Udacity Reviewed

The Udacity Challenge Scholarship

About a month ago I got an email from Udacity letting me know that I had was a recipient of the “Grow with Google Challenge” scholarship for Front-End Web Development. The challenge was a condensed version of their Nanodegree program which had a deadline of 3 months to complete. One month in and I have successfully completed all the lessons and am ready to give my opinion of the course.

Difficulty

The course is intended for non-experienced students who may or may not have ever taken a coding course before. For the most part, I found that the course was set at a pace where students had plenty of instruction and exercises for them to be able to get a grasp of the topic. However, I feel that some topics, such as jQuery, are not given enough attention and students are left feeling frustrated.

Web Hosting

Content

The content covered is typical for a front-end web development course. The majority of the course content is in the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript sections. The jQuery section is very lightweight and the students are expected to use the jQuery documentation to figure out how to pass the quizzes. The video instructions are all typically very short, less than 5 minutes, and generally, cover high-level information on each topic.

I think it would be valuable if the students were guided through more complex projects, from start to finish. This would allow the students to understand all the pieces required to making a working web page. As it is structured now, students are only getting pieces of the whole site, so I believe that many students would have problems building a site from scratch.

Also, I would have actually liked if we had not learned jQuery and instead learned how to perform DOM manipulation and how to use event listeners with javaScript. Since the course spent a lot of time on JavaScript, I think it would have been valuable for the students to learn how to these things without the use of jQuery.

Help

The forums and slack channels are the sources of help for the students to get answers to their questions. I would occasionally see a Udacity instructor pop in to help, but for the most part, it was collaborative learning with the students.

Is it worth it?

Since I did not take the complete Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree program, but a condensed version of it, I can’t give an apples-to-apples comparison. The challenge course is not offered from Udacity except through the scholarship. So that means if you want to learn with Udacity you will have to sign up for the Nanodegree or enroll in the courses individually. The Nanodegree is intended as a 6-month program and costs $199 a month. You can check out the Nanodegree Syllabus to see what is covered.

The thing about Udacity courses is that they are actually all freely available from their site. What you get in a Nanodegree as opposed to the free courses are the following:

  • Help from Instructors
  • Private forums and slack channels
  • Special Projects
  • Career and job search support

Is it worth it? If you feel you need the four things I listed above, then yes. If you don’t, then I recommend opting for the free courses. Either way, I believe you will learn a lot and come out with a better understanding of how front-end web development works.

 

See all my progress from the challenge:

Learn about the Udacity Grow with Google Challenge
See what I did in Week 1 of the Udacity Grow with Google Challenge – HTML
See what I did in Week 2 of the Udacity Grow with Google Challenge – CSS
See what I did in Week 3 of the Udacity Grow with Google Challenge – javaScript
See what I did in Week 4 of the Udacity Grow with Google Challenge – jQuery

Watch my update videos and quiz walkthroughs:

You can sign up for Udacity here.

 


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