Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Networked Life @ FIX University Cultural Campus
Dinner begins at 6:00pm andmovie begins shortly after dinner. 02/19-21: TBD
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1. The Matrix (1999). 2. The Lord of The Rings Trilogy (2001-2004) *
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You can easily watch the latestmovies on your mac and enjoy them without ...
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Aliens is the studio's first movieproduced in 3-D technology.
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Top Movies
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samsung movies SamsungMovies dejó de funcionar
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Movies & Events
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movies. Lecture 4. The Motion Picture Industry. 1. Introduction
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Cheers and enjoy your movies!
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American Muscle Cars in theMovies. A yellow and black Chevy Camaro is one ...
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With the weather is heating up, free & cheap summer movies in Orange County ...
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If you want to download moviesdirectly from the internet, then all you need ...
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Lets Discuss All of the releasedmovies in year 2010 one by will be ...
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These are all the movies from the official EON Productions series.
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Romantic-Movies. Filed under · Tagged with
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Spiritual Movies | Spiritual Cinema
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After a somewhat lengthy intro, I present you my review of TheMovies...
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Most of the time, comic bookmovies end up being pretty good,...
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Top 20 movies of 2010
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Movies (HQ) - Taringa!
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More FIX on the NET @ FIX University Cultural Campus

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Networked Life

Michael Kearns

Networked Life will explore recent scientific efforts to explain social, economic and technological structures -- and the way these structures interact -- on many different scales, from the behavior of individuals or small groups to that of complex networks such as the Internet and the global economy.
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Week 5 Quizzes

Clean-up has been done for the Week 5 quizzes (those due October 15). I also noticed that two questions in Quiz 18 refer to the notion of perfect matching in networks, a concept not discussed in detail until Lecture 19. While I have added the definition to Quiz 18 to make it self-contained, I would suggest that you watch both Lectures 18 and 19 before taking Quiz 18.

Prof Kearns
Sun 7 Oct 2012 1:13:00 PM PDT

Platform Outages

We've noticed the sporadic reports of Coursera outages in the forums, and the problems this has created for quiz submission for some people. Coursera is aware of the issue and promises they will make things right on an individual basis (e.g. if quiz submission failed for platform reasons, they will let you retake it). They have told me they will be shortly send a broadcast email on this topic. So if something along these lines has happened to you, please don't worry and be patient --- just keep making your way through the course, and things will eventually be fixed.

Meanwhile --- Hang In There People! We are really approaching the home stretch now, with just a couple weeks to go after this one. I'm generally quite pleased with the quiz scores --- overall the vast majority of you are doing just fine, and will have no problem achieving "certification".

Prof Kearns
Thu 4 Oct 2012 3:22:00 AM PDT

Problems Viewing Videos and PDF Slide

There have been sporadic but consistent reports of people unable to view lecture videos and slides. This has occasionally happened to me as well, and in my experience the very first thing to try is to either restart your browser, or at least close the tab in which you are trying to view, and then try loading the content again.

Other than that, it's possible there are platform issues with particular types of browsers, or particular versions of particular browsers, that Coursera needs to be made aware of. In order to give them as much information as possible, you should post your problems to the "Technical Issues" forum (which by the way should NOT be used for things related to course content, like quiz questions and the like; those should go in the "Assignments" forum), and ideally state what browser you are using, what version, on what kind of machine (e.g. PC vs Mac), and what operating system version. The more info you can provide, the better Coursera can troubleshoot. If in the Technical Issues forum, I start to see consistent problems with certain configurations of browser etc., I will alert Coursera staff.

Prof Kearns
Mon 1 Oct 2012 12:50:00 PM PDT

NPR Piece

The aforementioned NPR piece on Coursera, including Networked Life, ran last evening. The link to the audio and a much briefer text article is here. Thanks to the many of you who volunteered to be interviewed; alas, in the end the piece only interviews a single student, and from a different course. I guess that's life in show business... but it was good to hear from so many of you.

Prof Kearns
Mon 1 Oct 2012 5:15:00 AM PDT

Week 4 Quiz Revisions; Certificates for Early Completers

* As per earlier announcements on gradual quiz revisions, the quizzes for Week 4 (i.e. those quizzes due on October 8) have been cleaned up and clarified a bit.

* A number of forum posters have wondered when certificates will be issued to those who complete the course ahead of the 6-week pace. I'm going to ask those people to please be patient and wait until the 6-week pace runs to completion, so that I get have a more accurate sense of what the overall averages and numbers look like for the entire student population. My reasoning here is that I want to set standards that are appropriate and fair to those on the 6-week pace, and not bias it towards those who chose to go faster. My strong suspicion is that the vast majority of early completions will easily receive certificates.

Prof Kearns
Fri 28 Sep 2012 1:43:00 PM PDT

Volunteers for NPR Program?

All, National Public Radio (NPR) here in the U.S. is doing a story on Coursera and online vs. offline education, and Networked Life is apparently going to be featured. The reporters have expressed interest in talking to international (i.e. non-U.S.) students taking this course, in particular any of you from South Asia and Africa. If you're willing and interested in being contacted by NPR for this purpose, please drop me an email with the subject line "NPR" at

Best Prof Kearns
Wed 26 Sep 2012 8:47:00 AM PDT

Update on Missed Quizzes and Certificates

I have heard back from Coursera staff on ways I can be lenient on those of you who registered late for the course. Here's what I am going to do:

1. The deadline for Week 1 and Week 2 quizzes will be retroactively reset to this coming FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 at 11:59PM Pacific (California) time. By "retroactively", I mean that at the end of this week, I will reset these quiz deadlines. (I don't want to do it now, because if I do, the "Upcoming Quizzes" section will become flooded with these past quizzes, making it impossible to see the current week's quizzes.) So rest assured that as long as you complete these quizzes by this Friday, you will receive full credit for them with respect to grading and certificates. This should take care of all of you who registered late.

2. In addition to the above, I will also drop everyone's FOUR lowest quiz scores in computing your overall average. This allows for people with especially busy work, travel, or other schedule constraints to slip a bit at some point but still do well overall.

Please remember:

* There is one quiz associated with EVERY lecture.

* Quiz due dates (other than the reset for Weeks 1 and 2 above) are always Monday 11:59 PACIFIC time.

Prof Kearns
Tue 25 Sep 2012 3:12:00 AM PDT

Late Registration, Missed Quizzes and Certificates

There is a forum thread, and some of you have emailed me directly, on the topic of people who registered late and missed early quiz deadlines, or who miss quiz deadlines for other reasons. A number of you are wondering whether certification will be possible under such circumstances.

I am generally sympathetic to late registrants, and people who might miss the occasional quiz deadline for other reasons. My goal is to award certificates to everyone who completes the course and shows reasonable comprehension of the main themes via the quizzes.

I have asked Coursera staff whether the platform supports certificate award logic such as "take the average of the student's k best quiz scores out of n, and compare it to some threshold value". If so, I will likely use such a rule with a value of k that permits some missed quizzes. If not, I will simulate it by taking what I consider to be a reasonably good average score and then reducing it by zeroing out some number of quizzes in order to compute the certification threshold. I'll update on this topic once I know what is possible.

In short, if you missed the first week's quizzes, or miss a few over the course, don't sweat certification; I will figure out a way to be flexible and fair on this topic. Just do your best to keep up with the pace from here on out.

Prof Kearns
Mon 24 Sep 2012 7:42:00 AM PDT

Week 3 Quiz Revisions

As I said I would keep doing, I have cleaned up the quizzes for Week 3 (next week) to improve clarity, so those of you following the 6-week pace should hopefully have few glitches and ambiguities.

Prof Kearns
Sat 22 Sep 2012 3:28:00 PM PDT

Week 2 Quiz Revisions

In response to some of the confusions reported in the first week of the course, I have gone ahead and revised and generally "cleaned up" the Week 2 quizzes a bit. I will generally try to do this in advance of each week in the 6-week pace, and if I get time, to work further ahead of the schedule for those of you who are working at a faster pace. As noted in the last announcement below, this means that students may see slightly different versions of a quiz depending on when they take it.

Most of the quiz questions test basic comprehension of the main concepts in the corresponding lecture, but there are occasional problems asking you to do a simple calculation of some kind. I realize some students may be more adept at this type of exercise than others, and these problems are mainly meant to challenge you a bit.

Some of you have lamented the lack of feedback giving correct answers. The problem is the platform only allows us to give the answers after every quiz attempt, or not at all. Since giving the answers after your first attempt would make a second attempt meaningless, we had to opt for not providing the answers directly. Hopefully the platform will solve this problem soon.

Prof Kearns
Tue 18 Sep 2012 5:58:00 AM PDT

Quiz Questions and Issues

I realize that many of you have questions about some of the quizzes, are uncertain why certain answers are correct, feel that there may be bugs, technical issues and so on. This note is about these issues and how we'll try to address them when warranted.

First of all, please understand that this online course is entirely new, and creating quizzes for it is as much art as science. Given the deliberately inclusive and interdisciplinary nature of the course, it's impossible to know in advance what people will find easy or hard, what concepts will create confusion, and so on. The current quizzes are far from perfect, and are the least tested aspect of the course; in contrast, the lectures are based on years of teaching the material offline at Penn. So far we have refrained from trying to answer every question in detail, mainly because we were unsure how big a job this would be. But for at least the major points of confusion, it seems more feasible now, on which more below.

All this being said, here are some things we'll be trying to do to help out:

* I have asked the TAs for the Penn version of this course to monitor the discussion forums on a regular basis and try to respond to those threads that seem to express legitimate sources of confusion or problems, and have the most posts. By "regular" I don't mean immediate response; think more like daily. The TAs are named Hoda Heidari and Sneha Jha. They are full-time Penn graduate students with their own full load of coursework and research, and are doing this voluntarily, so please treat them with respect and patience.

* If we find actual "bugs" in quizzes, or questions we think need replacing or rephrasing, we will go ahead and do so. This means it's possible people who take a quiz later will see a different and improved version than those who took it earlier. This will of course be taken into consideration when considering certification (which again I anticipate awarding to all those who demonstrated mastery of the basic course concepts, and will definitely be done "on the curve", since the curve is my best guide to the utility of the quizzes).

* Apparently there were actually some technical issues at Coursera itself in the last day or so which may have caused some of you to see inconsistent feedback and results on quizzes. Coursera staff are fixing this, and say they will inform affected students via email.

In summary, please keep doing your best and being patient. Your constructive feedback will help us improve the quizzes for future instances of the course, and hopefully we'll address any major issues promptly.

Prof Kearns
Sun 16 Sep 2012 2:59:00 PM PDT

Various and Sundry

Greetings Coursera NWLifers!!! Just a few words from your friendly neighborhood professor.

First of all, I want to thank all of you for participating in the first open, online version of this course. You are all pioneers and your constructive feedback will improve future iterations of this course, Coursera more generally, and online education at large. While I have not participated in the discussion forums, and generally will not, I am broadly monitoring them for major complaints, confusions, etc. I will just address a few points here, both important and amusing, that have come to my attention so far.

* First and most important: there are Week 1 quiz deadlines coming up Monday. Please be sure to take the corresponding quizzes by then, even if you feel behind or unprepared. It's better to have at least attempted the quiz than not have taken it at all.

* The threshold for certification: those of you who surmised that I did not specify the exact threshold because the course and quizzes are new are correct. In general I expect anyone who has put the effort in to watch all the videos and try their best on the quizzes to receive certification. The quizzes may have ambiguities and bugs (as some of you have helpfully noted) that will be corrected and improved in later iterations. So I wanted to see what the numbers looked like before setting the threshold, in order to err on the side of being reasonable, not mysterious. Executive Summary: just do your best and don't worry!

* Now for the lighter side: Regarding the Comic Sans thread --- Comic Sans Users of the World Unite! We are the smokers of typography: whereas once our habit was not only accepted, but the social norm, now we are relegated to puffing our beloved font in freezing winter winds in back alleys away from any building entrance.

* Regarding the Greetings and Salutations intros: these are meant to be a joke, and if you don't get it by Lecture 13 you're not watching.

Thanks to all of you, and keep it coming!

Prof Kearns
Fri 14 Sep 2012 4:17:00 PM PDT

Links to the Offline Version of the Course

To those of you interested in additional materials related to course themes (beyond those provided by the supplementary links under "Video Lectures") --- you might want to peruse the slides, articles, readings, links, and other items in the traditional offline version of this course at the University of Pennsylvania. This semester's version can be found here. There's not a lot there yet because the semester just started at Penn, but it will fill out as the Fall progresses. You can also look at this previously completed version. 

You will see that the offline Penn version is considerably longer, and has lots of additional materials and topics. Enjoy!

Prof Michael Kearns
University of Pennsylvania
Mon 10 Sep 2012 11:58:00 AM PDT

Welcome to Networked Life!

This announcement provides some important basic course information. Please read it carefully and in its entirety.

* There are no formal prerequisites for this course, and it is expected that students from a wide range of backgrounds will be able to succeed.

* The course duration is 6 weeks (the schedule is specified under "Video Lectures"), but this is only the minimum recommended pace. More precisely, ALL of the videos and quizzes for the entire course are already available from the start, and you are free to watch and take them as fast as you like and are able to. The quiz deadlines, which fall on the week of the corresponding lectures, follow the 6-week pace. In other words, you must complete the course within the allotted 6 weeks, but you are free to go faster if you prefer. It is anticipated that the 6-week pace will be quite manageable for students with a wide range of backgrounds and schedules.

* There are no homework or other assignments for the course, only the quizzes, each of which corresponds to a specific lecture. The quiz corresponding to a given lecture has the same numerical index as the lecture. For the most part, quizzes are quite short, and test basic attention and understanding of the key points in the corresponding lecture.

* You are free to retake each quiz once. The maximum of your 2 scores will be your final score for that quiz.

* Your overall course score will be the simple average of the individual quizzes. Certifications will be awarded for course scores exceeding some minimum threshold (to be determined at a later time).

* You will notice under "Video Lectures" that, in addition to PDF versions of the slides for each lecture, there may be links to supplemental material for that lecture. Often these links are to demos or articles that were directly discussed in the corresponding lecture; sometimes they are to relevant additional materials, like Wikipedia pages. In order to get the most out of the course, you are strongly encouraged to take the time to peruse this additional material, read the full source articles, etc.

I hope you enjoy the course!

Prof. Michael Kearns
University of Pennsylvania
Fri 7 Sep 2012 5:39:00 AM PDT

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