Mona Alfonso

Mona Alfonso

Web Developer and Educator with 5+ years of experience in tech.

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This course is designed to provide new learners with a solid foundation in the basics of JavaScript syntax, enabling them to confidently build upon this knowledge. Understanding the core concepts of JavaScript is crucial; it means less frustration and confusion as you progress. Even if you've already built some JavaScript projects, consider taking this course to ensure there are no gaps in your foundational knowledge.

Mastering the basics is actually pretty straightforward. Here are the topics we will cover in this course:

  1. Primitive Data Types
  2. Variables
  3. Operators
  4. Conditionals
  5. Functions
  6. Arrays
  7. Objects
  8. Loops

While this is not all that you need to know to become a full-fledged JavaScript developer, mastering these items lays a solid foundation, making it easier to tackle intermediate and advanced topics like DOM manipulation, handling events, asynchronous programming, functional programming, error handling and testing, etc. Start with these core concepts to simplify your path to JavaScript proficiency.

Implicit Learning

In this course, we embrace a teaching philosophy that leverages the power of implicit learning. At the beginning of many lessons, you are introduced to code snippets without explanations. This strategy is designed to ignite your natural curiosity and tap into your brain's innate ability to recognize patterns. This primes your mind, enhancing your receptivity to the "Explainers" that follow. It not only improves your retention of new information but also cultivates a deeper, more instinctual understanding of the subject matter. Finally, it encourages an active engagement and discovery throughout your learning journey.

The inspiration for this approach comes from my encounter with Barbara Oakley's insights on learning how to learn, particularly her exploration of focused and unfocused learning modes. I applied this strategy while learning React in 2017, exposing myself to a lot of good React code examples one afternoon, and the next day I was hard at work building my first React application. Many people say how hard it is to learn to code "the React way" because it feels counter-intuitive, but I have to say that my experience was just the opposite. This experience confirmed for me the effectiveness of this learning approach, and I have been passing it on to my students ever since.

How Is AI Used In This Course?

The AI prompts in this course are crafted to customize your learning journey and adjust the difficulty of practice problems to your level. The prompts instruct the AI to ask you about your hobbies and interests, so that it can tailor examples and practice problems accordingly. For instance, if you're passionate about Astronomy or Gardening, all examples and problems will relate to these subjects. This method links your existing interests with new knowledge, enhancing your focus and receptivity.

Moreover, the use of Large Language Models / AI can dynamically adjust the complexity of problems based on your performance, ensuring you are challenged without feeling overwhelmed. It aims to balance revising known concepts with introducing new ones, all at a manageable pace.

The use of AI also offers unlimited examples and practice problems, allowing you to explore topics in depth, and at your own pace, before moving on. This self-paced approach ensures a personalized learning process.

The final advantage of using AI when learning to code is that the AI understands if you misspell or abbreviate terms. Unlike traditional tests where such deviations produce errors, the AI focuses on the intent of your solution, reducing frustration over minor mistakes.

Get Human Help With Drop-In Office Hours

Despite leveraging AI in this course, AI can never replace human instruction and mentorship. To this end, I include drop-in office hours twice a week as a part of this course. Come ask questions, get unstuck, show off your work or wins, or to discuss the latest in technology trends. I look forward to engaging with you during office hours and continuing our dialogue from week to week. I am here for you!

Drop-In Office Hours with Dr. Alfonso:

  • Wednesdays, 6:00pm - 7:00pm EST

  • Saturdays, 1:00pm-3:00pm EST

Location: ZOOM