The Blockchains Fundamentals Decal by Blockchain at Berkeley is an open online course similar to MIT OpenCourseWare. The Fundamentals Decal covers the foundations of blockchain, from its beginning to its theories and future applications.
The course focuses on drawing out examples and mechanisms through bitcoin for the first few lectures but covers other networks, such as Ethereum, later on. The Fundamentals Decal is brought to life by a variety of volunteers who are knowledgeable about blockchain.
Overall, there are ten lectures, an hour and a half each, totaling about fifteen hours worth of content. It took me about a month to complete the course as I took copious notes and had days off between lectures.
This course is great for anyone completely inexperienced looking to learn the fundamentals of blockchain. Some lectures were a bit more technical and may be better understood by those with a computer science or cryptography background.
I would still recommend it for anyone inexperienced or without a technical background, but also encourage you to not fret about the more technical lectures. I think seeing the concepts once doesn’t do it justice and as you learn more you will see a repeat of that content and understand it better.
This course and its supplementary material are 100% free.
I enjoyed the organization of the website, which made it easy to navigate the different lectures and supplemental slides. It addresses the overview, the goal of the course, and a place to contact.
It also comes with an online pdf textbook. The textbook is rather long, and I did not bother reading it. However, it is great to have for anyone who may enjoy further reading.
The PowerPoint slides had lots of visuals to help you understand technical concepts. The different presenters were also all prepared and knowledgeable.
Another detail I enjoyed was each presentation had three to four subsections, and the material was divided into digestible chunks. I don’t enjoy presentations that go into too much detail on one subject.
Speaking of breaks, even though you could pause the video and step away at any time, they also included built-in breaks for the students. I would often take a moment to stretch and get water in sync with the students in the recording.
Even though this course is for students enrolled, the material is created well for anyone watching the recordings to follow along.
Since this course is an archive of an in-person lecture, they only post the recordings and slides. There aren’t any knowledge checks to gauge your understanding, such as exercises or quizzes. To remedy this, I recommend taking notes and revisiting them, or optionally, downloading and marking up the slides.
There is also no community forum or central place to ask questions or clarify something besides the YouTube comments section. However, the comments section is also not checked by the volunteers.
Would I recommend?
I do 100% recommend this resource. I advise it as the first resource to try out before anything else as it covers a lot of the fundamentals, theory, and big picture behind blockchain.