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mungouk
1 hour ago, abcdefg said:

Each module can be taken free or, if you want to get a certificate, you must pay $50 for each one. 

 

Over the past couple of weeks I've been working my way through the Coursera MOOC on Confucian Philosophy.

 

I'm not sure if business models of MOOCs have changed generally, or it's just Coursera, but I was a bit disappointed that if you don't pay to "upgrade" (which they remind you of constantly) then all you can do is watch the videos.  I don't expect to be able to submit written assignments if I'm just auditing the course, but after completing a multiple choice test to then be told I can't even see my result without paying seems a bit rich — it's not as if any human intervention is involved.  This put me off completing it a bit.

 

In the past I've done MOOCs unrelated to China on EdX and Udemy and we could participate 100% in the forums etc., and the only difference with paying was that you got a certificate.  Is it just Coursera or are they all pushing the monetisation side of things now?

 

btw the Philosophy one has various PDF extracts from selected textbooks available to download, although the videos just generally mention reading the analects and don't really reference the readings much.

 

 

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Bibu

interesting  to see how foreigners view on ancient history. Normally it was told the foreigners see through a curtain, LOL. 

 

Thanks!

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abcdefg
36 minutes ago, mungouk said:

I'm not sure if business models of MOOCs have changed generally, or it's just Coursera, but I was a bit disappointed that if you don't pay to "upgrade" (which they remind you of constantly) then all you can do is watch the videos. 

 

I didn't know that @mungouk -- Hope that's not true for this course. I'm not taking it for credit and could not justify the expense of $50 a pop just to pursue Chinese history, which for me after all is a hobby. 

 

Quote

Normally it was told the foreigners see through a curtain, LOL. 

 

I certainly see through a curtain, @Bibu -- sometimes a thick one. 

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Luxi

Interesting! Thanks for sharing this @abcdefg! I hadn't seen it on the Coursera list - where I was half-tempted to sign up for a course on ancient Phoenicians.  I agree that they seem to be pushing the $$$ side a bit too hard but how hard depends partly on the University running the course.  I still enjoyed the one on Confucian philosophy, it was a refreshing presentation and I liked the Instructor very much. I thought the Discussions were open to all but didn't try, I'm happy just auditing.

 

9 hours ago, abcdefg said:

I hope they will post required readings on the course website, but have no confirmation at this time. 

 

I'm sure all readings on which the course is based will be available on the web - including the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. The Wikipedia articles on ancient Chinese history are quite good as a basic introduction and well edited, I can't think of a book in English covering so much in such a 'compact' form. 

 

I've already done quite a few courses on similar topics and the emphasis on 'religion' puts me off a bit, so I'll probably give this one a miss. 

 

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vivea

That's nice, I'm going to enroll!

 

Btw, I've discovered that you can always access whole courses once enrolled even before they start. The preview limits you to the first week, but if you get to the last preview item and just click 'Next', you'll be taken to the second week, and so on and so forth. You can even do quizes ahead of time. I dislike being limited by dates, so I've used that extensively to access materials that I didn't want to wait for. But don't share that on Coursera forums. If they learn about this, they might decide to remove the 'Next' button or something else like that...

 

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abcdefg

@vivea - Thanks for the tip. My lips are sealed. 

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amytheorangutan
On 8/15/2018 at 3:03 AM, mungouk said:

Over the past couple of weeks I've been working my way through the Coursera MOOC on Confucian Philosophy.

How is this course @mungouk? I’m interested in the topic but wonder how the course in being presented and if the lecturer is good? 

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mungouk

@amytheorangutan the quality is good (apart from cheesy graphics) and the lecturer is clear.  I learned a lot.

 

I was binge-watching it mostly and about half-way through started to get bored with the pace... it goes pretty deep in the first 3 parts and I was hoping for something more like a quick overview.  (There is a re-cap or two at the start of part 4.)

 

The final part I was looking forward to most as it supposedly discusses the modern-day legacy and impact of Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism, but I was a little put off by the fact that this section is just interviews with scholars, alumni and students of NTU, and one of the reviews of the course says this section isn't very good.  I may return to it when I have some time. 

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vivea

@abcdefg, the last item is almost always the quiz, which means that unfortunately the trick doesn't work with the courses locked behind the paywall, since as far as I remember now you have to finish doing a quiz to unlock the Next button.

 

 

 

So, I've watched this course, the one the topic is about, for a while and I'm now at two thirds of week 3. The course is interesting, but the guy (sorry, I'm bad at remembering names) isn't giving enough context. At first it was ok, but then he started speaking a bit too abstractly, and I found myself with a rather chaotic jumble of facts. For example, I still have no idea what Heaven is, although he's been talking about it a lot, and I suspect that maybe it's the same as Dao, as it's called 天道 (or 道天, I forget). Hopefully he'll get to it later when he starts to discuss Daoism.

 

A few times I found myself able to grasp some stuff only b\c I already knew of it, he mentions stuff that he knows but the audience probably doesn't and he expects you to make the connection on your own. I have to wonder how much I've missed.

 

Quizes don't work correctly in the first week. I'm completely sure that I've got it right, questions are pretty simple, but those quiz items that have to be entered manually aren't recognized by the system as correct. Someone is going to complain about it in the forums once they're open, but for now that's how it is.

 

Tastes differ, so don't allow that to deter you from the course. It's still interesting, otherwise I would get to studying Chinese yesterday instead of wasting all my time for watching the course! One of welcome features of this course for all of us is liberal usage of original Chinese terms. You can easily copy them for yourself from the transcript below the video.

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abcdefg
3 hours ago, vivea said:

Quizes don't work correctly in the first week. I'm completely sure that I've got it right, questions are pretty simple, but those quiz items that have to be entered manually aren't recognized by the system as correct. Someone is going to complain about it in the forums once they're open, but for now that's how it is.

 

I was troubled by that too @vivea -- I sent them a note about it, but got no reply. Was shocked to get a couple of 50% scores on slam-dunk easy quizzes. 

 

After watching several more of the lectures, I agree they are kind of flat. Teacher just sits there at his desk reading from his iPad. My mind wanders all over the universe. Could use the audio-visual medium much, much better. Maybe it improves as time goes on; not sure I will ever find out. 

 

One further gripe is that one is left to his own devices to find the textbooks from which the assigned readings come (unless I am missing something.) For example, here's one day's assignment: 

 

  • Fu-shih Lin, “The Image and Status of Shamans in Ancient China,” Early Chinese Religion I, pp. 397-458.
  • Robert Eno, “Deities and Ancestors in Shang Oracle Inscriptions,” in Donald Lopez, ed., Chinese Religions in Practice (Princeton, 1996), pp. 41–51.
  • Roel Sterckx, “The Economics of Religion in Warring States and Early Imperial China,” Early Chinese Religion I: Shang through Han, pp. 839-80. 

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vivea

@abcdefg, I honestly believe that these assignments aren't required for the course, they're for those who want to delve deeper into the topic and are interested enough to buy the books. All these assignments come from the book he mentions in the beginning, I believe, the one entitled "Early Chinese Religion". I don't mind that the teacher reads out from his iPad, as long as he elucidates it with more details. I really just want more historical context. For example, he speaks of confucianism emerging from the intellectual class, but how did the intellectual class emerge? How did they go from mere scribes, treated as workers, to respected counsilors? It's difficult for me to imagine the details on my own. For some reason I can't make Enter work correctly, it won't allow me to go to the next paragraph, so I'll just proceed writing here... I happen to have a background with daoism and Chinese medicine and such, at about 20 I became crazy about all that and practiced stuff like qigong and taichichuan, so I will likely be watching till the end, too curious to know about the roots of all this... It makes me smile now when I hear about intellectuals coming up with rationalized (BS) explanations, I used to be a true believer long ago, after all :-) A lot of this actually works, though, and now I believe that this is thanks to a placebo effect and the fact that they teach you not just to perform physical exercises like we do in the West, but to do these movements while meditating (yes, it's possible to meditate with movement). That puts your mind in an altered state and creates some profound (but temporary) bodily sensations of bliss and 'health'. And by temporary I mean that they can last for hours afterwards, but they'll be gone eventually.

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abcdefg

I understand. Thanks for your explanation. Didn't realize the readings were optional. 

 

You have an interesting background. Glad you joined this forum and I look forward to your continuing contributions. 

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Bibu
On 8/18/2018 at 7:53 PM, vivea said:

they teach you not just to perform physical exercises like we do in the West, but to do these movements while meditating (yes, it's possible to meditate with movement). That puts your mind in an altered state and creates some profound (but temporary) bodily sensations of bliss and 'health'.

do your get to some stages as you described?

 

happened reading some  Kongfu nonfictions these days,  very interesting, 3 books ,  this is the 1st https://book.douban.com/subject/25708139/, 逝去的武林

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vivea
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do your get to some stages as you described?

Yes. They aren't really stages, though, sensations and visions are mostly just a sign that something is happening, that you're currently affecting your mind. Or, if you prefer, that your mind is in a different state. They don't mean anything on their own and don't constitute a big achievement. I do believe there is more, but daoism is pretty inaccessible these days, at least in the West. Buddhism has a lot more and much clearer explanations for the same things and its methods are much better explained and accessible. It's easier to find teachers, too. So, I'd always send someone seriously interested in dao to read about rigpa instead, or maybe to look into chan buddhism a little.

 

Yeah MA is pretty interesting. I wonder to what extent they're mythical, though. It's certainly possible to exert some influence on your body with the mind, to do things like remove pain, but some things they claim to be capable of sound almost unreal. Then again, one martial artist I knew told me that shattering a brick with his hand is just a trick and anyone can learn that. I'm still not sure what to make of that.

 

 

 

Coursera MOOC on Confucian Philosophy.

I started watching this one and really liked it. There was a relatively bad review on it in this topic, but each to their own, I guess. Explanations are good and thorough enough to be interesting, and it isn't chaotic, unlike the course the topic is about.

 

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mungouk
4 hours ago, vivea said:

Then again, one martial artist I knew told me that shattering a brick with his hand is just a trick and anyone can learn that.

 

Yes, it is mostly — in terms of focusing your 'external' energy. And my mis-shapen arthritic knuckles are a reminder of my youthful hubris.  (Karate.)

 

I also did Taiji and Qigong devotedly for several years back then though, and can really appreciate that buzz you were alluding to earlier.  There's nothing quite like walking home from class sizzling from head to foot with Qi.  I keep telling myself I should really start doing it again.  My 72 year-old mother (who's English) now does it twice a week and loves it. 

 

 

 

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