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Saad Nasser

Bangalore, India | Age 11

I am in 5th standard now but I mostly home school myself. I prefer to homeschool because it gives me flexibility to learn at my own pace. I am a registered student in a school nearby, but I rarely go to school since 4th grade. I have already learnt most of the school curriculum by myself. My parents have taken permission from the school management and they have granted me the permission to attend school as suits me.

I learned about edX from one of my mentors from Intel in Bangalore, India. I used to learn from books my father got. Though I did learn a lot, I find that an online course is more structured and engaging and I get to check my knowledge as I go.

After auditing CS-191x Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computation3.091x Introduction to Solid State Chemistry, and 8.01x Classical Mechanics, I’ve just completed 6.002x Electronics and earned my certificate. 6.002x was really fun and interesting; I particularly liked the online simulator and Anant Agarwal’s chainsaw demo on digital “noise” 🙂 The demo was to explain “noise” in digital systems. Because we have hundreds of electronic devices, they radiate a small amount of electrical signals which other systems see as “noise”. Digital systems are more immune to noise. Chainsaws, as they contain motors, are very electrically “noisy” systems. The Professor took a chainsaw and channeled its electrical “noise” into the input to an AND gate and showed the noise immunity of digital systems. Professor Anant Agarwal explained everything in a very interesting manner, having demos interwoven with course material to add some fun. Also, the course covered a lot and the home works were well designed.

Having a mentor helps a lot as there are some concepts which require thorough explanation which a book alone cannot do. Both my mentors are very knowledgeable experts in their fields and I have learned much more from them than any book could teach me. The knowledge I get from them goes much beyond just the subjects, they also help me grow as a student.

edX has helped me continue my educational goals by having a lot of in-depth material on various interesting topics. I have interests across fields, e.g. rocketry, nanotechnology, biochemistry. If it was possible I would like to work on all of them. I am now taking the DelftX Aeronautics course and the RiceX discrete signal processing course. They are two of my favorite topics.

It is nice that we are able to get access to courses that normally we would not be able to do on our own. The ability to watch lectures anytime, at our own pace and being able to practically “rewind” on parts you cannot understand is a great feature for learning. The instant grading system is another change from the normal classroom, and is very helpful in finding out where you got things wrong.