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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Text Retrieval and Search Engines by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

897 ratings
186 reviews

About the Course

Recent years have seen a dramatic growth of natural language text data, including web pages, news articles, scientific literature, emails, enterprise documents, and social media such as blog articles, forum posts, product reviews, and tweets. Text data are unique in that they are usually generated directly by humans rather than a computer system or sensors, and are thus especially valuable for discovering knowledge about people’s opinions and preferences, in addition to many other kinds of knowledge that we encode in text. This course will cover search engine technologies, which play an important role in any data mining applications involving text data for two reasons. First, while the raw data may be large for any particular problem, it is often a relatively small subset of the data that are relevant, and a search engine is an essential tool for quickly discovering a small subset of relevant text data in a large text collection. Second, search engines are needed to help analysts interpret any patterns discovered in the data by allowing them to examine the relevant original text data to make sense of any discovered pattern. You will learn the basic concepts, principles, and the major techniques in text retrieval, which is the underlying science of search engines....

Top reviews


Sep 20, 2016

Great course for those trying to understand how ro analyse and process text data. It has the right amount of tools to help you understand the basics of information retrieval and search engines.


Dec 28, 2020

Great introductory course. It has opened my eyes to new challenges that face information retrieval. DON"T TAKE THIS COURSE IF YOU WANT TO LEARN elasticsearch.

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101 - 125 of 185 Reviews for Text Retrieval and Search Engines

By R M

May 7, 2020


By Sreenidhi H

May 9, 2019


By M S

Apr 22, 2018


By Ian W

Aug 2, 2018

Good class, knowledge learned. Below are some problems I personally encountered.

* there are almost no explanations of the quiz/exam answers and some questions in quizzes did not match the course progress. However, before the final quiz, there is a small quiz in advance, you can do small quizzes for unlimited times and it resembles the final quizzes. Maybe the author designed this on purpose for the users to learn by trial and error?

Another way is finish courses of the next week, and then come back to finish the quiz of the previous week.

* some concepts require previous knowledge, otherwise you'll have to Google during the class.

* It might take some time to get used to the speaker's accent for non-English speakers.

* suggest that the instructor could use a touch screen or stylus to illustrate on screen.

* The honor missions are out-dated and requires a lot of de-bugging.

By kefei m

Oct 7, 2020

The course provides a nice framework for the learners. The instructor is very knowledgeable and has covered a very wide range of information regarding text retrieval tasks.

Unfortunately, the lab design is not very good - a bit outdated, if not broken at all. I gave 4 stars because I really hope the course can improve that part.

Tips: The quiz is not necessarily easy, but easy to pass, if that's what you care about. However, the nitty-gritty of this course is better comprehended by implementing it on some tasks. That said, find some guide project and try it on, projects like toy recommendation system, toy search engine, etc.


Dec 21, 2017

The class content layout is excellent, it gives an overall picture about text retrieve and search engine, also point out the direction of further learning. Professor Zhai teaches excellent too. In lecture, those simple examples help understanding the algorithm very well.

I just hope Professor Zhai can provide more wide or deep class on such topic.

The only drawback is the program assignment is not well maintained. Almost no staff answer questions.

By Michael P

Oct 21, 2020

I'm withholding one star mainly because the MeTA programming assignments need to be rewritten. MeTA has undergone a major revision change since this course was created and much of the code provided by the instructors no longer works/compiles against MeTA. Judging from the forum discussions, many students are struggling to get the coding assignments working. Otherwise the lectures and the reading materials were good.

By Eric Y

Dec 11, 2017

Excellent lecture material with many very interesting concepts. Instructor clearly talks about topics and why they're important. -1 star due to: content being on quizzes before being covered in lecture, compilation errors in the programming assignments, errors in submitting programming assignments, and lack of instructor support/feedback on the discussion forms.

By Michael V

Jul 15, 2016

The course is interesting and you can learn a lot. The professor is very knowledgeable in the area of search engines. However the course goes very early into mathematical details without too much context. The programming assignments are great and I would focus more on them as they really show you how the engine works.

By Ayanabha G

Jun 9, 2020

A good start for the NLP aspirants ! But there are some problems need to be addressed. Such as, some quiz problems are given before they've been discussed. Also, I personally felt a bit problem in understanding the English accent of the Professor. Otherwise, a great course, learnt a lot of things !

By Logan V

Jul 14, 2020

Well taught course, although certain topics seemed rushed while others had a long time spent on them. The quizzes were completely messed up though (although I decided not to do the optional programming assignments, based on the discussion forums those have a lot of problems too).

By Ajay K

May 7, 2020

this is a best course if you have interest in information retrieval subject. this course helps me to best understand the concepts of text retrieval. although the field has evolved so much after this course but this course is best for beginners in this field.

By Tim R

Sep 6, 2017

For understanding evaluation of search ranking algorithms, and picking up the ideas behind Learning To Rank, this course is great. The only glitch is that some of the quiz questions ask about material from weeks not yet covered!

By Eduardo V O

Aug 28, 2016

The videos could not be too longer than they actually are. If this change, could be done, the student or user could have more time to dig into the assignments problems and even read more textbooks related to the main topic.

By Shawn X

Mar 28, 2018

I have learned a lot of concepts through this course, but at a shallow level. It is a great introduction course to IR. It can be improved by adding more programming tasks for hands-on exercise

By Johnny W

Jun 26, 2020

I will keep the last star for not using a more cutting edge programming language, e.g. python. MeTa is not really helpful in the business world and that discounts the value of this course.

By Watana P

May 28, 2017

I found that there were a lot of mathematical function in this course. I need to see the examples of how are those functions applied in the real programming which support the business.

By Yongyi Z

Aug 24, 2018

I'd appreciate Prof.Zhai's lesson design with robust framework. BUT I really can not accept that the mistake that homework putted in wrong week and STILL NOT FIXED AFTER TWO YEARS!

By Ayush S

Feb 18, 2020

This is course provide me a detailed overview of the search engine and some new concepts that I am not aware of . I think now I understand text retrieval techniques

By Lee C L

Nov 21, 2018

Some mistakes in subtitle. and it is better to break down the long videos into smaller sections, illustrate the concepts with more graphs,picture and animation.

By Ayat R

Sep 2, 2016

The explanation is detailed and clear. But the missing star is because I hoped the course would have programming assignments using popular language as python.

By Ahti L

Aug 4, 2020

Cheng is a very good teacher. I'm amazed at how clearly he can teach complex topics. All topics are covered in the book "Text Data Management and Analysis".

By Pouya E

Sep 17, 2019

This course goes through the basics of text retrieval systems with an appropriate speed. However, the contents are quite out-dated for 2019.

By Alexander B

Aug 8, 2020

Decent course, and I really wanted to do the programming assignments, but I wasn't able to because the packages were unusable :(


Aug 24, 2018

Need indetail inputs on algorithm usage and correct MeTA assignments with working scripts. That makes learning a complete curve.