Codecademy is a pretty neat place. Currently, they offer free classes in several web based coding languages, and I took a few, so I could tell you about them.
Disclaimer: I already knew both HTML and CSS before the course. In my former life, I was a teacher, so I also wanted to look at it from a pedagogical angle. Already knowing the content well helped me look more at how they teach, rather than what they teach.
Overall, I’m really impressed. The course covers a lot of information, but it’s broken up over small lessons and individual units. Practice exercises at the end of each lesson cover new material and review previously taught skills, and end-of-unit projects allow students to use everything they’ve learned so far. This, in my opinion, is a great way to structure the course. I felt like the lessons covered the right amount of information, and I found the exercises and the projects to be both helpful and fun. The student interface is really clean and easy to understand.
The course description says the course takes a little over seven hours to complete, and that’s pretty accurate. I completed it over several days, an hour or so at a time. Codecademy has integrated gamification techniques, which I fully support. I love unlocking things, so badges and points are awarded for hitting certain milestones.
The HTML/CSS course covers the basics; after completing the course you’ll be able to build a webpage with formatted text, lists, links, images, and an array of CSS styling tools. It’s not comprehensive, there’s still a lot more that can be done with both languages, but it’s a solid foundation in both. Taking the knowledge from this course and extending it through tutorials elsewhere will be a cinch because the student will have both the core skills and the vocabulary to understand and implement more complex skills. It’s most suitable for those new to coding, as it does not require much, if any, programming knowledge to jump into. It’s also a nice refresher if you’ve previously learned HTML/CSS and have fallen out of practice.
8 replies on “We Try It: Codecademy HTML/CSS Course”
The only thing that definitely bugs me is that it doesn’t explain when you do it right. Like I’ll try five times and suddenly get the “Lesson cleared” message while I have no clue how what or where.
I should reeeeeally take the CSS (and probably the HTML) course. I tend to learn things by, “Here! This is broken! Figure out how to fix it in the next 20 minutes,” which is not a particularly fun way to learn.
I *might* have started going through these classes last night after editing this post. So far it’s nothing I don’t know, but it’s fun to brush up!
Good for you! Now I’ll have someone to make dumb HTML jokes with. : )
This would have really been useful a few years ago when I was trying to use the Rosetta modeling suite with no Python knowledge. I might still try it out.
You totally should! I don’t know Python or Ruby, I’m planning on doing those next. The PHP class is why I finally understand everything under Pmag’s hood.