

Introduction to Databases

  • 4 units, 3 quizzes, 0 assignments
  • Of the 3 courses, this is somewhat of a black sheep. Databases doesn't seem quite as intersting, and I guess you could say the quizzes were also pretty tedious. Of course, I still haven't seen any of the videos for this course.

    Quiz 1: XML Quiz

    I honestly felt stupid taking this quiz as many times as I did. This material didn't really click until I did the next quiz.

    6 Attempts: 4/6, 4/6, 5/6, 5/6, 5/6, 6/6

    Quiz 2: DTD Exercises

    This quiz probably should have been before quiz 1, at least for me. It's actually pretty impossible to not get perfect on this quiz, since the popup validates your DTD. Pretty time consuming exercise, but easy.

    1 Attempt: 3/3

    Quiz 3: Relational Algebra Quiz

    This was pretty easy, since I know a bit of SQL. Some terms were there I didn't know, but luckily my friend (let's call him Jon) was there to fill me in on definitions.

    1 Attempt: 10/10

    Machine Learning

  • 2 units, 2 quizzes, 1 assignment
  • There was less material than last week, partially because 1 unit was dedicated to Octave, which I think is a free, open-source MATLAB. The content was similar to the previous week, with just a little bit of an extension, going from regression with 1 variable to multiple variables.

    Quiz 4: Linear Regression with Multiple Variables

    I tried the quiz part way through the videos. Most of the questions seemed pretty easy, and were covered on the videos, but there was 1 question I had no idea about (when to use gradient descent vs normal equations). The 2nd quiz, I learned my lesson, but I didn't read anything, so I got another question wrong.

    3 Attempts: 4/5, 4/5, 5/5

    Quiz 5: Octave Tutorial

    I have some familiarity with MATLAB, having to use it for school for courses here and there, so this quiz was pretty easy. I realized after you can just install Octave and run all the commands from the quiz.

    2 Attempts: 4.75/5, 5/5

    Assignment 1: Linear Regression

    Disclaimer: I'm on OS X, perhaps the experience on Windows and Linux isn't as bad. Installing Octave was smooth, but I feel like using it was a pain. First of all, when you run the program, it just opens another terminal window, but you can't run Octave from command line (easily). Put this in .bashrc or .profile or whatever:

    alias octave='exec /Applications/'

    My second gripe with Ocatve is that the command line editor isn't very good, so I just used the Octave terminal to run the scripts, and did all of my editting in vim. I recommend you to do the same.

    As for the assignment itself, there are 7 parts, with only the first 3 being mandatory. It seems overwhelming at first, but the first is a warm up exercise with the answer given to you. The submittal process is pretty smooth and results are known right away. Each part of the assigment is anywhere from 1-5 lines (at least for my answers). If coded properly, the main assignment answers can be re-used for the bonus questions as well. The whole assignment took maybe an hour.

    Final: 150/100

    Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

    Previous week's homework: 92%

  • 1 unit, ?? video questions, 1 homework assignment
  • I didn't really go through the videos last week, but this course seems to be more intense than the other 2 courses. Having 37 parts for the unit is pretty intimidating, until you realize most of them are for questions.

    Unit 3: Probability in AI

    Probability is fun, and I enjoyed learning a bit more about it, along with some other things, such as Bayes Networks. The video questions got pretty tough after a while, and I also feel like there's some sort of bug with the score calculation. It marked me as incorrect once when it was clearly correct, and rewatching the video seems to count as a wrong answer too. More experimentation must be done. Speaking of rewatching videos, sometimes a question pops up at the end of the video lecture, and there's no watch to rewatch the video with refreshing the page.

    Video Lecture Score: 75%

    Homework 2

    This takes on the same format as last week, as well as the lectures. Short video explaining the question, then a textbox or radio button to choose answers. The homework felt like it was easier than the video lecture questions, but I will see my mark before I say too much.

    What I've Learned

  • Basic background knowledge
  • These courses require a lot of time
  • I guess I shouldn't be surprised, that taking 3 courses takes a large amount of time. Doing all 3 courses took most of my Saturday, so I'm probably going to start earlier, and spend my weekend doing something else. On the plus side, I feel like I'm starting the learn the foundation for these courses, which I suppose is the end goal.