This course is great, and beyond that. I have never seen any MOOC like this one. So challenging, so rigorous, and so satisfying upon completion (which I just did half an hour ago).
You may be turned off by the word "Bio", if you're a CS person. However, what I can say is: you don't need biology in this course, literallly: zero biology knowledge. To me, all the genes and chromosomes and blah blah, they are just alphabets! The real deal, the real big deal in this course, is that learners will struggle, and struggle a lot, to learn, understand, and implement all the algorithms taught. Hence, if you're really into algorithms to better yourself. This course is really one of the great ones out there.
Why do I rated this course Hard? Actually I wanted to rate Very Hard. That was what I felt. However I think because I'm a newbie, that's why it's very hard. I think for many people, this is Hard only. But why hard?
This is the first MOOC ever I have to watch the video lectures multiple times, WITH PEN AND PENCILS to follow the ideas. The algorithms taught were extremely brilliant that sometimes my jaws dropped and I thought to myself: those people are so smart. Watching lectures in this course is like a cycle: Some Curiosity ---> Utter Confusion ---> Rewind ---> Revelation ---> Oh my GOSH they're so smart.
Yes, watching the lectures, is very satisfying for me. Hence, I recommend, if you are not interested in the quizzes or code challenges, watching the lectures will whet your appetite for algorithms.
About grading, this course is not a mickeymouse course with MCQs that you can blindly guess. Contrary to your expectation, this course has a small percentage for quizzes.
The bulk of the work is the hands-on, practical assignments.
To the people who are not confident in programming, there's a Biology application track, in which you can earn the normal certificate. However, for people who are in for the ultimate challenge of this course, there is the Hacker Track. This is where the course greatness shines.
In total, this course has 20+ coding challenges in which you will implement the various algorithms taught in the course. Well, you don't have to know the biology, but you'll need lots of coding skills in this track. They are hard. All of them are graded by submission of data output. Hence, your algorithm needs to produce exactly the same output as the grader, matching in both values and format. Of course, if you can match the value, matching format is kinda a trivial nuisance.
I gotta say the implementation of the algorithms has been extremely satisfying, especially for a person who is interested in doing data crunching and all, the algorithms taught were extremely relevant. They are hard, expect about 2+ hours on each coding challenge, and 40+ hours overall. However, if you're an algorithm god, maybe you'll do much faster than that. That said, I derive the pleasure from overcoming the challenges. Hence, the course is great, just by its virtue of being tough, alone. Having overcomed those code challenges, I still feel a great need to consolidate them.
This series is a gem on Coursera. The entire series, not just this (because I just completed part V also). This may not be suitable to many people, so please save yourself the frustration if you're not patient wrestling with complex concepts. However, if you're an algorithm enthusiast, you may find this course a very worthwhile learning journey. The taste of overcoming huge challenges is great.
To quote another person on the forum, after completing the course:
"I agree, these are really high quality courses. I cannot imagine how much time they spent making this stuff. This is in a completely different league than other stuff I've taken on Coursera (data science).
I would highly recommend you to do and finish part IV on Molecular Evolution (I finished it this run). It may not seem like that in the beginning, but about half way through beginning with "Evolutionary trees fights crime" and going into the "Was T.Rex just a big chicken" the course has some amazing stories. I found it by far the most interesting part of the entire series, but it is also quite challenging. "
Nothing worthwhile was ever easy.