Learning for the Real World

I’ve been reading this subversive academic blog by Amanda Krauss called Worst Professor Ever. You can read her story on her blog in her own words, but essentially Kraus was a classics professor at Vanderbilt who fled to Austin when she started hating her job. She is extremely passionate about education and teaching, but is skeptical about the modern academy (who isn’t?). Not exactly light reading for a grad student, but, you know, “Question Everything” and all that.

ANYWAY, she recently had a cool post about Codecademy, which seeks to teach people how to code in the same way that Rosetta Stone wants to teach you Spanish: by applying skills right off the bat rather than teaching theory first, practical skills later.

I played around with it for a bit, and it’s really neat. It reminded me of when I taught myself HTML code back in junior high. I learned to do basic coding because I wanted to tweak the basic Geocities format, and then went from there. I never learned anything terribly advanced, mostly because my interest in techno-gadgets wanes pretty quickly, but with an online tutor such as Codecademy, I could be persuaded to expand my skill set.

Do you code? When and how did you learn?

Have a good weekend!

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3 thoughts on “Learning for the Real World

  1. K.C. Woolf says:

    I used to teach HTML and basic website development. Like you, I'd originally taught myself because early on in '94/'95 when the Web was starting to catch on, I was a student and really wanted to make my own website. I'm a big fan of taking people's learning styles into account when teaching. I have the impression that whether one should start with theory or practice really depends on the type of student(s) you're working with. Some need to experience something first and then learn what they've been doing and how it all ties in; some get the best results when they get the 'why' and the 'what' first and then plunge into the 'how'.Great post, thanks. 🙂

  2. Neurotic Workaholic says:

    I know nothing about coding; some days I can't even turn on my computer without causing it to break down at least once or twice. I checked out Amanda's blog and I am intrigued. She's definitely very frank about academia. I can't say I completely agree with all of her views, but I can understand where she's coming from.

  3. Amateur Reader (Tom) says:

    Although I have never learned HTML, I taught myself BASIC on a Commodore Pet when I was in the 5th grade. I have used those skills professionally ever since, to the present day. Every member of my grad school cohort I asked about this was also self-taught.

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