I just finished the videos for the course, and I have to say it is a good thing I already have a lot of experience with Core Data. This course starts off so cute and friendly, like a little smiling snowman. But that smiling snowman is at the top of a mountain, and as he rolls inexorably down the mountain toward you and his inevitable conclusion, he just gets bigger and bigger and rolls faster and faster until—BAM!—he crushes you at the end!
This is a common problem with many courses, not just this one and not just in teaching computer programming. The course author knows exactly where to start, and starts off at a nice leisurely pace explaining every detail and inserting interesting tidbits and asides. But then soon comes the realization that we need to get down to business here, and subjects get glossed over as we desperately seek to come to some sort of conclusion quickly.
The best example of this in this course is a tacked-on Lesson 6 in Core Data and Concurrency. This is a topic almost deserving of its own course, but instead we get one long page of text. No video, no coding, no quizzes … nada. I can’t be positive, but it feels like this was added after the course was already “completed” and someone discovered that—oops!—our Core Data stack has concurrency issues and we better say something about it.
Courses should be written backwards. Start with where you want to end up. Look at everything your students need to know in order to do what you want them to do. Then take each of those things as your new endpoint and work backwards from them. That slow, gentle, congenial, leisurely pace should be your ending, as well as your middle and beginning. Yes, you should challenge your students. Yes, there should be a learning curve. But no one ever said it had to be exponential!