In one of my previous activities I learnt web development through online courses. After learning it, I wanted to share my knowledge with others who have the same passion, so along with my friend Nishil, we started a web development bootcamp as our CAS project. The main aim of the bootcamp was to teach students web development from scratch to a decent level of complexity. Web development is a vast field, so it is not possible to teach everything, so our aim was to provide a head-start by teaching the fundamentals, which can be then used by students to explore and learn much more on their own.
An important obstacle we found was to keep the retention rates up of the students, as they had to all come in early to school to attend the sessions. After the first couple of sessions, we noticed that a lot of students stopped coming, so we made some changes to the way we delivered content by adding more challenges and code alongs to increase their engagement. We were surprised by the passion of students, as they continued their learning outside class, which helped to further improve their understanding. I had to also brush up a lot of concepts before each class, so I could clear doubts and deliver the content well. I am also an introvert, so this bootcamp forced me to be more interactive with others and it is also the reason I chose to deliver the content myself. Near the start of the midterm examination, we stopped the classes so everyone could prepare for their upcoming examinations. Even though we had decided to give them tasks for Diwali, we ourselves procrastinated as we did not give them sufficient amount of tasks.
Each session, I took informal feedback from students so I could improve in the next class. Preparing for each class took about 1-2 hours depending on the complexity of the concept. Scheduling classes twice a week was tough to maintain, as towards the end of the year, the IBDP workload has significantly increased. However, I was able to push through, because I was passionate about what I was doing. When we resumed after midterm, the batch size had significantly reduced and only the interested core of students remained, who wanted to learn more. As we prioritised quality over quantity, we took much more time in frontend than anticipated as we tried to cover each concept with depth. To make communications easier, we also made a classroom where we gave updates and announcements about classes, agenda and homework. Again, towards the end of term 2, the frequency of classes significantly dropped and we decided to stop at around Feb, as G-10 students needed to focus on their board exams, the attendance had become irregular.
It was only after our vacations started, we decided to resume with the classes and add students, so we sent out forms again. After gauging the understanding of the new students, we decided to scrap the plan of starting backend, as most new students had to be taught frontend. Finally, we decided to teach frontend from basic to news students and few old ones through online sessions. Since we had already made course modules, we were able to re-use most of it while adding more activities and content. From teaching the first time, I had identified concepts that were the most complex and decided to focus my time more on those. As I was doing this the second time, I found that the efficiency of the classes was greatly improved.
I felt that the classes overall were very effective as in-person classes force students to be consistent and help in clarification of concepts, which is much more difficult through online standalone resources.