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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Pointers, Arrays, and Recursion by Duke University

323 ratings

About the Course

The third course in the specialization Introduction to Programming in C introduces the programming constructs pointers, arrays, and recursion. Pointers provide control and flexibility when programming in C by giving you a way to refer to the location of other data. Arrays provide a way to bundle data by guaranteeing sequences of data are grouped together. Finally, recursive functions—functions that call themselves—provide an alternative to iteration that are very useful for implementing certain algorithms....

Top reviews


Jun 9, 2020

This course is certainly very challenging and I am glad I made it. To those who are still struggling with the poker game project, I encourage you to keep working hard and you will achieve a lot.


Aug 18, 2020

Best part of the course the assignments and the poker project. I loved the reading part too. Best skill I got from this course is deep knowledge of debugging.

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1 - 25 of 85 Reviews for Pointers, Arrays, and Recursion

By Will O

Mar 6, 2019

The course requires 100% perfection in order to move on from one assignment to the next in the course as well as from one course to the next within the specialization. This expectation becomes incredibly challenging based upon 1) the minimal teaching videos, 2) lack of programming examples and practice exercises, 3) requiring students to learn and implement tools not addressed in the lessons (e.g. qsort() and void * variables), and 4) heavily relying upon reading out-of-context selections from a textbook co-written by one of the instructors.

The structure of this course consistently poses a problem (see the discussions) when a student struggles to understand the material or cannot figure out how to fix their program, even when submitting screenshots of bugs within the course grader. Too often, the instructors and/or their staff ignore questions and do not always provide feedback to assist the student in understanding why their code does not work (once again see the discussions).

These flaws could be overlooked if auditing these courses were an option, but at $49 per month these courses should be designed to enable students to learn foundational concepts without demanding absolute perfection. For students who want to learn C Programming, a much better option would be cs50x and/or C Programming with Linux through edX. Both of these courses can be audited for free and do not possess any of the issues mentioned above.

By Stephen L

Apr 29, 2018

The content of this course was informative and very challenging. I definitely learned a few things about pointers in C that I didn't know before. If this course were on another platform I would give it 5 stars.

However, this course isn't on another platform. It's on Coursera. I have never had such a frustrating time with any MOOC before this and I've completed several of them. The built-in terminal that we used to complete our assignments would often kick me out without any notice. I received no credit for most of my completed assignments due to some bug on Coursera's end. This bug was first reported months before I started the class and it persisted up until my final week of the course. I think that I completed the course but I'm not sure. It's tough to be certain when you click the link to view your certificate and it raises an error.

By Andrew Z

Jul 19, 2018

Wow! I took my first course that was heavy in C in college and I remember it being challenging. Eight years later, I have to say that C is still a challenging topic! I very much enjoying refreshing knowledge that I learned a very long time ago and had forgotten. I'm also pretty pleased with how much better I am at emacs :) I especially liked the clear introduction of how a program is actually organized in memory. Tail recursion explanation was very interesting as well. One thing that I would love to see improved is some of the testing exercises -- it is easy to get stuck and have several days of progress ruined without really learning anything new. This is small but extremely frustrating. Overall I really appreciate this course and think it was immensely helpful for me in my continuing studies. Very well organized and found the pace of the lectures excellent. Very happy and excited, thanks!


Jun 13, 2020

This was an amazing experience to be a part of this course. It helped me to boost up my confidence.

By Christopher N

Aug 25, 2019

The quality of assignments slipped rather abruptly in this course. The assignments were rather unclear, ambiguous and often required reading through forum posts and learning through other people's frustrated comments. This specialization started strong but the course really slipped in quality. The means of education was inefficient, the presentation of assignments was sloppy and under-specified and the final project was unnecessarily tedious and time-consuming and could have easily been replaced by something else (a different card game such as BlackJack vs Texas Hold 'Em Poker) delivering the same practice without a lot of the tedious rule generation.

By Kristen P

Feb 27, 2020

Excellent course with valuable testing and debugging lessons! My only constructive feedback is for Duke to add more clarity to the assignments and their README's and for Coursera to adjust the time commitment. It took me well 30+ additional hours beyond the time commitment estimate.

By Zeyu T

Jun 10, 2020

This course is certainly very challenging and I am glad I made it. To those who are still struggling with the poker game project, I encourage you to keep working hard and you will achieve a lot.

By Alberto V Q

Aug 2, 2022

Good course, tricky problems that make you think. Got VERY frustrated a few times but completed it. This also got me into emacs but with vim keybindings.

By Douglas H

Aug 13, 2018

End of course project was challenging and fun. Lots of opportunity to learn how to debug memory issues with valgrind.

By Rameshwar S

Jan 24, 2019

Very well designed hands-on training course for developing a real software program in C.

By Sehyun P

Aug 29, 2018

difficult project but it was worth it

By Victoria J

May 4, 2021

Final projects are time consuming with the poor instructions provided.. you need to figure a lot out by yourself. But isn't it the nature of all programing lol?

By xixi t

Mar 8, 2020

Good course, but the final project and test cases are slightly challenging

By Linta I

Jun 5, 2020

Project is very hard. Not for the beginner. I am a lecturer of a university. Still I find it very difficult to do. This should be for intermediate level.

By Chunzhi W

Apr 7, 2020

This is course is one of the greatest coding courses that I have taken in Coursera. The coding assignment is a bit of challenging, definitely needs to put in a lot of time. In the beginning, I skip the part about gdb and Valgrind thinking that they are not that important, and later when I was trying to debug my program, I finally realized that it is extremely hard to move on if you don't master these skills. Anyway, this course definitely worth putting your effort into it.

By 查理

Nov 13, 2021

I was a totally beginner in C so I took that specialization from Course 1 and I can tell that Course 3 was the toughest by far. This course had a lot of new concepts to catch which was quite challenging to me at first , but everything is well explained. Teachers are great, concise and clear, they did a really good job by writing their own C programming learning book which is the base for that specialization. Now I am ready for course 4 :)

By Yeo K H

Nov 24, 2020

Excellent materials on pointers, arrays & recursion. The instructors will carefully guide you through these topics to develop a complete understanding of how the code runs, so that the programs you write will behave exactly as you intended. Completing the final assignment is very rewarding and satisfying. Thank you.

By Taylor V A

Aug 22, 2020

The project was absolutely brutal, but so rewarding and fulfilling once you finally complete it! I think the faculty did a really great job with the course itself and the project. I think they've designed the course to reflect real world scenarios (like writing code that interfaces/interacts with existing code).

By Shashank K

May 22, 2020

The course is great in quality, so are the assignments but duke should better take care of their PPE because it has caused lot of trouble while completing this course.

William is great at solving doubts and helping students .thanks William for your quick responses.

By Wai K W C

Oct 31, 2020

Very challenging course but it teaches me a lots. However, I would suggest that the README of the project can be more clearer as I spent quite a lot time to figure out what the variables are in the pre-defined functions.

By Antonio B B A

Oct 31, 2018

I'm at the beginning, but I can assure that is really better than the programming courses in the university. The teachers here are very didactic people as long as allow students to have a complete course. Thanks you all.

By Jessica S

Nov 7, 2019

Some concepts a bit complex, but with the exercises, especially with the latest project, everything is clear. It was a challenge and I feel very happy to have finished it. I recommend it.

By Genner A C R

Jun 2, 2020

It's hard to complete, in particular by the project, but it's an excellent course. Totally recommended to have the basic programming skill on a solid, well founded base.

By Hitesh P

Aug 19, 2020

Best part of the course the assignments and the poker project. I loved the reading part too. Best skill I got from this course is deep knowledge of debugging.

By Gastón M

Mar 5, 2019

Great course. They did a great job in explaining key concepts like pointers and arrays, which are usual subjects with which students struggle.