June 26, 2019
Michael Sexton

Udemy Class Review: The Foundations of Computer Design

Udemy’s The Foundation of Computer Design course ($14.99) strives to give you a firm understanding of the bare basics of computer design. After sitting through the two-hour course, I can say that it does exactly this, but it could be improved in a few places.

The Complex Basics

These lectures start off by reviewing the different types of numbering systems commonly used in the computer industry. In addition to going over binary, the lecturer also explains hexadecimal and octal. Afterward, the lessons go over how to add and subtract in binary. All this information is presented to you at an exceedingly fast pace with the section on numbering as a whole being just 23 minutes long.

The next section of the lectures is an even shorter 20 minutes long, and it quickly teaches you that there are five primary types of gates used while designing circuits: NOT, AND, OR, NAND, and NOR. From here, you are taught how to build a full adder, which is one of the most common and widely used simple circuits on modern electronic devices.

The next few sessions continue to grow in complexity as various other types of circuits are explained, and the lesson as a whole culminates in a section that explains how to create on paper a simple computer.

Complaints and Conclusion

Although the course does exactly what it sets out to do, it will undoubtedly confuse many people due to its fast pace and complex subject matter. As I had some experience with binary before, I was able to get through the first half of this course fairly smoothly, but I started having to rewatch parts of section 4 and the rest of the lesson in order to fully grasp what the lecturer is trying to explain.

I feel this could have been avoided if the lecturer simply explained things a little slower. It also doesn’t help that many of the lesson’s individual 39 lectures are just one or two minutes long.

If you are interested in learning how simple circuits work, then you will likely enjoy this class. As a lifelong tech enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are considering taking additional lessons and learning to design circuits for a living, then this lesson would help to give you a solid foundation to start from.

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