Hi, I’m Sara! I work at Udacity as a course manager, meaning I’m often on the Udacity end of the conversation when students check in with questions about our courses. I’ve also recently donned a course developer hat, meaning I work with Professor Cay Hortsmann and Cheng-Han Lee to develop our new Intro to Programming course.
Developing a course at Udacity is pretty exciting. It generally goes like this:
Brainstorming, scripting & writing sample code
Initially, Cheng-Han, Cay, and I brainstorm cool examples of things you can program, like drawing a graph of your friends. Next, we write lesson scripts and test out all the example code.
When we film the videos, I always find that the code has a mind of its own. I plan some mistakes so students can see the process of reasoning about bugs, but sometimes I make new mistakes while filming. I guess those ones will be more authentic 🙂 Recognizing and fixing bugs is a critical skill. Bugs are a constant reality of programming, and they are conquerable.
When I finish recording a video, I hand it to our talented video editors, who edit the footage so that it flows well and feels like a finished product.
Coding quizzes & assignments
The polished footage is uploaded to the site where Cheng-Han codes all the quizzes and programing assignments. Without this last critical step, all the content would be just another lecture. At Udacity, we plan the course around the questions, because when you make mistakes while answering questions, your brain grows.
I love being a Udacity course developer for Intro to Programming because I believe that very soon, if it hasn’t happened already, we will realize that programming is as important for careers as reading and writing is. It’s something you can use to communicate with the world, and to build your ideas into realities.
More and more, the world needs people to learn CS, and we’re struggling to keep up with educating all of the students who want to learn. I came to Udacity because if I build good content here, potentially thousands of people can use it to learn to program. Working at Udacity, I am able to make a difference by reaching students at a scale I never dreamed of. If you want to take the course to earn college credit with San Jose State University, you have three more days until enrollment closes on Friday, May 24th.
Udacity Course Manager & Developer