ee CodeHS Blog

New Teacher Navigation

We’ve spent the past couple months working on enhancing the teacher experience on CodeHS. We’re hoping you’ve had a good start to the school year and have been finding the new teacher tools useful. We wanted to let you know about the new teacher navigation that we recently introduced and give you a run down of the key components and changes.

Side Navigation

image

We’ve simplified the side navigation for you and it lives on both teacher resource pages and class pages. ‘Classes’ will take you to a list of all your classes. ‘Resources’ takes you to a portal showing all the teacher resources.

Underneath you’ll find the ‘Grade Mode’ button which allows you to grade your student’s programs one after the other. Entering grade mode from any of the resource pages will contain submissions from all your classes, while entering grade mode from a class page will just contain submissions from that class. In addition using the blue dropdown below your name, you can easily navigate to your profile page

Top Navigation

We have two separate navbars for the resources section and the classes section. On each, you will find a settings icon on the far right. On resource pages this link will take you to your personal account settings page, while on class pages you will be taken to the class settings page.

image

Teacher Class Navigation

Your important class links live in the class navbar, which has been highlighted in the image below. You can easily switch between your different classes by using the class dropdown on the left. All class progress pages are now linked to within the ‘Class Progress’ dropdown menu. The blue box shows you the number of submissions and help questions there are for the class. We’ve also added a menu on the right with other links that we think might be useful.

image

We’d love to hear feedback on what you think works and what doesn’t work with the new teacher navigation. Feel free to use the ‘Feedback & Support’ link on the left or email us at hello@codehs.com; you can also click on the mail link at the bottom of the sidenav.

Hope these improvements help ease navigation through the teacher and class pages

-Emily

This Week in Learn to Code 9/12/2014

image

Welcome to “This Week in Learn to Code!” If you’ve already begun to learn, this is a chance to pat yourself on the back for having made a great choice. If you haven’t started yet, now is a great time to start!

1. Everybody can learn valuable lessons from learning to code!

This is a great write-up from a law student about how code compares to law - specifically in that it aspires to be clear, concise, and intentional. We often talk about the application of coding in various professions, but  applying the ways of thinking that computer science teaches is equally important. 

2. You’ll grow!

This is a great article from a publication in the U.K. that outlines why now is a great time to learn to code. A bit of context - the U.K. just instituted a nationwide computer science curriculum in it’s public schools. Pretty cool. Their reasons? Coding jobs are great and coding can be applied to any discipline, it will help you develop professionally, and NOW is the best time to start. 

3. You can (finally) download a car!

image

This week Local Motors announced the worlds drivable car made almost entirely of 3D printed parts. Complex software makes 3D printing tech possible, and effective. Pretty awesome!

What other areas of your life have you been able to apply coding to? Let’s say you could 3D print anything - what would you print?

That’s all for this week! 

CodeHS Tutor Coding Challenge Winner!

This summer, CodeHS launched its first Tutor Coding Challenge. The Coding Challenge is a chance for tutors to compete for fun, prizes, and the chance to have their program featured on the site!

Their first task? Recreate a classic video game in the CodeHS Sandbox. 

We received some great entries and are excited to announce the winner of the first challenge. 

…(drumroll)… The winner is…

Brandon Okumura and his Sandbox Tetris!

image

Brandon’s Tetris program is built entirely in the CodeHS Sandbox and includes slick menus, saved high scores, the original Tetris theme music, and more.  Click here to play!

Building programs in the Sandbox is a great way to practice your coding skills while making awesome programs and games. Check out some of the other demos at the CodeHS Demos page, and head over to your Sandbox to make your own!

Have you coded up a cool Sandbox program? Let us know what programs you’ve made (or would like to make)!

Meet a Tutor: Carolyn Mulhern

image

Carolyn Mulhern

Computer Science student at Penn State University

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am a student at Penn State but I grew up in Chicago. I love long distance running and hiking. I’m minoring in math and meteorology. I want to work in data mapping when I graduate.

When did you first start learning computer science?

When I was in high school, I wanted to take a computer science class, but I was scared that I wouldn’t be successful. I took the class and loved coding. I decided to major in it in college and go into coding as a career.

Do you have any favorite programs or projects that you’ve built?

My favorite project that I’ve done was one that simulated a blackjack game!  I also built one program that held time cards and made payments for employees. I also worked on a program that printed Statements for bank accounts that were compliant with federal regulations. For one class, we did a lot of analysis on sorting algorithms and coded and compared six different types. 

Favorite ice cream flavor?

My favorite flavor of ice cream is coffee as I am a very severe caffeine addict!

Fun facts about you?

I’m on Club Cross Country at Penn State! I love long distance running and the furthest I’ve ever run is 30 miles. I know a decent amount of Chinese and Spanish! I traveled to Asia this summer and practiced my Chinese. My favorite part was going to Japan and climbing Mount Fuji with my sister.

Words of advice for the next generation of coders?

Fully invest yourself in whatever you do! For everything in life, you get out what you put in. Do things that you are passionate about so you don’t waste your time or anyone else’s. Living with passion gives your life meaning and you will be able to do amazing things if you devote yourself to working hard rather than doing something “just for the grade” or “just for the paycheck.”

This Week in Learn to Code 8/29/2014

image

Welcome to “This Week in Learn to Code!” If you’ve already begun to learn, this is a chance to pat yourself on the back for having made a great choice. If you haven’t started yet, now is a great time to start!

1. Computational Thinking is Awesome!

This is a very cool article about a new product called Computer Science Unplugged, a series of activities used to teach computational thinking without a computer. What makes this very cool? Computational thinking, the ability to “understand and apply the fundamental principles on which computers and networks operate” introduces high level problem solving and analytical thought that is useful outside of the computer as well.

2. Because San Francisco is beautiful!

It’s been said before that tech is the place to be for people looking for a lucrative career, and that holds true today. This article looks at the job sector growth, salaries, and salary growth of the tech industry in various markets, and SF comes out way on top. Fun fact? Even tech interns are rolling in the dough. 

3. Robo-Brains!!!!

This week, a group of scientists announced the creation of what they have dubbed the “Robo Brain.” The “Robo Brain” is a giant cloud hosted repository of information about the world, built with the purpose of allowing other robots and computers to query it to learn. It aims to help machines become more capable and efficient by allowing them to focus on their specific purpose and tasks as opposed to questions like “What even is a table.” Pretty cool!

What would you teach the robo-brain? Can you think of a cool computational thinking exercise that doesn’t involve using a computer? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting to us @codehs!

This Week in Learn to Code - 8/15/2014

image

Welcome to “This Week in Learn to Code!” If you’ve already begun to learn, this is a chance to pat yourself on the back for having made a great choice. If you haven’t started yet, now is a great time to start!

1. It’s more accessible and powerful than ever!

Here at CodeHS, much of our curriculum is based around a programming language called Javascript. This article addresses some common misconceptions about the language to talk about why you should learn Javascript - it’s versatile (can handle back-end and front-end development), propagating quickly (see the below graph to see the percentage of github repositories by language over time), and the language of the web. 

image

2. Processors continue to get more and more powerful

IBM recently announced their new TrueNorth processor utilizing their new neuromorphic model. The new chip, modeled after the brain, has 5.4 billion transistors (the most of any IBM chip to date) yet consumes a fraction of the energy of a traditional chip. 

image

3. Robot swarms!

In another convergence of computer science and biology, Harvard researchers recently achieved the amazing feat of getting a swarm of 1000 robots to work collaboratively. These robots - aptly called Kilobots, can sense direction, distance, and proximity in order to form 2d shapes as a swarm. 

image

That’s all for this installment! How would you use your own 1000-robot swarm? Any cool ideas for brain-chips? Have you made an interesting sandbox program in javascript? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting to us @codehs!

  - Will McCambley

Improved Student Progress Tracking

Knowing exactly where your students are in your curriculum is essential. That’s why we’ve spent this spring and summer talking to teachers, gathering feedback and rethinking how we track student progress. Your CodeHS class page(s) now have three different ways to track student progress. These progress tracking views can be found by logging into your teacher account, clicking on one of the classes you’ve already created, and finding the progress links under “My Class” on the left sidebar.

Activity Progress allows teachers to view student progress activity by activity across a given module. You can see how students compare to one another across a given set of activities, which students have submissions waiting for your grading and feedback, and more! The Activity Progress view is our most granular tracking page.

Lesson Progress is a slightly more zoomed out view, showing which students have completed the entirety of a given lesson. CodeHS lessons are grouped conceptually, and typically contain anywhere from 3 to 6 activities. Lesson Progress allows teachers to view student progress across a greater range of material.

Module Progress is the most macro level view of student progress across a CodeHS course. This page shows percentage completion of each module, as well as a visual representation of how those modules piece together in the larger course.

Effective student progress tracking is key to teaching a great CS class. I encourage you to explore these progress tracking pages on your CodeHS teacher account to prepare for your class this fall! As always, feel free to shoot me any questions at max@codehs.com.

Thanks for being part of the CodeHS community!

—Max

Meet a Tutor: Manav Kapoor

image

Manav Kapoor

Computer Science student at UCSD

Tell us about yourself…

I am a student at UC San Diego studying computer science. I enjoy sports, hanging out with friends, and trying new things. 

How did you get into coding?

I started coding at the end of high school. I was not really sure what I wanted to major in college, and my parents suggested Computer Science. After looking into it, I developed a quick interest and did basic coding the summer before college began. Now, I have almost one year of experience and I’m learning as much as can to enhance my skills as a programmer. 

Do you have a favorite program that you’ve worked on so far?

I helped my dad implement a scheduling software for his business, a manufacturing shop. This software generated schedules for the machines based on incoming orders with maximum efficiency. It was a good learning experience and I plan to develop an app this summer. 

Favorite flavor of ice cream?

My favorite ice cream flavor is Cookies N Cream! 

Fun facts about you?

I am a huge sports fan and have been supporting the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Dodgers my entire life. My dream job would be becoming a NBA GM and applying my CS skills to this job, particularly using advanced statistics to decide how to create my team. I’ve been a big video gamer all my life. I still cling onto my XBOX 360 and enjoy GTA V, NBA 2K, FIFA, and Call of Duty. Finally, I have a strong interest in investing, as I enjoy studying the stock market and making long term investments to potentially increase my savings.

Words of advice for the next generation of coders?

My advice to the next generation of coders is to embrace the adversity! I know I have gained the most knowledge when I struggled mightily and had to be resourceful in order to solve the problem at hand. Attitude makes a big difference, so be sure to stay concentrated at the task at hand even when there seems to be no solutions.

This Week in Learn To Code - 8/1/2014

image

Welcome to “This Week in Learn to Code!” If you’ve already begun to learn, this is a chance to pat yourself on the back for having made a great choice. If you haven’t started yet, now is a great time to start!

1. You can get paid to do it!

Wistia, a video hosting company from Cambridge MA, has decided to offer a unique alternative to coding bootcamps and online learning - they will hire you into a non-technical position and then pair you with a developer for one hour long one-on-one coding sessions each week. This is a great way to get tons of exposure to coding fast, and a great investment on Wistia’s part. If one to one coding instruction is your thing, check out our one-on-one option! 

2. Coding is Worldwide and humanitarian.

(Photograph: keith morris/Alamy)

Syria is home to one of the coolest coding humanitarian initiatives I’ve seen yet. Eliane Metni and James Cranwell-Ward have developed and implemented a Raspberry-Pi based curriculum to teach refugees in Syrian refugee camps how to code. Check out our June Hackathon post to learn more about the Raspberry Pi.

3. Coding is a meritocracy!

In this great blog post, the author writes about three things you need to know before applying for a software internship. This post really highlights how important it is to get your hands dirty and build something, and can provide a lot of insight for those of you who often ask us - “how can I turn this coding knowledge into a career?”

That’s all for this week! Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below or tweet us @codehs!

- Will McCambley



June Hackathon

image

Every month here at CodeHS we have a hackathon where every employee drops what they are doing and codes something useful or fun. Submissions in the past have ranged from creating new modules for new programming languages, to creating internal tools that do things like track productivity and send custom notifications to tutors, to writing games and adding easter eggs to the site (can you find “some of the finest ASCII art in the world” or find out how to make Karel bark?) 

In the spirit of today’s hackathon, I’ve collected all of last month’s projects into a single blog post. Enjoy!

First up is Flappy Karel! Cofounder Zach Galant created this clone of the popular iPhone app using our favorite dog, Karel. 

image

It works just like the game you’ve played in the past, and is accessible from your phone as well. 

Kurt created a very cool way to study programming terms with flashcards by converting our glossary into a series of flashcards. You can find that here

Jason got cracking on a very important project: Wednesday is Sandwich day here at CodeHS - we all order a big custom sandwich from our favorite sandwich store. Jason created a way to easily customize a sandwich by dragging and dropping ingredients into a basket. He plans to add some back-end functionality next, like automatically collecting and emailing all orders. Very cool. 

Next up are some really interesting projects from our interns. 

First is the “Build Status Orb.”

image

The build status orb is a Raspberry Pi project created by Joshua and Daniel. It checks to make sure that everything that has to do with CodeHS on the back end is working correctly. When it is, the orb is green. When it breaks, the orb turns red. So, if you ever visit CodeHS and get a error message, be assured that the globe is red and we are in panic mode. 

Dave created a Karel version of the popular game Cookie Clicker, located here. It’s a fun little interactive game based around creating and selling as many coding modules as possible. 

Kofi came up with a way for us to run Java in the browser. We’re very excited about this because it brings us one step closer to having an AP Java Module. 

image

Jon created a way for us to visualize our pull requests. A pull request is a request to merge a new piece of code with the existing codebase. It is a checks and balances measure that allows us to be constantly collaborating on site improvements with a workflow that ensures we can take a step forward without taking two back. Jon’s tool allows us to see the status of all developer pull requests easily. 

image

That’s all for this month! Have you coded anything cool lately? Would you like to take part in a CodeHS hackathon? Let us know in the comments below or on twitter @codehs!