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Great online course available: «Securing Digital Democracy», by J. Alex Halderman

I was pointed at a great online course — If you are into e-voting analysis (or, more broadly, into democratic processes’ history, evolution and future), I strongly suggest you to take a look at «Securing Digital Democracy». Just the name of the teacher should be enough to make it interesting: University of Michigan professor J. Alex Halderman, the guy who has analized/hacked several electronic booths, and one of the clearest, smartest voices to explain what should we require of a voting system and how electronic booths are the worst fit for any purpose.

The course is delivered through Coursera; I have found Coursera to be an effective, usable, unobtrusive platform — So much I even signed up for another course. I am not so happy with online courses requiring to wait so much between lessons, but after all, it tries to mimic what we see at “regular” (i.e. classroom) teaching settings. And, after all, we autodidacts are still a minority.

The course in question started ten days ago, but you can still perfectly join. Each week has two lessons, worth of approximately 40 minutes of video each, and are “graded” through a quiz. Lets see how this evolves.


vicm3 2012-09-14 08:35:55


I want to take other courses also from Coursera, but at this moment I’m taking another on line course by OEI, this one not free, so even when last month the TED talk of Daphne Koller [1] convince me that I have to take at least one, to take a look (and also there are great lecturers), I at this moment can’t even manage my current workload.

But the point really is, we as teachers know that some of our students are capable and eager to go a faster pace than others, and is not that autodidacts are less, the problem is that not every student manage to order and program their time or involvement, so depending on the teacher one has to select between make available all the contents from the beginning or go at the pace of the majority… most of us select that last and maybe provide side projects or material for our students that are ahead or “advanced” on the topic, in any case more and more I keep hearing of this open courses like MITx and Coursera… And I think that is good news.