Another trying week

This week was a culmination of putting a lot of the languages we’ve touched on together. And it went poorly. The slideshow project was an interesting take on putting all the pieces together but it still felt overwhelming.

I’ve found that learning all of these concepts has been hard because we haven’t really gone through them together. In a different class I took last semester, Data Journalism, we went through a lot of technical platforms like SQL and Python, but we went step by step together. Only then did higher level concepts start to make sense.

It would be really helpful if we had class time where we went through things like how to make a slideshow step by step, so we could see how something came to fruition, before we are expected to create one on our own. Like Greg said in class, teachers do teach you how to write a sentence, but they don’t release you into the wild to then write an essay. To take that metaphor we had in class to its logical conclusion, you’re leaving out important building blocks like essay structure, paragraphs, and thesis statements. I feel like we only cover abstract concepts in class, only to have questions moved past because we don’t really go over assignments or take a look at the building blocks we need.

While some could say that Codecademy is what bridges that gap, I’ve continued to have problems with that as well. Currently the interface seems to delete sections I’ve done or doesn’t add a check mark to things to say items have been completed. That’s been really hard, especially when I’m trying to figure out why some lines of code are right or wrong.

I understand why a lot of the class is geared towards making sure we can figure out how things are broken on our own, but I feel like I’m operating at a huge handicap every week because I don’t quite understand what the best practices are to begin with. It would be really helpful to work on foundational things in class so that way outside study can be used to hone things, not figure out what square one is.

As for my Midterm, I will be interviewing Matt Callahan. He works at The Washington Post as a designer, but mostly does what we call “enterprise” templates. These templates are for our bigger stories and are always custom designed using jQuery and JavaScript.


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