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Matthew Webster

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  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
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Overall Assessment: The professors here did a great job of explaining the programming fundamentals, keeping the videos light and MOST IMPORTANTLY showing concern/engaging with the students (Joe Warren actually reviewed my final project in the Code Clinic). Also, I am a huge fan of CodeSkulptor not only because it is a really easy to use this web based program but also because I was able to share my games with friends/family and they were able to play in their browser vs downloading a Python shell. Know Before You Start: (1) Use the Code Clinic early and often. You can waste a lot of time debugging and the TAs/Professors are very responsive and can diagnose issues quickly. (2) Start your mini-projects early. In order to see the solution, I needed to step away from the computer and if you are scrambling before a deadline (projects have a hard deadline of 10pm PT on Saturdays), you will get stressed. Target Audience & Prerequisites: Great class for those with little to no programming background and looking to get hands on experience in coding. Probably couldn't become a developer after this class but definitely would be able to build some cool variations of the mini-game projects. Having some math background is important but if you know how to use Excel then you will do well since Python is very similar to writing Excel formulas (lots of "if" statements) Difficulty: As a novice, I found this course about medium difficulty. Learning how to debug took the most time. That being said, the CodeSkulptor interface is great and the weekly instruction guide for the projects provide a great walkthrough of how to build a game. Weekly Workload: There are about 1.5 - 2 hours of videos to watch, the quizzes take at most 20 mins each but the projects are what were very time consuming. Early projects took about 3 hours to complete but later projects (e.g. Blackjack) were more in the 5 hour range. A great resource that I didn't really use until the end was their Code Clinic where you could send in your program and they will help you debug. Great response time that was typically within 2 hours of sending an email. What Could Be Improved: The peer grading system is good for ensuring completion of assignments but I never received any useful feedback on how to improve my code. The challenge is that when you have to peer grade 5 other assignments then you just don't have time to go through a debug and provide helpful commentary.
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This course is split into two components where the first 3 weeks are a look back at how we arrived at our current educational system/testing protocols and the second 3 weeks which are forward looking about innovative ways to improve how we teach students. The history was great and what I was interested in. The look forward wasn't very engaging to me individually. Workload was light and I could watch all the videos and take the quizzes from my phone. This courses is good for those who want to casually learn and have time to kill while commuting or traveling