Concerned with new course format - can we bring back original JavaScript?

First off, thank you to the CodeCademy team for creating an excellent platform for learning code. Especially for kids, I believe the potential here is huge.

Specifically, the original JavaScript course was hands-down the best learning experience for programming I’ve ever experienced. I truly felt inspired and was learning how to code, and quickly. The exercises were formatted such that the learner had to truly process what was happening, and how to use the newly-learned concept. Sometimes it took multiple tries to get it to work, but when it did, the concepts stuck. I knew how to write from scratch, and I could follow pretty much everything that was happening in the exercises.

I know that now there is a new format for courses, including JavaScript, that involve a more hand-held approach, giving a small instruction for each little piece of the exercises. I appreciate the work that went into this new format; I can’t imagine the time involved for all that logic!

My issue with this: I found that with the Learn JavaScript course (which appears to be very similar to, if not the same as, Introduction to JavaScript?), is that due to the small mini-steps that each instruction gave, I was able to follow those small steps, but I had a much harder time grasping why I needed to create that small piece. My big-picture understanding of how it all worked was more limited. As an educator, it felt like the learning objectives for each section were more focused on being able to follow instructions to translate into logic, as opposed to creating logic at a bigger-picture level that allows for deeper understanding.

The other issue that I ran into is how if you click Run several times, it offers to give you the code. While this probably is not an issue for very disciplined folk, for kids this can be too tempting to pass up, and my concern is younger learners may take that option and then feel stumped in the next exercise when they need to understand it. In addition, when you hit Get Code, instead of showing you the code in a separate window so you can compare your code to the answer, learn from it, and fix it, it replaces all your code, so it’s much more difficult to narrow down where you went wrong, and learners may be tempted to just roll with it instead of finding why they were wrong.

Fast forward to today. Since I had found the original Javascript course to be a lot more effective, I had been pointing my students to that course. But today I found I can no longer access that course, and the link re-directs to the Introduction to JavaScript course.

Can someone please restore the JavaScript (Original) course? Even if it isn’t featured on the website, if there is a link that can still point to it? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and opinions on the new format as well.

Thank you!

No, the old courses are in an environment which are no longer supported. The old courses are gone, forever. Personally, i never understood why the old courses weren’t taken down sooner, i noticed the bugs creeping in. Exercises breaking, no longer properly validating.

i have never like the get solution button at all, regardless of how its implemented. Of course if you wanted to compare code, you could always copy your code first before pressing get solution button

but yea, its now very difficult to verify your students don’t cheat. But honestly, i wouldn’t be surprised if all the answers of all codecademy exercise can be found online (on github for example)

i get this split, given one courses teaches es5 while the other course teaches es6. Which contain some massive difference (es6 introduces block scope, lexical binding of this and classes). The es6 course also teaches about browser support and transpiling.

from codecademy’s point i guess the smaller steps make sense, as a platform you want as many learners as possible, small spoonfeeding steps will get you precisely this. You want to make it attractive to start with programming

if you are already concerned with the bigger picture, you will need to take a step back sometimes and fiddle with the code.

stetim, thank you for your detailed response. I’m sad to hear the old environment is no longer supported, but I understand that maintaining multiple environments would be difficult.

Regarding the smaller vs larger steps, I can see why CodeCademy could prefer those smaller steps to make it attractive to new learners. Based on my experience I feel that even though it takes a bit longer with bigger steps, new learners will feel more empowered and keep their momentum going if they feel like they are strong enough to be independent with what they just learned, vs. feeling more reliance on instructions. I experienced that kind of momentum on the original course, and it was powerful. I totally agree that you do need to step back and fiddle with code; however, that is a skill that may take new learners some time before they learn to do it/when to do it.

Regarding the solution button, I know you can find the answers online, indeed. I believe in some circumstances, it is good to see the answer, but only if they have tried hard first. Even if they did find the answers online, however, that still preserves their own code, and they could compare the two codes to see where they made a mistake vs. Get Code currently erasing their code. New technology learners may not think of copy-pasting their current code into a text editor, then opening a new document in a text editor and pasting the Get Code answer into that one, then comparing. Do you think an option could be changing its functionality to open the solution code in a new window?

Thank you again. I changed the title of the thread since originally it may have been too strong, sorry if so. Of course whatever direction codecademy takes is their decision, but wanted to share my experience.

each approach has its pros and cons, you might prefer the bigger steps while other might not. The bigger steps might mean they get stuck and quit altogether.

yep, getting the solution has just become a lot easier. Which if you get stuck might be useful, but in the long run this comes back to bite you, given even looking at the code and trying to replicate might teach you less.

which is why on the forum i always try to guide learners so they get to the answers themselves, ideally the best compromise i think, but sometimes difficult to achieve. Unfortunately i feel like the get solution button has reduced forum posts/topics.

When presented with an easy (get solution) vs more difficult (getting help on the forum) people will generally choice the easier approach.

again, not for me to decide. But i am currently working on a “bigger” project (nothing compared to codecademy) and changing a feature which is already in production and implemented is a headache to change. Decisions made earlier on in the project can have massive consequences for later. The more feature are added, the more difficult it becomes to change something.

So i wouldn’t have high hopes for this ever changing.

while i agree with some points, everything has two sides. I hope some of my arguments make sense

You’re not alone in that sentiment.

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That’s helpful to hear about the level of work and time it would take to change even a small feature. Definitely sheds some light on why changing the way that Get Code works could be a big project to have to implement. Indeed, everything does have two sides, and I certainly understand where you’re coming from and why CodeCademy may be choosing this style. I just wanted to put it out there in case there was a chance of bringing the old back, and to lend some user feedback if it’s in any way helpful. Thanks again for your time!