For a little bit of a change from the Udacity course which focused on Python, I started out with Codeacademy’s Web Development tutorial, which gives an introduction to HTML and CSS (part of the appeal of doing the course was finding out what these mysterious acronyms stood for! And then being able to feel like a total boffin by casually dropping them into conversation like a pro…or maybe that’s just me). While the Internet still generally seems more or less to be powered by magic to me, this course helps you understand what the source code behind websites is referring to. After doing this course, you can pretty much write the code for a website from scratch in Notepad using HTML and make it look pretty using CSS, but in reality, most people would still find it more efficient and convenient to use a template or another helper program.
|A section of the codeacademy.com homepage source code....believe it or not, after doing the HTML course, this will no longer be complete gobbledegook!|
Having completed the Web Development course, I already felt like I was forgetting the Python that I had already learnt, and given that Codeacademy had a Python track, I thought it might be interesting to blitz through the Codeacademy Python course to see if there was anything that the Udacity course had missed out on. The main extra material not covered in the Udacity course includes taking a user input, bitwise operators and slightly different ways of writing ‘for’ and ‘while’ loops. You also get to build quite a cool simple Battleship game too!
Compared to the Udacity course, this was more of a very basic introduction into the language and a whistlestop tour of what you can do, rather than giving you a deeper understanding of the syntax. I found the exercises rather repetitive, with the instructions often telling you exactly what to type, meaning it’s quite easy to forget stuff you’ve learnt after pressing Save & Submit.
|If you "get" this meme and how it references making planets explode, then you are probably as cool as me.|
- All the teaching is done via coding on the website
- Bitesize chunks and short courses makes learning easier to time manage
- Something about the way it's written is very good at helping to keep you motivated and want to get through all the sections...perhaps it's because they reward you after completing sections of the course with some lovely badges on your account profile (anyone else remember collecting these in the 90s???)
- Teaching is not as in-depth as I would personally prefer
- Website has bugs with saving and submitting exercises
- Too much hand holding/spoon-feeding. Often the exercises just tell you exactly what to type, and can be very repetitive. While this does drill in certain things that you do need to memorise, it can feel like an exercise in copying and pasting