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Author Topic: Expanding the Programming School  (Read 10108 times)
mouser
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« on: April 22, 2009, 03:07:50 PM »

Just wanted to put out some feelers and get some feedback..

Recently i've been thinking about the idea of expanding the Self-teaching Programming School concept, to be a bigger and more useful thing.
Any thoughts?

I was thinking of perhaps putting together some more instructional material to go with the assignments.. For example, right now we have series of assignments.  What we could do is kind of put together a syllabus around the assignments, and try to take more seriously the tutoring/feedback aspects.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 03:09:56 PM by mouser » Logged
40hz
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 05:26:35 PM »

There's also a lot of excellent online technology courses offered by some of the top schools in the country. Maybe set up a child board to get them all in one place?
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Ehtyar
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 06:01:38 PM »

I was also thinking that perhaps as a way to get more of the regular and more knowledgeable members of dc itself involved we could have something like DC "guides"; people who volunteer to help you with people struggling with some of the languages or whatever. Not sure that I explained myself properly, but does it sound OK?

Ehtyar.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 07:43:01 PM »

That's good idea Mouser. Syllabus and learning trail pattern will be great addition to Programming School.
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steeladept
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2009, 11:17:40 PM »

I love the idea.  In fact I think I may have mentioned this idea in the survey (don't remember now though).  Anyway, even a pointer to a good tutorial site or 10 with moderators that can assist with stuff that is difficult to understand would help a ton.  I know I have  issues learning to program each time I attempt it and I get frustrated and quit because I can't figure out how to work through it.  In school it wasn't a problem, I just asked the teacher what I missed or got a pointer on where to look, but I wasn't interested in programming then.  Now I have no one to turn to except forums or going back to school - and on forums you basically have to describe your entire project start to end and explain everything that went into designing it the way you did before they will tell you to start over you started completely wrong.  Then they tell you to do what you were doing and stop short of where the question was.  At least that was my experience...

Having a set project (as you already have) with directions for how to solve it via links and a mentor/moderator to help explain and/or redirect efforts to the right direction may just be the ticket to getting past those discouraging stoppages.  Just my thoughts from the learner's aspect anyway.
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housetier
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2009, 04:17:59 PM »

simply add a section about "Regular Expressions", that will expand the School! smiley

I really like the idea! Thmbsup
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mnemonic
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2009, 04:40:15 PM »

How about a language agnostic tutorial section (perhaps based around wiki)?

For example:

  • Patterns
  • OOA&D
  • GUI design

The wiki would mean that different users could add examples as necessary.  Sub-sections could allow expansion of the language-agnostic tutorials into language-specific examples.
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Ehtyar
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2009, 05:26:41 PM »

Ooooh, a regex section would be awesome, and a DC wiki sounds like it could be awesome fun Thmbsup Thmbsup

Ehtyar.
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kartal
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2009, 07:02:16 PM »

I could benefit from it as well
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bgd77
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2009, 01:04:23 AM »

I was thinking of perhaps putting together some more instructional material to go with the assignments.. For example, right now we have series of assignments.  What we could do is kind of put together a syllabus around the assignments, and try to take more seriously the tutoring/feedback aspects.

This is what is needed for beginners.
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app103
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2009, 01:15:43 AM »

I think especially in the early assignments it would be important to guide students along, at least helping them find the info they need to complete the assignments. Not everyone is good at Google-Fu, and if they can't find the info on their own they will be more likely not to be able to complete the assignments.

Knowing how to find the info you need is important, so spoon feeding everything doesn't sound like a good idea. One of the vital skills that one does need to learn for programming is how to find info. If you can't do that, then you'll never be able to fly on your own.
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2009, 04:56:35 AM »

Knowing how to find the info you need is important, so spoon feeding everything doesn't sound like a good idea. One of the vital skills that one does need to learn for programming is how to find info. If you can't do that, then you'll never be able to fly on your own.

this is kind of a self fulfilling prophecy - you almost need to know the answer in order to be able to ask right questions (but if you know the answer you don't need to ask...)
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mnemonic
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2009, 05:16:02 AM »

Knowing how to find the info you need is important, so spoon feeding everything doesn't sound like a good idea. One of the vital skills that one does need to learn for programming is how to find info. If you can't do that, then you'll never be able to fly on your own.

If some of this info were to be added on a wiki, perhaps there could be a page for generic links to help e.g. Stackoverflow.
Then some language-specific links e.g. Dive into Python.

Perhaps there could also be a tips sheet for each exercise available on request (after at least showing that an attempt has been made).  This could be accessible automatically by all students who have completed the exercise - having lots of student's inputs would allow differing perspectives on the design (and allow for some healthy design debate).

Maybe students who have already completed the school for a single language could then automatically be made moderators on that board to help out in the checking and testing of answers.

Additionally, what originally put me off of starting a school was that I thought that there was only one exercise available in each language.  I know that that the instructions in the programming school page say that other exercises will be opened after completing the first one, but maybe this could be re-emphasised in the first exercise text.
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2009, 06:15:26 PM »

I realise this wouldn't work for all the languages, but how about linking to the coding snacks forum somehow?
 
it would probably require a bit of effort (I suppose someone would have to actively monitor both the forum and the school) but I've learn't a lot just by doing bits and pieces where I thought I could - lots of opportunities for lots of approaches here
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mouser
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2009, 02:13:48 PM »

Quote
Perhaps there could also be a tips sheet for each exercise available on request
this is a nice idea.

Quote
I think especially in the early assignments it would be important to guide students along, at least helping them find the info they need to complete the assignments.
yes, again this is the kind of thing i think would help.

to elaborate a little on my thinking:

i learned to program by reading books and teaching myself.  these were the days when there were no programming classes in schools.  i know things have changed a lot since then, but then i also know that there are many people who learn better mostly on their own and cant get the support they need in school.

the idea of the "self-teaching" programming school has always been a focus on encouraging people to learn on their own but provide some structure and motivation, and help when needed.

so i'm interested in staying with this basic focus, but providing perhaps a bit more resources and structure and ways to get help.  it should still be a self-teaching school, but one where people can feel like they can get help and guidance when they need it.
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mnemonic
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2009, 12:43:09 PM »

Another thing that I struggled with when learning to develop was learning how to version control my code.  Even when I found out that the answer was SVN (or CVS), learning how to set-up and use it was another matter.

So, perhaps there should be some general tip sheets too.  For example:

After lesson 1 is completed, a style and commenting guide (I guess this would need to be per language).
After lesson 3 is completed, a guide to SVN / CVS.
After lesson 5 is completed, a guide to unit testing.
etc.
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housetier
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2009, 05:46:58 PM »

Oh I would love to learn more about unit testing! I guess I need to complete more assignments smiley
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Proximo
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2009, 09:07:13 AM »

I am a 3D Designer by profession.  I have used 3D CAD Software to design many different type of consumer products.  Eventually I became an Trainer, Administrator and CAD Manager.  During my 19+ years in this industry, I have learned to write scripts for the purpose of automation and eventually learned some Visual Basic.

I started to develop a passion for learning how to Program but was always scared of the complexity involved.  I made a decision recently that I wanted to learn Programming.  Not for fun, not for general interest.  I developed a passion for having the ability to write my own programs.

I have used many applications through the years from about every category you can imagine.  I eventually become a big time Open Source believer and user.  I enjoy the software written by people who had an idea or where passionate.  Although I found many great applications through the years, I have also found many that had too many features, not enough features or fell short of exactly what I wanted in a particular application.  This is where the passion started.

I found DonationCoder a long time ago which also helped develop my passion for wanting to learn.  So many great resources, people and ideas where found here.   I wanted to learn how to program so that I can make my apps. do exactly what I needed them to do, but to also share and help others.  Returning the favor if you would.

I found many great languages but ultimately decided on C# for my own reasons.

Now I have my books on hand and started the process.   I would love to have more resources and people who are willing to help others in the process of learning programming.   It's hard enough to search all over the internet and get confused over all the information, some good and some bad.

I would love to be a student here and eventually, one day teach and give back.

Thanks
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mwsrosso
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2009, 10:52:45 AM »

Excellent post Proximo, it ech's my sentiments. I learnt my current skill from participating on a forum and was eventually invited to be a moderator. This way I feel I am paying back my debt to those that helped me.

Mark Smith.
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