What is this Treehouse stuff?

Remember on Day 1, we were able to list our treehouse account… If you were like me, you probably thought, treehouse? What’s that? Well, let me tell you, it is one of the internet’s best kept secrets when it come to technology education. It is an online learning platform for learning all things code.

The program is built up by courses and tracks on various topics. Recently I completed the AJAX Basics course when I entered the dreaded “panic mode” and didn’t seem to know where to begin. It took roughly 5 hours to complete, but it started with the very beginning and by the end I had learned the basics of Ajax and created a couple of small projects along the way. An individual course is typically made up of short educational videos, quizzes and code alongs. The code alongs are nice because they provide you with an online workspace to complete the labs and you don’t need to worry about getting caught up in environment issues while trying to learn the AJAX concepts.

Below, I will show you some screenshots and features that I was able to use while going through the AJAX course and will give you a good idea of what working on Treehouse is like.

Once you have selected a track and/or a course, you will begin with an introductory video. The main form of education on this platform is through recorded lectures. There are no readings, however the lectures are pretty detailed and they will put up slides with important information. This is demonstrated in the screenshots below. I found it very useful to see some of the big picture concepts written out and then afterwards the videos and examples would be more in depth and concerned with syntax and the logistics of actually creating the AJAX calls.

After a few videos, there are sporadically placed quizzes to test your knowledge. I found this very useful to keep myself engaged and also test my knowledge to make sure I was soaking in what I was watching.

Along with some of the multiple choice quizzes were coding quizzes. The directions would step you through what they wanted conceptually, but then it tested your knowledge of the syntax and details.

Towards the end of each course you build an actual project. they provide you with the files necessary to do it locally, but they also provide you an online “workspace” where the environment and server are already setup for you. I utilized this so that I could focus on learning AJAX and not get caught up in other issues. However, now I want to go back and attempt everything locally.

As you complete different stages in the course, you receive badges and points. I don’t think this really gets you anything, but its kind of a fun incentive to keep going.

So what’s the catch? Treehouse is not free…. Wahhhh. Unfortunate, I know, but understandable. It is great content! There are a few options for how you pay. I started a free trial of 7 days and then am scheduled to begin paying $25/month when the trial ends. I can also select the option to pay for a full year. This option allows you to get 2 months free. There are also different levels of access. For most students at Flatiron, I would simply recommend the Basic package because the only real benefit to the pro package is the ability to download videos offline and a little bit of bonus content.

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