As I type this, it is the end of my second day at Lambda School. The first few days have been busy, although not as busy as I was expecting. There seems to be a lot of flexibility in the schedule. The lectures are not super structured. I mean, they have an objective, and a project to walk you through, but it feels a little ramble-y as you go along. Not to say that is a bad thing. It gives ample opportunity for people to interject and ask questions along the way. And it feels like a subtle acknowledgment of the awkwardness everyone is feeling about doing a 14-way Zoom meeting.
What I don’t know is if this is intentional or not. I was frustrated by it at first, because I would prefer to move at a little bit faster and more intentional of a pace. That is what I had prepared myself for over the last few weeks. But I think this will be more sustainable. Despite the fact that they call everything sprints, this is more of a marathon. A thing that we have to keep coming back to day after day for six or seven months. We have to move at a sustainable pace. There are also 14 of us who are coming from all different backgrounds and levels of prior knowledge. We have to make sure everyone can grasp the material and move forward. I have a feeling that as we move along, and we all get on the same page more and more, our pace will be able to follow suit and pick up.
So far the material has been pretty basic. Yesterday we built a couple simple apps in the master-detail configuration, which followed a pretty strict MVC model. Today we covered Git, initializing a repository, making commits and pushing them up to Github. All pretty low level stuff that I, and many of my classmates, have previous experience with. So I have not felt overwhelmed, and that is positive I suppose. I am still trying to get into the ‘school’ mindset. It has been a while since all I did all day was listen to lectures and do class work. I am struggling to find the right balance between giving this program all the time and effort it deserves and still accomplishing all the other things I have to do in order to pay the bills and keep eating. This week I have basically blocked out the whole week just for this class, because I was not sure how intense it was going to be. But figuring out that balance will become more crucial as we move forward.
One thing I have been pleasantly surprised by after doing the prerequisite course is how interactive the lectures feel. The pre-course ones were largely a person talking through the material and if there were any questions they would be asked in a chat, he or she would have to stop talking to read the question, and then answer it. And then they’d have to wait for a typed response to any follow up. The lectures in the actual course are much nicer. Since we are all in the same Zoom meeting, anyone can just unmute their mic and chime in with a question at any time. And then have a real conversation with the lecturer. It feels much more personal and like a real-life classroom environment. It also feels more efficient. The same goes for the peer code review. It is awesome to have a face to face conversation with a person about their code and yours. It feels like you are talking to a real human being (because you are). So far these person to person interactions have been the biggest advantage I’ve seen to Lambda School’s program over other online courses I’ve tried to go through.
Right now I am feeling cautiously optimistic about the whole endeavor. We’ll see how things go.