Still interested in outside course authorship?


#1

Hi Codecademy Team,

I authored a course last year and had received some support from Lailith Polepeddi related to a few critical issues I ran into. Since then, I guess Lailith has left the team.

Per Lailith's suggestion, I tried to send an email to Ryan Bubinski, but got no response. I've developed content that I'm unable to publish, and I have lots of potentially valuable feedback on your service, but it's not at all clear to me whether you guys are still interested in outside course authorship. Frankly, it seems like half of the links on your site currently result in 404 errors. Unlike most companies I've interacted with in the past, this forum appears to be the only way to contact your staff.

Just in case someone at Codecademy actually reads the above text and is interested enough to respond, I've attached the contents of an email I tried to send to Lailith at the end of September. I invested a lot of time trying to reproduce the formatting (links - though you only let me use your wiki UI for 2 of them GRRRRR!, quoted references, etc.) using this forum wiki UI, so I really hope someone on your end does reciprocate.

Best Regards,

Chris Schneider
Scale Unlimited, Inc.
custom big data solutions

P.S. - In the interest of time, I haven't included the entire thread of my conversation with Lailith. However, I could easily provide that via email if we could connect up that way again (much preferred).


Hi Lalith,

Thanks for the help you provided near the end of my class last spring, which allowed me to continue to use Codecademy throughout this first run of my course. Overall, it was a very positive experience, but I hope to build on this the next time I offer the course (Fall 2016?)

On Feb 2, 2015, at 11:46 AM, Lalith Polepeddi wrote:

Below are a few brief responses to each of your questions. We are currently building a new learning environment, and I apologize for the lack of features in the existing one.

I had been waiting for announcements from your team about new author functionality available in the new learning environment you’ve been developing, some of which you’d suggested might address the concerns I’d expressed previously. Since we’re now into the new school year, I fear that I may end up losing track of these issues (and a few others that surfaced in the meantime) if I don’t sit down and document them now.

First, a few new issues:

  1. I recently attempted to publish my course. I got the standard response "Thanks for submitting your course! The Codecademy staff will review it soon.” (which is still visible on the course page). However, nothing seems to have happened since then. I doubt anyone on your end is actively reviewing the course. I imagine some part of your submission architecture is broken.
  2. After tracking down a difficult problem one of my student’s noticed, I realized that if the SCT fails to handle an exception thrown by the student code (or generates an uncaught exception itself), then the student code will pass (at least for Python courses). I think it would be much better to throw up some kind of dialog about the course being broken, rather than give the student the impression that they have completed the exercise successfully. Ideally, the offending student code would be automatically emailed to the course author.
  3. The browser-based text editor used for the student code does soft line wrapping. I think it would be better to support horizontal scrolling instead (at least as an option). All code is necessarily broken up using hard line ending characters, so the line wrapping just makes the code harder to read, introduces dependencies on the width of the browser window, etc.
  4. Could you please give me an overview of your plans to roll out the new learning environment (assuming you haven’t already done so)?
  5. I would also like to understand the relationship you have with your existing set of authors. For example, are (some of) these people employed by Codecademy?

Finally, referring to previous emails:

On May 15, 2015, at 10:50 AM, Lalith Polepeddi wrote:
You can continue editing your course and add new sections by going to (I had to remove the URL here - GRRRR!) This is server has a snapshot of the functionality we used to support with course creator.

  1. FYI, that link is now broken.
  2. I probably don’t need to mention that adding new sections and collaborators to an existing course is important functionality.

    On Jan 20, 2015, at 10:10 AM, Chris Schneider wrote:
    The whole Creator UI seems fairly well hidden on the Codecademy web site. I first stumbled across the key documentation page (I had to remove the URL here - GRRRR!). However, I ended up posting to your Contact us link before I finally found the access page new Creators (not response yet, BTW).

  3. I can’t find any documentation for authors on your web site, and the URL for the old Creator Resources page (I had to remove the URL here - GRRRR!) still returns a 404. The archive link you provided (I had to remove the URL here - GRRRR!) still seems to work, though.

    On Jan 20, 2015, at 10:10 AM, Chris Schneider wrote:
    There are a handful of forum posts from Creators, but no separate forum for me to ask questions like these (which is why I posted to Contact us before instead of the forum).

  4. I still think it’s absolutely critical that you have a separate forum (and FAQ) for authors to share ideas, help each other work through problems, etc.

    On Jan 20, 2015, at 10:10 AM, Chris Schneider wrote:
    Preview mode doesn’t seem to have any “in-browser debugging console" that I can find (at least for Python), and appears to behave just like the student’s view (i.e., uncaught exceptions give you a free pass.) This is in contrast to the documentation in Creator Resources>Submission Tests>Debugging and Preview Mode.
    On Feb 2, 2015, at 11:46 AM, Lalith Polepeddi wrote:
    There currently isn't an in-browser debugging console, but Chrome Dev Tools works here

  5. Note that my course is for Python, not JavaScript, so Chrome Dev Tools doesn’t seem to match my use case (e.g., debugging the SCT). Having tools for debugging the SCT, etc. would be very useful for all supported languages. This was the primary motivation for the Python testbed Ken and I built to emulate the Codecademy environment’s application of the SCT to the student code.

    On Jan 20, 2015, at 10:10 AM, Chris Schneider wrote:
    We plan to have our testbed not only apply the Submission Correctness Test to the solution, but to each case it’s designed to catch. Wonderful, more content to be created for each friggin’ exercise! :slightly_smiling: Obviously, developing this kind of full-blown meta unit testing is fairly low on my priority list for my first cut at the course, but it does make me wonder whether you're already doing this kind of thing at Codecademy for the courses you develop in-house or commission from others.

  6. Has your group now developed any of this kind of technology?

    On Jan 20, 2015, at 10:10 AM, Chris Schneider wrote:
    We also plan to use GitHub for source control on all of our curricular materials, even though this essentially duplicates Codecademy's course content DB (so we have to worry about keeping them synchronized). Again, this makes me wonder whether Codecademy already makes use of GitHub or has other source control integration for course content.

  7. Has your group now developed any GitHub (or other source control)
    integration?

    On Jan 20, 2015, at 10:10 AM, Chris Schneider wrote:
    You seem to have (the beginnings of) a UI for creating additional Files beyond the script.py in which the student’s code typically goes. Students are able to get see the content I enter into such a file. However, it behaves like an alternate attempt at the exercise solution. I can’t find any way to import the code from the other file into script.py (and it didn’t get automatically imported).
    On Feb 2, 2015, at 11:46 AM, Lalith Polepeddi wrote:
    Sorry about this. It's currently not possible to import code from other scripts.

  8. Any progress on this?

    On Jan 20, 2015, at 10:10 AM, Chris Schneider wrote:
    I need to find and start playing around with whatever UI you have for tracking student progress (if any). So far, I only see “Users started" and (total?) "% Completion rate”. It’s going to be awkward for me to log in as a student just to verify that s/he completed an exercise.
    On Feb 2, 2015, at 11:46 AM, Lalith Polepeddi wrote:
    Sorry about this, this feature to track a class is not available at this time.

  9. Any progress on this?

Best Regards,

Chris


#2

Hey @schmed2000 Thanks for reaching out! Unfortunately, we currently aren't in a position to take on external content creators.

Continue to check back here and on our website for future updates.

Thank you,
AlexB
-Codecademy Community Manager


#3

Hi AlexB,

Thanks for responding and for answering one of my many questions. Could you please also answer a few others?

Best Regards,

Chris


#4

For the other issues, please post them in the specific course and section you are asking about. Someone may have already asked the question, so please search before posting. This keeps the forum organized and is the easiest and more effective way to get the best support.

Please direct teachers to our teacher only category where we can answer specific questions as they relate to teachers: http://discuss.codecademy.com/c/teachers

Thank you,
AlexB
-Codecademy Community Manager


#5

Hi Alex,

Unfortunately, none of my questions relate to courses other than the one I myself created (except insofar as the question affects all courses on your site). I would love to post directly to a forum specifically devoted to course authors, but no such forum exists (and that's one of the specific suggestions I made in my post).

I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to read over my post in a little more detail.

Thanks,

Chris