The course indeed uses 'desktop' OpenGL, not OpenGL ES. However, a vector is a vector, a matrix is a matrix, and a shader is a shader. The same principles apply to using OpenGL ES on the Raspberry Pi. The main difference is in creating the window, and handling input. The course uses GLUT for that. On the Pi, a good starting point for OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 would be the example code in /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_triangle and /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_triangle2.
So far, the course really helped me in understanding some basic principles of vector and matrix transformations (the course was online since Nov. 1), and how it applies to OpenGL (ES). The last time I had to solve a linear algebra problem was over 20 years ago. That was at a time in my life where I thought other things were much more interesting. Now that comes back to haunt me, but I was somehow able to make homework assignment 1 this weekend (with a lot of trial, and even more error).
In homework assignment 1, you're asked to basically re-implement the glRotate() and gluLookAt() function. Homework assignment 2 deals with vertex and fragment shaders. I still have to start with that, but I believe it at least involves recreating phong shading. Quite interesting.
I don't know the answer to your other question, but you might want to have a look at this topic: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... =63&t=6488