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computer programming with potters school or another choice that is better??

computer programming potters school

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#1 angel marie

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 11:47 AM

has anyone done a computer course with potters school? what was your experience? we will be doing the intro class and not sure if we should do it here or if there is another online school that is better. please advice.
thanks.
angel

#2 Sue in St Pete

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 04:11 PM

Hi Angel,

Welcome to the boards. How old is your student? Does s/he have any prior programming experience? Which introduction class(es) are you considering?

I know that Laura in CA and Janice in NJ both have experience with TPS's programming classes. If they don't chime in here, you may want to PM them.

Ds and I took Java this year at TPS. Here is my review:

Ds took Java with Rich Yonts through the Potter’s School for a 9th grade elective. TPS website is http://www.pottersschool.org. I also participated in the class (I am a programmer by trade with out-of-date skills). There were 13 students in the class. We met weekly for 1.5 hours using TPS classroom software that allows students to see the teacher’s desktop, chat in a textbox, and use a microphone to speak (though no one did). The teacher presents the lesson using a PowerPoint presentation for slides, an editor for programming code, and Paint for diagrams and pictures.

Pros:
• Not time consuming
• Syllabus provided at beginning of year with all reading and assignments specified
• Instructor was prepared every week with a PowerPoint presentation and lecture
• Instructor as a person was kind, caring, personable, and friendly
• Instructor as a teacher was organized, enthusiastic, and well qualified
• Instructor provided thorough responses to questions via email
• Instructor graded and provided meaningful feedback on 7 homework assignments.
• Nearly secular (short prayer at the beginning of class)

Cons:
• Verbose text – 1100+ pages
• Covered 12 out of 25 chapters. Being a homeschooler, I’m used to finishing the book. Covering half is horrifying to me.
• Did not cover input/output to files. Something I consider essential.
• Had this been a core class, I would have been uncomfortable assigning a full credit. Ds probably only spent 1 hour per day during each 2 weeks we had to complete the 7 assignments. I felt better assigning a full credit because this is an elective and the material was completely new to ds. I struggled a bit with the object-oriented portions since I have many years of experience with procedural languages. Ds struggled as well with many of the totally new concepts.
• While teacher was good about answering questions via email, he did not take time within class to ask for questions or poll the students to see if they were following him. I think this is a common problem with online classes. My student (and I know he was not the only one) got lost along the way but would not email a question, and instructor never solicited questions during class.

We used this class for an introduction to programming and Java. In all honesty, I don’t know that I would recommend it as a first introduction to programming. I think Python or Web Design may have been a better starting point, but the class times wouldn’t fit into our schedule. Visual Basic would have been another good option, but that is considered a junior high class which made me nervous due to NCAA eligibility.

HTH!

#3 dkholland

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 05:49 PM

My ds, 16 yrs. old, took the Python programming class this past year and got an A. But, I do not think he learned much programming. I left him on his own with this class because I knew he could handle it, but, at the end of the class, I asked him if he could program something in Python and he said, "no." He has no idea how to use the language for anything practical. He gained some experience with writing easy code and seeing what it does. The class had four tests only and they were all open book and open notes and pretty much anything else. He ended up with a 98% but still cannot program anything using python. My ds really liked the teacher and thought the class was run well, but extremely easy. Ds did say that he thought the class was one of those where you get out what you put into it. He did not enjoy it and only did what was required. Apparently that is all he needed to do.

for this fall he has signed up for CADD for Mechanical Engineering and already is very excited about it. It could be that programming is not for him. I know Programming with Python is considered a full credit course, but it falls short in my opinion.
We are fans of TPS and will continue to use them!

#4 angel marie

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:31 PM

thanks so much for your wisdom. i am a nursing major and back in the day we didn't have to take a single computer class, so i didn't. what a pity! With that I know nothing of what my son needs on my own. i have picked up a few things by reading and searching lots of posts.
1) don't take any of the languages until you have had alegbra I. we will just be taking alegbra this fall in 9th grade.
2) phyton (sp?) is possibly the first to take and maybe even before that the css and something like hxtl??
3) some of the languages that are still being taught aren't even used any more.
my son is very computer savy, but knows nothing about programming. he may study this in college. i guess i was looking for a beginning course and one someone else could teach since i will be of no use. i also do not have a child that can totally teach something to himself. any other good online sources???
thanks so much.
angel

#5 angel marie

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:36 PM

thanks so much.

#6 Handmaiden

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 02:31 PM

Ds did say that he thought the class was one of those where you get out what you put into it. He did not enjoy it and only did what was required. Apparently that is all he needed to do.


I completely agree with this sentiment: you will get out of it what you put into it.

My son also took the Python programming class through TPS, but he had the opposite experience of this student. He put in hours and hours of practice coding, not only doing the assignments, but also creating extra projects on his own. He even gave up some of his Saturdays to work on programs.

By the end of the class, he had become relatively fluent in Python, so much so that he has been helping another student who is taking an online Python class through another school. He thoroughly enjoyed the TPS class and is now hooked on programming; he is debating whether to take an advanced class, learn a new language, or both.

The TPS Python course was very worthwhile for our family because my son was invested in learning how to program; it's not necessarily for every kid. Programming is a valuable skill set, but it's like a foreign language--if you don't use it, you lose it.

Edited by Handmaiden, 15 June 2011 - 10:42 PM.
typo