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Codeacademy – Bugs in Online Teaching Platforms

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Last week I decided to learn Python. My office-mate keeps on telling me how cool it is, how he can write impressive code in  no time, that would have taken him like millions of years to write in Java. So I decided to give it a try and started the Python track at Codeacademy. This site provides free online courses to learn programming. The cool thing is that all the learning is web-based, you have an editor in which you do exercises, hit “run” and the site checks that you solved the problem correctly. No need for external editors, etc. Pretty cool.

Since I am one of those guys who read the foreword of the Calculus books used at the university, I could not skip the initial parts of the track, even though it explains basic programming stuff that I already know from 10+ years programming in 3+ different languages. The learning goes OK until the exercises start to get more complicated… The instructions get a bit cryptic (maybe because the guys who write these tracks are not teachers but programmers), and suddenly – A BUG! Check out this output:

Enter a word:>
 Arieh
vowel
==> None
Oops, try again.
The first character of Arieh is actually a vowel.
Enter a word:>
 Arieh
vowel
==> None
That's correct! Next Exercise: I'd like to buy a vowel
>

I didn’t change anything in the code between the two runs of the exercise, so something must be wrong with the automatic exercise checker that the site is using. Makes me sad :-(.

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Written by vainolo

October 21st, 2012 at 10:57 am

Posted in Programming

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