Joy of Coding Frequently Asked Questions

Why did we create this course?

Please see our Professor’s Note

Is The Joy of Coding completely online?

Yes, it’s completely online.

Is there any specific software or technology that students need to have in order to participate?

Students just need a modern internet browser (Chrome or Edge), internet connection, laptop or desktop computer, and internet. Everything (including the coding and lectures/interactive textbook) will be online.

Whatever a student used to complete their online screen module will be sufficient for the course.

How much is the program?

$99 per student. This covers all costs beyond hardware students need (see above) to participate.

How often will the class meet and what is the weekly schedule?

The course is self-driven and asynchronous so drive to want to learn is important. The student is expected to finish one integrated lecture +  reading + coding module each week and that work will take 4-6 hours. How students schedule their time is up to them. Of course, starting early right when the module is released is strongly encouraged and better than close to the homework deadline because the staff can help the student get unstuck if/when they do get stuck (and folks will as we deepen the material).

Can I learn further information about the course?

See mynerva.io/coding for the syllabus.

‘Codex’ (the format of the module) is the primary vehicle. Then as questions arise the student can reach out to us to get unstuck or to learn more – that way we get to personalize the course a bit more to them.

The reason we don’t do lectures to begin, except as needed, with the modules is because so much of coding is experiential – it is best to work on it and ask questions as they arise than to watch instructors talk about it. So we intersperse short videos in the codices and the codex format has a guided structure so they can be led from concept to application step by step.

Is it possible to do the assignments from my phone or tablet, or is a computer necessary?

Yes, a computer is necessary for the assignments because smaller screens will be too small to read the content and code on Mynerva.

If I have had some coding experience in the past, will the course still be a good fit for me?

While the course can be for anyone who has the necessary fundamental math knowledge (therefore, no coding experience is necessary!), if you have some coding experience, there is still much to gain from the course! While covered concepts may be familiar to some participants, students will also apply computational thinking (for things such as snapchat apps) while also having a better understanding of machine learning from the end result of each lesson (for functions/recursions/conditionals). In general, this is an opportunity to have a chance to see the application of math concepts through the exciting world of coding!

We hope all students can leave with a “wow!” and also a “that’s all it takes to do that?” sense that makes them feel you like they too can be part of the coding enabled apps we use and play with every day. Our program’s main goal is to “jumpstart” and energize students to want to take the next step by learning even more!

Should I take the course if I am not available for significant amount of time during the course?

While the course is self-paced, not being able to participate in the course for a significant amount (consecutive days to a week) of time will create the need to catch up and consolidate the work in a limited time, which we are hoping to avoid for the students’ experiences. Our instructors are available to help students during regularly scheduled hours; however we are only able to help students complete the content of the course within the program’s date range (July 5 – August 13), and want to ensure students are feeling supported and not behind to complete all the course’s content. While students are welcome to proceed with the application and course knowing they may not be available at certain times, students and families will need to assess for themselves if now is the best time to proceed given their plans or wait to possibly consider the course in the future, as early as fall (when we anticipate to offer the course again).

Who will you be contacting with application updates? (updated: April 1, 2021)

The age of the applicant will determine who we correspond with regarding updates as well as if additional paperwork is necessary once students are admitted to the program.

Except in unique cases, applicants who are 18 years or older at the time of their submitted application will be contacted directly. Applicants who are younger than 18 years old will have application updates sent to their identified parent/guardian in their application as well as need to have their parent/guardian complete additional paperwork before being admitted to the program. Students are welcome to contact us directly with questions; however, registration information will be sent directly to parents/guardians.

How will I know I have been accepted into the program?

After applying, we will email instructions and a link to an online screen module for applicants to complete. In order to be further considered for the program, applicants must complete the module. The time will vary from when one submits their application to when to expect the online screen module.  Expect it no later than 2 weeks after close of the application period.

The point of the module is just to check if applicants’ present background matches how we have designed the course. It is NOT a test to see if applicants can learn coding or not — EVERYONE can learn to code. It’s just that one needs to know some fundamental math knowledge before one can start, especially since we are doing this fully online.  

So if applicants don’t have the algebra background yet, don’t worry — come back next year. We will be delighted to have you apply again! 

Once applicants have completed this module, they will then be informed of your acceptance into the program. Upon being accepted into the program, payment instructions and further details regarding the program will be provided. Once payment has been received as well as all necessary paperwork, students are officially in the course and we can discuss study plans further.

We encourage applicants to continue to reserve the time in their schedule for The Joy of Coding as they wait for their acceptance into the program. Once again, the program is fully online and does not have identified scheduled times, which will allow participants to complete the work at their own schedule.

I am having difficulty uploading the PDF document to the Google Form confirming my successful completion of the module. What can I do?

It is likely students are logged on from their school email accounts, and it’s possible that due to security preferences, students have access blocked to their Google drive. Students should try logging out and logging in from a personal email account or have their parent/guardian upload it by first logging into their account. That should resolve the situation; however, students and/or parents/guardians can contact us at continuum-coding@umich.edu for further questions.

After registering and paying for the course, what is next?

We will contact fully registered students in mid-June with an update. Students and parents/guardians should continue to monitor their emails after registration to ensure there are no other materials or follow-up questions are staff have about individual registrations.

After this class, is there another course I can take to continue to learn coding?
We are in the process of developing more Continuum programs intended for students in high school, including one focused on machine learning. Coding appears in every STEM field. More details about careers in ECE, please visit our website.

New FAQs (06/28/2021)

Do I need to be present when assignments and lectures become available? Are there any assigned times for which students need to be present?

There are no live lectures – they are all recorded and integrated as needed into the computational textbook like in the screening module. If you log on after noon EST  on July 6th you will see the  first module which you can open up anytime. If you log on before noon on July 6th, the first module will not be available. Noon EST is the “release time”, like your favorite Netlfix show : -) You can start whenever you want afterwards based on your schedule — if you start and stop then you can pick up where you left off (remember to re-run everything from beginning since the computer forgets!) 

 Expect an email from Prof. Raj   on the assignment for that upcoming week every Wednesday.

I am not receiving email updates for the program. Who should I contact?

Please email continuum-coding@umich.edu

I have a question from one of the assignments. Who should I contact?

Please email continuum-coding-help@umich.edu

I didn’t receive an email from Gradescope. Who should I contact? 

We registered students’ email addresses from their Joy of Coding registration form, so please be sure to check the email address of that account, including the spam folder if necessary. If you would like to change the email address for Gradescope, please visit this website for further instructions.

Can I change the email address I have registered with Pathbird (formerly known as Mynerva)

The email is just a (unique) login ID so it doesn’t really matter what address you use as long as you have access to the email address in case you forget your password and reset it. So best to keep it as is when you registered because it will allow us to keep track of your progress and issue you your certificate of completion/accomplishment. 

That said, if you are losing access to the email address you originally registered with and want to change the Pathbird address, email help@pathbird.com and cc continuum-coding@umich.edu for this.

Continue logging in as before and completing the codices with your original email till you have received confirmation of the change.