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General Discussion

Question about Learning Projects

I sent this to support, who suggested I post in the forum, so it's a bit long.
I am a new member of Treehouse and am still in the free trial phase. I have chosen to do the Ruby on Rails track, and am presently on the CSS section. My primary question is about the teaching method, because I want to make sure I am really learning it.

So far we have been using code to create a website called Smells Like Bakin. I've watched and rewatched the videos (Nick is the presenter) and taken the code challenges. So far it feels like as the student I am only copying what Nick does without actually getting a good explanation that leads to comprehension. I am ok with a fast pace, but I don't feel like the code challenges would actually be reasonable quizzes without having my text editor open too. Am I making sense?

Is this phase of the track just an overview, which will lead into more depth and comprehension, or is this the way the whole track will be? If so, what else would you recommend I do to really get a true understanding of what I'm doing? I can copy all day long, but I hope to eventually be able to code on my own without having to look at someone else's work, and even getting just a little bit of 'coding on my own' experience would be very helpful.

2 Answers

Josef Coban
Josef Coban
7,260 Points

Hey! I find that although the videos have a lot of useful information that get you started, you have to kind of go out on your own and experiment with the code and practice it. I have felt the same about the videos, where I find that I'm just copying it without having a complete understanding of what/why it's done the way it is, so a lot of the time after watching a bunch of videos, I'll make up some practice pages and as I go I look up the things that aren't very clear to me. The "bonus credit" helps out though, kind of lets you figure more stuff out on your own.

So I kind of use the videos (done the web development track so far), to get a basic understanding of things and then sort of branch out on my own with books and google.

Louis Sankey
Louis Sankey
22,595 Points

I had a similar take when I fist started out on here about a month and a half ago. The code challenges seemed too easy when I had my word processor open and was copying along, and too hard when I didn't have it open and couldn't reference it. That being said, I believe that I have learned a ton after completing only a few of the projects. I recently checked out a random tutorial on Javascript and I found that I already knew a lot more than I thought I did. One thing that I am looking for is a good secondary reference website so I can keep a tab open and switch over when I run into something I want to understand better. I was doing this briefly with w3schools.com because I associated it unknowingly with w3.org, which I believe Nick mentions in the Smell's like Bakin project, but I found out later that w3schools was not related to w3.org and not necessarily a reputable resource. Anyway, I believe having a secondary reference handy would definitely help. Don't underestimate the value of rote learning. Your are not only learning how to code, but learning best practices as well as how to approach the type of projects you will one day see in real life. Good luck!