About this project
230% Funded. 250% Will Unlock a new reward!
If we can reach 250%, we'll unlock a new reward:
Browser Environment & HTML 5 API's. You'll get everything in the Sauce Bundle & learn how to use some of the most popular HTML 5 API's. Learn a few HTML basics, and learn about important changes to HTML and browser support.
Together we can change the world!
200% - Stretch goal reached! Less than 50 hours left to help fight poverty with code!
To get the course at a huge bundled discount, select or upgrade your reward to the Sauce Bundle. Prototypal Inheritance, Functional Programming, Node and Express + Software Testing ft. Sauce Labs - Only $179!
Thank you Backer Army!
Thank you for your amazing support. Each of you have inspired us by your desire to learn and to share that learning with those in need. Here's our Backer Army request for today. Please tweet this:
For more ways to help, follow @TheBackerArmy on Twitter.
Update July 21st, 2014:
Many people have expressed interest in volunteering to help fight poverty with code. Watch this video for more details:
Thanks to all of you amazing supporters, I can now confidently announce plans to create more introductory material suitable for homeless people who have never seen code in their lives. We’re not there yet, though. To keep the ball rolling, we’re going to need a lot more help and support.
Together we can change the world.
The web is eating software, and Atwood's Law is in full effect:
These courses are designed to gently introduce students to the concepts in the book, and provide a firmer foundation for both beginners and experts alike.
If we meet our funding goal, we'll create these three courses:
- Prototypal Inheritance
- Functional Programming
- Node and Express
All my courses are packed not just with syntax and mechanics, but also with the deeper meaning behind the constructs, including decades of programming wisdom communicated in bite sized chunks. You'll learn not just how to do things, but how to do them well, along with the principles that form the foundations of good software design.
Unlike many other resources, I'm going to share with you my opinion when I believe that one way to do things is better than another. Experience, mistakes, and lots of minor disasters have taught me that there are right and wrong ways to do things. I'm going to tell it like it is, so hopefully you don't have to relive the same mistakes and disasters I encountered.
Along the way you'll have plenty of opportunity to practice. The best way to learn is by doing. Each course will be packed with presentation slides, practice instructions, and unit tests that will automatically grade your work, so you'll get instant feedback.
Each course will contain series of 5-10 minute video lectures, each accompanied by a short quiz to make sure you picked up all the important points. You'll also have access to Q&A, help from other students, and references to supplementary material in the book.
As an O'Reilly author and conference speaker, you can count on me to deliver clear lessons that will teach you something new regardless of your current skill level.
Why We Need the Money
I have been browsing a lot of online courses lately just to get a feel for what works, and what doesn't work. What I've discovered is that I learn really well in some courses, and not so well in others. There are some clear patterns emerging:
Courses that lack good production values: good video, good design, music, illustrations, graphics, and so on are harder to focus on. As it turns out, where education is concerned, design matters. High quality creative content is key to student success. It's more important than how smart the teacher is. I would say it's almost as important as the course content.
Sadly, I'm not a designer. I'm not a video editor. I'm a programmer. All this production work needs to get done, and that means that it needs to get paid for.
I've been working on the courses for a few months now, and I have a pretty good idea of what each one will cost to produce. I've put a lot of my own money into it so far, but it's more than I can self-fund sustainably.
The book is done and shipping to the earliest pre-order customers.
The first three courses are mapped out, and the first several modules for the first course are done. We've filmed and edited several videos, and we're confident that you're going to love them. We're about to hit the point where we'll need additional funds to continue, and that's where you come in.
It's never too late (or too early!) to start learning. Join me. You'll be glad you did.
Risks and challenges
The primary risks in this project are:
1. Video / Graphic design production delays
You know how it is. We can't control everything that's happening with upstream vendors. We just have to cross our fingers and hope things come together in time and on budget. The good news is, the book is in print and already shipping to the earliest pre-order customers.
2. Keeping up with demand. The support for this project has been overwhelming. When I set up the initial rewards, I didn't think of putting a reasonable limit on the core set of rewards. I realize now that was a big mistake.
Here's some free advice for your next Kickstarter campaign: All rewards are limited. You can always add new rewards, but you can't change a reward after it has been selected by a backer.
This is a good problem to have, though, and we should have enough funding to ramp up quickly and handle the load.
3. Life happens.
Car accidents. Health problems. Frogs raining from the sky. You know, the typical risks involved when you back any project anywhere. I don't think the frogs can stop us...Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes. They're online. You can work at your own pace and start the course whenever it's convenient for you.
You'll need some exposure to programming unless we hit a stretch goal, but there are lots of great resources for people who have no exposure to programming at all.
There will be a list of links to those resources in the free primer course for those who need them.
It's certainly not "just" another online video series. It's a series of high quality courses with a complete book, and lessons with video, text, and interactive exercises, but the critical component to help the homeless is our outreach program to connect with the homeless community champions in local cities wherever we can reach the heroes leading the charge.
We're building a network of volunteers in many communities who can help improve job training programs from very basic computer literacy that is currently being taught in many places through full scale advanced software development that will prepare candidates to work at top tech companies such as Facebook, Google, or PayPal.
Please see Update #4 for more details.
Yes. And No. Many people live paycheck to paycheck, and people lose jobs. The key is to have a high-quality system in place that helps families bounce back quickly after a disaster.
And there are a very small number of people like the Juliard-trained Nathaniel Ayers character (Jamie Foxx) in the film, "The Soloist," who refuse to stay in homes, even when they're given to them rent-free. There are some people who are deeply challenged by mental illness or persistent drug abuse problems who are resistant to counseling and housing. We shouldn't try to force them to come in out of the rain if they don't want to, but we should be welcoming if they want to, and we should actively seek them out and offer help on a regular basis.
Homeless people should be tracked in all of the social services, including shelters, hospitals, free clinics, jails (some will commit minor crimes just to have a warm place to sleep in the winter). Every time a homeless person arrives at one of these intake facilities, they should be offered resources to find permanent shelter, treatment, and job training, so that when they are ready to try again, we can help them with compassion.
Counter to the stereotypes, most homeless people want to get off the streets, and they're willing to work hard to do it. Take the example of Journeyman, the homeless coder who learned how to code in a few months, released an app called "Trees for Cars" and earned enough money that it could pay his rent for a few months (if he could find housing that he wants to stay in, anyway). I've been determined to do something about the homeless situation for years, but the recent example of Journeyman sets an important precedent: Yes, a homeless person can learn to code. And so can you.
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