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re: I'm going to be a teaching assistant, teaching web technlogogies. What should I know? VIEW POST


It is very laudable that you are putting so much thought into how you could improve the course you are describing. Judging from the curriculum you have outlined, you focus - for my taste - too much on knowledge with a rahter short "life span".

Whatever library or framework you teach today, will be outdated in a short period of time.

Think a bit more highly of your students, they'll surely be smart enough to figure out a CSS framework. Use the scarce resource, the time you have, wisely and bring in some more fundamental concepts. The basics of user interface design and human-computer interaction for example; and for the technologies part: creating useable APIs (how many frontend devs complain about badly designed backend services?).

Transferable skills are harder to teach admittedly than, say, a slide deck that parrots the content of the MDN Web Docs. But those will still be valuable and in demand, when nobody talks about ASP, Bootstrap or React anymore.


Thank you for your time and feedback!

I agree with you, I'd rather focus on the fundamentals, rather than whatever is 'hot' right now. Teaching frameworks and libraries instead of the core concepts can even be dangerous, because they can become formatted to only knowing that, or not knowing what's going on 'behind the covers'.

When I attended the lectures from this course, jQuery was introduced. I refused to use it, because I thought it was more important to know the core APIs, so my end-of-course project was a single-page app, done purely with whatever the browsers had to offer at the time in 2013, and zero libraries. It taught me a lot about how to do things with what I had, and it didn't hamper me when I used jQuery or Bootstrap or whatever else at work.

One of the things I did discuss with the other teacher that will lecture this course was that API design is something that we should invest our time on. Especially because I, too, have found terribly-designed APIs at work.

As for using ASP.NET MVC, I merely think of it as a gateway for explaining client-server interactions and how data flows from the client all the way to the backend. I find its concepts to be easily translatable to other languages (having worked with Express, Spring, JAX-RS, Flask and so on).

Speaking of React/whatever is 'hot' right now, I didn't plan to teach it, merely to show what's possible today, the 'state of the art', if you may. But I agree, knowing the core concepts makes you a lot more flexible when it comes to developing new things, whether you choose to use a framework/library or not.

And finally, no, I don't want to do a copy-paste job of MDN docs, I'd rather show them to how they can find such technical documentation, so that they learn how to find it. (Too often I find recent graduates not knowing what to search for in order to overcome an issue).

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