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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Algorithmic Toolbox by University of California San Diego

4.6
stars
10,691 ratings
2,249 reviews

About the Course

The course covers basic algorithmic techniques and ideas for computational problems arising frequently in practical applications: sorting and searching, divide and conquer, greedy algorithms, dynamic programming. We will learn a lot of theory: how to sort data and how it helps for searching; how to break a large problem into pieces and solve them recursively; when it makes sense to proceed greedily; how dynamic programming is used in genomic studies. You will practice solving computational problems, designing new algorithms, and implementing solutions efficiently (so that they run in less than a second)....

Top reviews

BD
Jan 19, 2021

The course was really amazing which provided deep knowledge from basic to advance that how algorithms works and how to design algorithms. Thanks to all the expert teachers who taught in this course.

SG
Jan 19, 2017

I liked the fact that the algorithms are not just the introductory searching and sorting algorithms. The assignments are fairly difficult (I have decent scripting experience), but not impossibly so.

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151 - 175 of 2,172 Reviews for Algorithmic Toolbox

By Mengyong L

Sep 25, 2020

Pretty good, lots of good practice but it gets extremely difficult later in the course. And since this is just the first course of the specialization, I think this specialization is going to be tough as hell

By Prabhuyadav P

Oct 24, 2018

language of professor in a dynamic programming part 1 is tough to understand and makes he concept even harder to understand through videos.(this is only for week5)

By Akshay M

Sep 13, 2020

Course tends to get really difficult in the dynamic programming weeks but nonetheless it is very carefully crafted for maximum clarity of concepts.

By Brian E

Mar 31, 2019

The lectures are hit and miss. Some are helpful, and others are pretty hard to follow. The coding challenges are helpful.

By Yusuf A

Mar 23, 2021

the last week 5 was very difficult to understand

By Melody C

Aug 15, 2019

I'm giving 3 stars out of respect for the hard work the instructors, Coursera community and course mentors put together to make this course happen, but the quality of the course is at most 1-2 stars. I finished 100% of the assignments even though half of that was required to pass the course, and I have a few concerns about this course:

1 - Poor Use of Pseudo Codes. While Pseudo codes are perfectly fine and sometimes extremely helpful, none of the Pseudo codes in this course were intuitive and can be efficiently translated into real codes. First of all, variable names are confusing and do not tell you what this symbol holds at the first glance, just like how the whole course was taught in a mathematical way rather than programming way, variable names are all like i, j, s, t, l .... when we could have made them into something meaningful and readable.

2 - Since only Pseudo codes were given, it's hard for newer students to learn how a working algorithm actually looks like and how it runs at each step. I feel that either you already know how to do it, or you can't come up with one at all before debugging for hours. So it is more important to show something that actually works from the beginning, then students can imitate -> improvise -> create. Again the Pseudo codes are terrible examples.

3 - DP sections were badly explained, really really bad ........ any of the YouTube videos and GeeksforGeeks explanations are 10X clearer and more intuitive. I feel like the instructors just wanted to teach the math instead of how to program. But the math isn't any difficult to understand, the key is to convert ideas into codes, and this part was completely ignored.

By Wahyu G

Feb 21, 2018

If you're a self-taught coder, then you should take this course. It teaches you how to construct efficient and working algorithm. It's getting harder when it comes to Divide-and-Conquer because it is hard to imagine and also in the Dynamic Programming because the lecturer does not start with the definition of DP itself. The 'language' used by the lecturers in some sense is hard to be understood. Also, the mentors and people in the forum is not so active. I already asked several questions in the forum, but until now there's no responses.

The amazing thing about this course is it is the PROGRAMMING ASSIGNMENT. It'll force you to find external references. You have to spend more time than the estimated time from Coursera.

By Raj D

Jun 28, 2020

First 3 weeks are very good and brilliantly explained but I lost my way from Week 4. I had to refer to many external videos on YouTube and other sources to complete the assignments.

Also the Ungraded tools don't work at all. I believe that they are an integral part of understanding the concepts and they should be fixed.

By Arshia A

Dec 5, 2020

the last 2 weeks weren't as good as expected

it could have been a lot better it was too long and exhausting

and the questions weren't even near the level of the teaching process and it was far harder

By Jibran Z B

Nov 7, 2019

The way of communicating can be improved, rest is good.

By Anmol B

Dec 2, 2019

problems asked are not explained properly in videos

By Nasim Z

Jun 14, 2016

Algorithmic Toolbox consists of a series of slides containing slimmed down explanations on introductory algorithmic concepts, followed up with programming assignments. The slides are the centrepiece of the course, as the presenters rarely stray from the bullet points and pseudocode they're comprised of.

I learned a lot during this course. Although, to gain confidence in your knowledge, this is a course that will require you to seek out additional materials to supplement your learning. Perhaps unsurprising being an introductory course, but the presenters struggle when faced with setting expectations.

Throughout the course presenters often gloss over fairly complex concepts, treating them as they were trivial knowledge. This applies to mathematical definitions, proofs where most steps are skipped, tree diagrams without the context of their underlying theory, or bullet points used in place of what could be detailed explanations.

All material is left equally weighted. Rather than providing explanations like: "We don't need to go into detail on this, only x concept from it is important for what we want to focus on. Reference this chapter in this book for more detail." presenters would read mathematical definitions verbatim from the slides and move on. I was often unsure of how much I would need to know about such concepts.

In terms of communication ability, the presenters don't hold up against many of the free/low-cost services I'm accustomed to using, for example: MIT OpenCourseWare, Udacity, edX, Khan Academy, Code School, Treehouse, etc. Perhaps unsurprising, as these competing services often feature professional communicators rather than professional researchers. But the marketplace for quality online education is definitely becoming a competitive one. Users now expect nothing less than presenters with exceptional communication/teaching ability.

In most videos the presenters read verbatim from the slides and motion with their hands to explain concepts that would be better broken down on a whiteboard. Rarely straying from the slides, the times the presenters go into more depth on a concept, you get a scribble in the corner of a slide, lacking the clarity I've come to expect when approaching complex concepts from master educators like YouTuber PatrickJMT or Khan Academy. After a couple weeks into the course, I just went straight to the slides, read MIT's Introduction to Algorithms, and skipped most of the course videos.

But all things considered, the course served as a good curriculum to guide my focus through the introductory concepts, regardless of where I sought it out.

By Sriragh K

Jul 16, 2018

The course has multiple limitations and can improve a lot more. Two main issues I faced were these:Dynamic programming part one lectures were very poor and hard to understand as a result of which I had to view external sources to understand the topicSecondly, the idea of not showing test cases is a bit strange as understanding the failing test cases do not really come in the way of understanding algorithm, it simply makes the questions much harder and tedious to solve. This completely eliminates the purpose of the course and wastes the time of most students. I am a bit disappointed with this course and didn't see it as value for money.

By Federico C

Mar 9, 2021

There is no way of understanding content without checking other sources, the explanations are poor.

By Viraj D

May 1, 2019

Lack of coding practice.

By Amit J

Nov 18, 2017

The auto-grader and py codes are a big let down for me. The auto-grader takes too long to produce a result (more than 1 hour) and for me many a times it has been the case. No one from the organizing team spent any time in resolving this issue.

The py code is a big let down for me. The way i/o is done is pretty lame. There is no print statement displayed that states "Pls give input" etc... For output you need to do Ctrl + Z and then you see the answer. IMHO this is bad coding for i/o.

Organizers need to understand that working professionals are pressed for time and automation should help them rather than frustrate them and lead to loss of time.

By Nader a

Jul 7, 2020

This course is so bad, I needed a lot of external resources so i can understand the lectures, the assigments are far from the algorithms explained in the lectures, we cant think and find a solution if we do not get the basics explained well also the usage of pseudo code instead of one programming language

makes everything unclear, the names of the variables does not relate to its reference the professors are just naming any names arr1,arr2,... etc so this causes a misconception.

By Amir M O

Jun 20, 2019

I wouldn't recommend this course to anyone. Just go on youtube and search for data structure and algorithms videos.

some of the the instructors here have language barrier and it makes it super difficult to go through this course.

No help when you are stuck either.

They keep making everything too complicated and keep using fancy tough math words.

If you are interested in Academic side of computer science take this course otherwise don't waste your time.

By Tian

Jun 17, 2018

taking this one right now and almost give up. I got no support from the faculty or mentor, questions on the forum are rarely answered. If you get stuck in the problem you are pretty much wasting your time. I am not saying you should look at the answer right away, but if you have no clue what to do, answer should be provided to help. BUT THERE IS NOTHING THERE.

By Pavel T

Feb 23, 2020

This course is a complete mess.

1. In week 2 they presented fibonacci numbers solution and they said that runtime complexity is quadratic but in presented solution it was linear.

2. In practical task of week 2 they didn't provide sufficient description about what should be done

3. Language of some speakers is mediocre

By Andrea L

Sep 1, 2017

Very unsatisfied. At the end, I feel I learnt nothing.

1 - Explanations not always clear

2 - Too many exercises in the assignments

3 - Some exercise was not very useful and takes much time to understand what they want exactly.

4 - Price is too high per month for this course.

By Magnus P

Mar 4, 2017

I don't recommend this course. The lectures barely touch on the topics being taught, you are expected to go learn on your own. I learned more from the free Khan academy than from this course. It would have been worth more buying good literature on algorithms.

By Naga S

Aug 31, 2018

i'm unable to understand why my code is getting an error in your compiler. Because I had checked my code in various online compilers also, It is rediculous and I totally lost my patience since i was trying from past 10 days.

By Rohan G

Apr 22, 2018

The course is OK. But there is no mentor to answer the question in the discussion forum. So in case of any doubt no one is there to help.

By Yifei P

Nov 24, 2017

Too bad. I do not know how to run the program on my Mac. The professors' voice also made me annoyed.