Evaluation Comments
Course:Web Applications

Quarter:Autumn 16/17
Time: Tu 17:45 - 21:00
Location: Loop Campus
James Riely PhD

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What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the instructor?

1.   Strengths: very well versed in the ideas and logic surrounding the languages and frameworks used, very adaptable; Weaknesses: not a solid expert on Angular 2, but that's to be expected given its cutting-edge status
4.   He's a really nice guy, and clearly has a lot of enthusiasm. But the class was so disorganized in its presentation that I learned effectively nothing.
6.   Communication, flexibility, enthusiasm for the course content.
7.   great instructor, teaching style matches my learning style, I personally prefer live coding

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

1.   Learning about the total mess that is front-end development; knowing to avoid this as a career in the near future
2.   It's a really new and promising technology
4.   Pure JavaScript and the first assignment (the calculator)
5.   At the beginning of the class we covered fundamentals of JS and HTML, I think more accent should be placed on this because I this would be beneficial to all web developers.
6.   Learning a relevant technology and tools to work with it.
7.   learning new technology

What do you suggest to improve this course?

1.   Use a slightly-less cutting edge framework so that the documentation is stable and there can be a bit more formal structure to the course
2.   To be honest, I've probably spent more time to think about/find a project, find APIs and try to figure out how to use them (since every API works differently than others) than actually learn or study Angular2 itself. Maybe sample project skeletons and APIs can be given to us, so some students can use them as a starting point. Also the last 2 week's subjects should have been relatively earlier since Redux vs Rxjs is the spine of your app and probably cannot be changed so easily from one to another if you have already gone far enough in your project, and D3 was complex enough for me to not dare to implement it since I only had 1 week left (especially for first week presenters)
3.   add more topics like JQuery , which are more useful in the real world.
4.   Present the material in a structured, organized fashion. Explain the concepts first, then demonstrate a simple example while the class follows along, then grow more complex.
5.   Angular was not in a happy place, I would say switch framework or more accent on the why the angular is doing it instead of how it is doing it.
6.   More structure for the course, more collaboration between students, more guidance for what projects should look like.

Comment on the grading procedures and exams

1.   At this point it isn't well known. There are no exams, and we've been told most of the course grade will be based on the final project. However, the project has only loose guidelines and we haven't presented yet as of the evaluation due date, so it's hard to have any solid feedback here.
4.   N/A
6.   Fairly generous keeping in mind the 'unchartered territory' of content for both students and instructor.

Other comments?

1.   This was an enjoyable class in a way, as it was very different in structure from other courses. However, coming in with no web experience made it very difficult for me to get things working in the first place, and design/CSS, which wasn't covered much at all, remained incomprehensible to me throughout the course. That's not a real problem unless the grading on the final project emphases design. I would personally prefer to use a structure that isn't in as much flux as Angular. For example, the textbook, while claiming to be up-to-date, only barely touched on angular-cli, and many of the techniques used in the book were already deprecated or had better approaches available. JavaScript development feels so clunky compared to other fields. From the literally hundreds of thousands of files pulled down by npm throughout my projects that broke OneDrive and forced me to switch to Dropbox, to the numerous third-party modules that all need their own special tweaks to get working, to the difficulty of debugging code that has been transpiled, it just seems like it's a field BADLY in need of standardization. Is it too much to ask that we wait until browsers support a language natively before deploying it widely? In any case, I've learned a lot and know that I will not even consider working in front-end development any time soon.
2.   Overall I liked and enjoyed Angular 2. It gives us enough flexibility and the technologies it uses are future looking. Since Angular2 is extremely new and just started to be stable enough, I believe this course will be so much better in 1 or 2 quarters
4.   N/A
6.   I liked Angular 2, I thought the textbook was relevant and fairly helpful. It was hard to understand quickly all the interleaving of the other tools involved in projects, such as CSS, Webpack, Angular CLI, and other environments and how they worked for and against each other. I think the structure for the first two assignments was solid and there was good discussion among students. Shortly thereafter, a divide formed with regard to learning ability as some students had worked in front-end or with Angular for some time already. It may have been more helpful to openly share projects on Github for comparison. It also may be helpful to do 1-2 group projects if possible so that different strengths can come together and skills may level off a little between student groups. I think making resources for easily-accessible API's would be helpful. I also think that Riely was the right professor to teach the course, a couple more go's at it would be helpful. Angular isn't going away for a while. Live-coding should be a little more rehearsed for in-class demonstration, or leave it to recording a video or manual for use so that lecture can be more used for QA, group questions, collaboration.
7.   great course overall, as a programmer with pretty much no web development experience found this course to be very helpful