A Critique of the instructional materials I used to learn my coding skills this semester:
Before this class I had zero experience with coding. I was extremely apprehensive and clueless. I knew I was going to need some basic, thorough explanations of processes and terms. I learned HTML, CSS and PHP.
To begin, I used Little Web Hut HTML & CSS Youtube Tutorials:.
I am a visual person and process things better if I can see it and see how it is applied. These tutorials were great! I would highly recommend them. It is a screen share video of someone narrating as they use a text editor like notebook++.
HTML: Video 1-Getting Started, Video 2-Text, Video 3-Images & Hyperlinks, Video 4-Audio & Video, Video 5-New Semantic Elements, Video 6-CSS Page Layout
CSS: Video 1-Applying Styles, Video 2-Selectors, Video 3-Box Model, Video 4-Positioning
Pros: There were 6 HTML and 4 CSS videos that broke down HTML & CSS into digestible parts.
In the videos, they show you and talk with you about terms like “Tag:
” and then they show you how to use/apply them in your code.
Their website has reference and stylesheets for future reference and resource needs. After watching the videos I would go back and review. It was easy to navigate and find what I was looking for.
Cons: I’m sure for people who have some experience the videos are too simple, but for beginners it’s perfect.
I also used this website as well as this Youtube video for CSS frameworks and tips on creating a responsive website. They were extremely helpful. I have learned that most coders don’t create their own CSS styling. They’ll often use already created codes and tweak it to their liking.
I used 1 online book to learn PHP. It is called: Zend PHP 5 Certification Study Guide. I accessed it through BYU Library’s Safari Books online. I did not find this book to be as helpful as the video tutorials. I would not suggest this book for a brand-new beginner but I think it would be more helpful now that I have some knowledge of PHP. It seems more like a reference or as the title suggests study guide. Thus it is geared towards readers who have some PHP knowledge or experience.
Pros: It starts out with some basics, like syntax, to help the reader get started.
The content was well organized and the book was easy to navigate.
The chapters were broken down by topic and each section was labeled well.
They show the code and explain what it is
Cons: I think the book assumes the reader has some context/scheme for PHP. For someone who had none it was hard to follow and understand.
They do not show you how it all works together. Often I struggled to know how the PHP I was learning applied to my project.
It was not explained in simple terms. I often did not understand what it was trying to show me. Here is an example of one of the sections from the book:
Standard tags are the de-facto opening and closing tags; they are the best solution for portability and backwards compatibility, because they are guaranteed to be available and cannot be disabled by changing PHP’s configuration file.”
I liked these PHP for beginners Youtube videos by TeachMeComputer better than the Zend PHP 5 online book. It is more geared for beginners.
Pros: They start with the basics and show you how to get started by using a text editor and setting up MAMP, etc. That was nice because I would not have figured that out on my own.
There are about 25 tutorials available that are about 5-10 minutes long. It’s just the right amount of time to get what you need and be able to quickly apply it. It is also easy to go back and review because each video is so specific.
The videos teach you the principles and show you how to apply them. I liked to practice while I watched.
Cons: Some people are bothered by the accent of the narrator.
There are a lot of videos. This is a good thing but it can also be a lot if someone wants a broad overview.
I would not recommend them for someone with a lot of experience. They may be too simple.
Overall, I enjoyed the resources I used. There were times were I also referred to a PHP Manual or W3 Schools. Those are helpful for beginners but are more for reference materials not tutorials.