Course Goals / Learning Outcomes
- Learn about the fundamentals of server-side web programming via the lens of PHP.
- Practice the use of supplemental software tools including:
- Git version control
- server setup and management
- software testing
- Hone tangential skills including:
- Troubleshooting/problem solving
- Utilizing documentation/resources
- Technical communication
- Produce 3 web applications that demonstrate proficiency with the above learning outcomes.
Students often ask how much time they’ll have to spend in order to be successful in this course. This question is difficult to answer as it depends on many factors: how much previous experience you have, how quickly you pick up on technical topics, and how much you want to push yourself on your projects. Because of the diversity of experience of HES students, the range of time spent on course material varies greatly.
A classic college estimate says that students should expect to spend 3 hours on work outside of class for every hour spent “in class” (which in this case we'll define as the time spent watching lecture videos). Given this, we can estimate:
(3hrs x approx. 2hrs of lecture videos) + 2hrs to watch lecture videos = 8 hours per week
You should consider this time estimate an average, as the workload will fluctuate throughout the semester. E.g. earlier in the semester, it may only take you 1 hour to complete that week’s work, but in weeks leading up to a project completion you may spend more than 6 hours.
Regardless of your experience level, some weeks may demand a lot of your time if you encounter road blocks. Unfortunately, this is the nature of working with code/technology and even the most experienced programmer will hit road-blocks and spend far more time on a task than they anticipated. You can help minimize the time spent on road-blocks by:
- not getting behind in course material
- carefully following instructions
- managing your time so that when you get stuck, you can post a question about your issue and get outside assistance
Original work and academic integrity
All the projects you complete for this course should be of your own creation, authored specifically for this course.
The internet is full of tutorials and examples for the kind of applications you’ll be creating. Aside from the serious academic consequences, to build your projects based on these found examples would only be cheating yourself from the experience of completing the work.
This is not to say you can’t use outside resources as guidance— the ability to troubleshoot and seek out answers is one of the learning goals of this course. Just think carefully about the kind of help you're looking for in things like Google and Chat GPT searches.
- Safe search: “How do I round a number up in PHP?”
- Dangerous search: “How do I build a tip calculator in PHP?”
The first example is specific to one small component of an application, while the latter example is likely to lead you to code that you should be writing on your own.
Also, be smart about looking at a classmate’s project repository. Again, one of the goals of this course is to collaborate with others and because of that, we use public repositories and freely share code for troubleshooting purposes. That being said, there is an obvious line between looking at a classmate’s code to help them troubleshoot their specific problem, and looking at a classmate’s code because you can't figure out something in your own project. The former is encouraged, while the latter is unacceptable.
Red flags that may cause us to have concern about the originality of your project’s code:
- Code is designed in a way that is noticeably different than the approaches used in lecture.
- Code is of a noticeably different quality than other code we’ve seen from you.
- Code appears to be the result of following a step-by-step online tutorial.
- Code shows high similarity to other code using Stanford’s Measure Of Software Similarity program.
Work that raise concerns of originality may be submitted to the HES academic board for review.
Harvard Extension School policies on Academic Integrity
“You are responsible for understanding Harvard Extension School policies on academic integrity and how to use sources responsibly.
Not knowing the rules, misunderstanding the rules, running out of time, submitting “the wrong draft”, or being overwhelmed with multiple demands are not acceptable excuses. There are no excuses for failure to uphold academic integrity.
To support your learning about academic citation rules, please visit the Harvard Extension School Tips to Avoid Plagiarism, where you'll find links to the Harvard Guide to Using Sources and two, free, online 15-minute tutorials to test your knowledge of academic citation policy. The tutorials are anonymous open-learning tools.”
Harvard Extension School Disability Services
“The Extension School is committed to providing an accessible academic community. The Disability Services Office offers a variety of accommodations and services to students with documented disabilities. Please visit this web site for more information....”