I’ve been working on the first two week’s lessons for the Mechanical MOOC. Going fairly smooth, especially after finishing the javascript fundamentals track on Codecademy. Despite the fact that some of the courses were not quite awesome, it was still an amazing resource that I’m glad I used.

Part of the greatness in Codecademy’s various lessons not being perfect, is that so much of coding and programming is interacting in an imperfect world. So much of the documentation out there is still being created and processed. You can’t expect to find a site with all your answers. Learning how to find the solutions to your problems online is part of being a programmer. Having to create work-arounds or temporary solutions, and Codecademy’s imperfect courses (as they are provided by the community) provide a good gateway into that world.

The MOOC is building upon that. Here you’re presented with a variety of learning tools already present online, and you use the online community and yourself to find the answers. The online learning tools you’re provided don’t often answer the questions you’re given. But, they give you something to start with.

On a side note, however, Codecademy has this restriction on it regarding python programming that’s making it a bit difficult. I’d already completed about half of their courses, but now I’m having consistent problems with accessing the python shell in their python coursework.

With javascript it’s not as difficult to test your code, as you can use the console, which is provided more directly. For Codecademy to provide a testing box (or shell) for python, they have to run it on their own servers. The accessibility of that can be heavily affected by the traffic on their site. Which, considering the recent start of the MOOC, I can imagine has greatly increased. This has probably put a strain on their site they might not have planned for.

Luckily, you can install python locally and then you have no issues programming away. You can’t then, however, test your code in the Codecademy courses. Perhaps Codecademy will improve their connection so it’s no longer an issue, but at this time it’s keeping me from the badges I love so dearly.