Codecademy crowdsources programming lessons

Programming doesn't quite come across as a social activity, but Codecademy is hoping to change that with the launch of their new Course Creator platform. Rather than providing a standard course to all users, Course Creator crowdsources the coursework to users all over the world.

By allowing anyone to become a programming teacher, Course Creator makes it possible for users to learn about a much wider variety of languages (having focused on Java thus far, they're now introducing Ruby and Python) and methods, not to mention a ton of different approaches to learning. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen.

In a conversation with Techcrunch, Codecademy co-founder Zach Sims said that the idea of crowdsourcing their courses came from the requests they started getting from teachers and professional programmers back when they launched the company in the summer of 2011.

The tools used for creating courses are basically the same tools that the Codecademy team uses to create their own official curriculum, which means that user created courses won't seem dumbed down compared to in-house contributions.

The one thing that will make a lot of people nervous about the new service is that there is no approval process involved in creating a new course. Anyone can make a course and Codecadmy will host it for them, and the course creator can share links to it with anyone they want. Balancing this out, Codecademy will have a screening process for the courses before they can be distributed to the masses on the home page.

This means that crappy lessons, or good lessons designed for very specific people (think of the classroom applications) won't get shoved in the face of the average user.

By opening up content creation to anyone, Codecademy hopes to make it possible for even more people to learn how to program in a friendly environment. The company's six employees couldn't have created the comprehensive collection of lessons that they're hoping to offer on their own, and without the budget to hire a large staff, they turned to the masses. Who knows, if the right minds join in, Codecademy could well become one of the easiest places to start programming.

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12 Comments

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este said,
ughhh programming. the one aspect of working with computers that I despise

why? its awesome I love learning java at uni after 3 lessons I wrote my own black jack game

este said,
ughhh programming. the one aspect of working with computers that I despise

+1

And I work as a programmer....

This is nothing new. There are plenty of sites that follow a similar process such as Code Project which has articles written by people about various languages and topics. The community rates the article and code so the best articles and code stand out. IMHO, these articles aren't any different than the "courses" that Codecademy uses. Nevertheless I love reading the content and learning new .NET code and techniques. I've read and learned a ton of .NET material on Code Project so hopefully Codecademy will do the same in terms of Java for me!

Tim Dawg said,
This is nothing new. There are plenty of sites that follow a similar process such as Code Project which has articles written by people about various languages and topics. The community rates the article and code so the best articles and code stand out. IMHO, these articles aren't any different than the "courses" that Codecademy uses. Nevertheless I love reading the content and learning new .NET code and techniques. I've read and learned a ton of .NET material on Code Project so hopefully Codecademy will do the same in terms of Java for me!

How is an article the same thing as Codecademy's courses? Have you actually tried a course?

I started learning JavaScript there a few months ago. I think they're doing a good job. I would love to teach other languages!

MrXXIV said,
I started learning JavaScript there a few months ago. I think they're doing a good job. I would love to teach other languages!

javascript? do you mean java? they are two different things... I just want to clarify cause I thought they were only teaching java, perl and ruby

SPEhosting said,

javascript? do you mean java? they are two different things... I just want to clarify cause I thought they were only teaching java, perl and ruby

No, it's JavaScript. That's the first thing they teach you. Remember, this is mostly about the basics of Web Development, which this will be a helper for those who are interested in jQuery, MooTools, and VanillaJS.

Check out the site, you can register with you Facebook and learn the course right away!