Chevron Left
Back to Modern Robotics, Course 1: Foundations of Robot Motion

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Modern Robotics, Course 1: Foundations of Robot Motion by Northwestern University

865 ratings

About the Course

Do you want to know how robots work? Are you interested in robotics as a career? Are you willing to invest the effort to learn fundamental mathematical modeling techniques that are used in all subfields of robotics? If so, then the "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" specialization may be for you. This specialization, consisting of six short courses, is serious preparation for serious students who hope to work in the field of robotics or to undertake advanced study. It is not a sampler. In Course 1 of the specialization, Foundations of Robot Motion, you will learn fundamental material regarding robot configurations, for both serial robot mechanisms and robots with closed chains. You will learn about configuration space (C-space), degrees of freedom, C-space topology, implicit and explicit representations of configurations, and holonomic and nonholonomic constraints. You will also learn how to represent spatial velocities and forces as twists and wrenches. This material is at the core of the study of anything that moves (e.g., robots). This course follows the textbook "Modern Robotics: Mechanics, Planning, and Control" (Lynch and Park, Cambridge University Press 2017). You can purchase the book or use the free preprint pdf. You will build on a library of robotics software in the language of your choice (among Python, Mathematica, and MATLAB) and use the free cross-platform robot simulator V-REP, which allows you to work with state-of-the-art robots in the comfort of your own home and with zero financial investment....

Top reviews


Dec 29, 2021

Very Engineering driven course and you better be ready for the calculations... Made for Engineers.

Coming from an Electrical/Electronic background it was really intuitive. I plan on continuing...


Jan 2, 2019

This is the place to start your journey into robotics. But stick to the entire 6 courses. This course is about laying out the basics so don't expect making robots straightaway. All the best!

Filter by:

1 - 25 of 205 Reviews for Modern Robotics, Course 1: Foundations of Robot Motion

By Ashish R

Feb 3, 2019

Good course, very heavy on theory with little to no example problems. Its good to teach theory but should be followed up with multiple real world problem to solve by hand or code.

By Marcus G

Feb 9, 2020

Explanations are not clear. I had to get back to my old mechanic books to fully understand the content of the course. As it doesn't show how to apply what you learn it is boring and useless to me. Not worth the money at all.

By Lucas R

Jun 23, 2020

More example exercises. Chapter 3 was very poor at having enough example exercises, and the discussion went deep too fast before showing more examples. The videos should be longer with more explanation of the theory. There are several exercises at the end of the chapter, but before solving those, more examples would be good.

On Youtube, you can find videos that explain a lot more than what is available on the course. The difference is that Youtube is free, and this Course is paid to get the certificate. 2-5min videos clearly are not enough. Any lecture should be is at least an 30-60min long. Relying just on the theory of the book to learn can be very difficult!

The video lectures and the book should complement each other, but this course puts all of the onus of passing the knowledge solely on the book.

By Arnab C

Jan 3, 2019

This is the place to start your journey into robotics. But stick to the entire 6 courses. This course is about laying out the basics so don't expect making robots straightaway. All the best!

By Andrew M

Oct 25, 2018

I wish there was a bit more explanation of some of the equations and derivations. Sometimes the textbook just skips to the final equation, and does not show how it got there. It would be nice if the videos showed the derivation, as opposed to just the equations.

By Ajmeet S D

Oct 10, 2020

One of the best courses I have ever taken. The textbook really helps with understanding concepts.

Can't wait to finish the remaining courses and get my specialization

By Saj M

Nov 6, 2018

Could add more material to help with certain mathematical constructs.

By Mohammad J T

Dec 11, 2019

The overall quality of the course is good, but there were a couple of issues which were a bit unsatisfactory.

For example, I didn't find the videos very engaging and helpful, but rather bland. Professor Lynch simply reads through a prepared text (which is in the background) and gives you an overview of the concepts which I found quite hard to follow. So you need to read the supplied book which, on the other hand, is very clear and rigorous. Thus you may completely ignore the videos, or just refer to them as a wrap-up.

By Pranesh G

Jun 10, 2019

it was good intro to the field of robotics. this course has intrigued my interest to learn further in the area of robotics. I would recommend this course for aspiring roboticist

By John G

Dec 20, 2020

Plus 5 points for course content: nice to see a course that isn't afraid of using some mathematics. Very well presented. Minus 2 points for use of peer review for grading. While that might be defensible for a completely free MOOC, it is really unacceptable for a paid course. Take the $$$ you are receiving and pay a TA to develop some better automated quizzes or code review bots, and get rid of the ridiculous and tedious peer reviews.

By Sichun X

May 17, 2020

Really well structured and organized. The material can be slightly overwhelming at times because of the concepts, but once you get a hang of it, it becomes much better!

By Mahmoud A M M

Jun 29, 2018

It's a great course but it need to make more detalied video

By Priyank S

Jul 23, 2021

The course is not well structured at all. The videos are crisp, sure, but it takes several hours of studying from the book (and other sources too!) just to meet the expectations.

The videos convey not much, and so, the whole course is about reading the books and trying to get through the quiz.

And I don't know about the others, but I found the quiz to be extremely tough (though exhaustive).

Not to mention the several prerequisites that need to be met before even starting the course, which saps away bit of motivation.

All in all, not a typical Coursera course. I have never had to leave a course mid-way before, but I just can't be spending so much time (and money) anymore.


Sep 15, 2018

I thank both NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY and COURSERA for providing such an wonderfull course, please do this if you want to pursue your career in the field of robotics, and also the professors answer your doubts regularly, so do not think you wont have support, they are really sweet and YES 5 starts are less for this course : )

By Youssef D

Apr 4, 2020

very fundamental course for robotics & it covers all the basics you need to start in robotics field.

thank you Dr Kevin Lynch & Dr Frank Park.

By Juan C C Z

May 4, 2018

I like this course and I like the textbook. The reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I think it could be a bit more rigorous, e.g., it is explained that postmultiplication is associated to body frame transformations (which is true), but it's exposed dogmatically instead of derived mathematically. I think that approaching Robotics using screw theory and differential equations instead of a more geometric and traditional way is a very good idea, but it calls for a better formalism in the presentation of the themes.

By Jeff S

Jun 29, 2018

A solid course, which could be improved by exploring from top down instead of bottom up. The course starts with fundamentals spaces, then of rotation matrices, translations then moves to screwstwists, wrenches. I think it would help to have this first course be an overview of robotics: Robots (types) of, the use of forward and inverse kinematics, dynamics, constrained motion, path planning, sensory systems (vision, touch), SLAM, etc.

By Haoran C

Aug 8, 2018

Rigorous mathematical introduction to rigid body motion combined with practical exercises in MATLAB and V-REP. I hope that the coursera platform can provide more exercises that test deep understanding and more difficult exercises.

By Rishipal S

Apr 29, 2019

This provides good understanding on the motion of robot. Although some notations were confusing but overall it is a very good course.

By abdelrahman s

Sep 3, 2019

The information in the videos are too little and lacks good example

the course need more solved examples

By Konstadinos I P

Nov 2, 2022

I went up to course 5 out of 6 and I was at the end of course 5 and GOT NO HELP FROM NOBODY, no tutor, no professor, no student to help, give a hint. So, I abandoned the Specialisation. It's outrageous.

By Elena O

Jun 26, 2018

Awful. It is just a glimpse of a course.

By Paul G

Jan 6, 2021

beyond me.

By Zhang K

Mar 31, 2020

I have to say it's a really great class with their textbook which can download, but I think it quite difficult for those people who didn't learn linear algebra and calculous. But I think this courses is excately great for me. I can learn a lot knowledges about Rotation matrix ect.. (Textbook is really great, I think people should download and read it during taking whole classes. (bcs you will find the class is too short it need textbook to let you truely understand those knowledge. ( and the discussion forum is really great place to find some hint from others. Really.)

And thanks for teachers and students who did these series classes for our! Respect!

By Roshan Z

May 17, 2020

A perfect course for undergraduate engineering students who want to pursue robotics as a career. A perfect balance of difficulty level is maintained, meaning you need to be good at linear algebra (Matrices) and geometrical transformations if you want to excel in this course. And a very basic elementary knowledge of any programming language like Python or MATLAB is desirable. The textbook offered in this course has helped me understand the course at a deeper level whereas the lectures provided an overview of the important points. Awesome course, has been challenging and very interesting!