Codecademy: A Reflective and Thoughtful Review

These last two weeks have been fun and informative, but the real work definitely began before May 28th at nine am (five thirty am if you are me).  Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about Codecademy.com.  Codecademy has been the ‘go-to’ source of information and learning that make up the fundamental building blocks that this fieldschool has been built upon.  It has been extremely valuable and a great learning tool; however, I think it would have worked better to go over the lessons in class and then have done Codecademy as homework.

Codecademy made me so frustrated at parts that I wanted to pull out my hair and throw my laptop from my second floor balcony onto the cement parking lot below.  At other times I appreciated the information so much that I thought everyone should go to the site if they were interested in learning how to input code or create websites.  The site starts with Web Fundamentals covering both HTML and CSS.  These two went relatively quickly and easily without very many mishaps or confusion.  Most of the trouble came with JQuery.

Not everyone in the class decided to start JQuery before JavaScript, but regardless of the order, everyone had difficulties.  The site becomes more picky in these two sections and the code hasn’t been universal in our class.  For example, if I want to do a console.log function on my account it is necessary to input: ‘console.log=’ while in other students’ accounts it didn’t require the ‘=’.  In one particular exercise in JQuery, I had two other students input their exact codes word for word that they had used to pass the exercise and my account would not acknowledge it as correct.  The unanimously agreed to be the most difficult course was JavaScript but I had a hard time just getting to it.  I read the code and i understand how to use it and what code does what, but I just can not seem to get my account to work on certain exercises so I eventually gave up.  I am still writing down the code and I have been using it in class, but I don’t see an end to the frustration of not being able to make the account work.

Overall the site is useful and I plan on reviewing the covered material again as I go throughout the course, but I don’t think it is useful to make it a prerequisite for the fieldschool.  It was much more useful to be able to talk to the other students face to face about the different exercises and try them out together than it was to try to do it on my own.  The site doesn’t always explain certain lessons clearly and the more advanced students, or maybe rather the more insightful students, helped a lot with the more vague lessons.  In my opinion, this site is definitely at least an 8.3 out of 10 in terms of usefulness and awesomeness with the major need being more descriptive lessons and less finicky grading.

 

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2 thoughts on “Codecademy: A Reflective and Thoughtful Review

  1. Nellie

    I too have tired CodeCademy. Great concept of giving free coding tutorials, however I too was very frustrated at the lack of content and consistency in quality of lessons. There are so many other “learn to code” websites that I have found much more useful. For example http://www.codeavengers.com is perfect for the novice programmer (like myself). It teachers the basic concepts very well, and is also very fun and engaging. This would be my recommend site for beginner programmers.

  2. Pingback: Messrs. TileMill, MapBox & MapBox.js | 2013 Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool

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