This was my first experience of Coursera and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. I have done a few paid-for online courses and been very disappointed by the standard and the structure, but this exceeded all my expectations. I have learned a lot about the subject and all for free. I am an education junkie who is currently hampered by lack of funds, so Coursera suits me down to the ground.
I have a degree in literature and the level of this course was certainly degree standard in terms of the video lectures. Professor Rabkin is an inspiring lecturer with a tangible passion for the subject. This was infectious. There were two to three hours of lectures each week plus a short extra video in response to something that came up that week on the forum. I felt that the Professor put a lot of time and effort into the course himself. For anyone thinking of doing the course, be aware that it takes quite a bit of time each week - I estimated that I spent 15 - 18 hours each week in reading, research, writing the essay, reviewing other essays, watching the videos and using the forum.
There has been some criticism of the peer-review process and while I had a few reviews from people who did not seem to know what they were talking about (making erroneous comments about grammar, mostly), the majority of my reviewers were courteous and knowledgeable and made an effort to give constructive feedback. The grading system could be better, but overall I felt I got the grades each week that I deserved. I also felt that I learned a huge amount from doing reviews of other people's work. This democratic approach of learning from each other (with some input from the Professor but gentle and from afar) was a new experience and I found it very rewarding.
The forum was fascinating - not only in terms of the ideas which people discussed, but as a fascinating study into human behaviour and psychology. Sometimes it was infuriating and sometimes perplexing, but always entertaining and often enlightening.
I loved reading and thinking and writing essays but, finally, the best thing of all has been interacting with people from all over the world. I felt very much part of a global community, sharing ideas and experiences (oh, the excitement of waiting for results each week). I have also made several new friends and the learning continues as several of us (78 to date) have set up a Facebook Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Group.
I've also signed up for at least twelve other courses and become an unofficial ambassador for Coursera to anyone who will listen!