Flatiron News

Teaching Front-end Web Development at The Flatiron School: A Q&A with Instructor Jonathan Grover

Flatiron School / 6 November 2014

Jonathan Grover is a new media artist, programmer, and the Lead Front-end Instructor at The Flatiron School. He teaches people who are new to front end how to use tools like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build responsive websites from scratch. To kick off our latest part-time Front-end Web Development course, he’s answered a few questions on what the program is all about.

Why take a part-time course over a full-time one?

Flatiron School has made a name for itself providing full-time, immersive courses in Web Development and iOS. These programs are life changing for our students, but a lot of times, they’re not feasible for people who aren’t able to quit their jobs—or who really like what they do, but just want to learn a new skill.

The role of our part-time courses is to offer similar technology-based, market-aligned curriculum available to the general public on a part-time schedule. This makes the course perfect for people who want to keep working (or being a full-time mom or dad) while they learn to code—whether they’re looking to level up their skills, or try to take on new responsibilities in their current job.

How does the Front-end Web Development course at the Flatiron School differ from other similar courses offered in NYC?

My course is a flipped curriculum course that maximizes classroom time by allowing students to watch lectures and and code along with online videos. This way, when they show up to class they have already learned the concepts and are able to spend class time actually coding—working through labs and on their personal website projects. This also allows for more one-on-one time with your instructor. By moving lectures offline you gain over 20+ hours of instructional learning paired with 60 hours of in class time coding.

Tell me more about the kind of students that enroll in your courses.

We are now opening enrollment for the fourth iteration of the course and so far I’ve instructed everyone—designers, task-rabbits, musicians, photographers, creative directors, user-experience designers, writers, stay-at-home moms, marketing executives, and developers in other computer languages looking to improve their knowledge of front-end development. The curriculum uses differentiated teaching methods to accommodate absolute beginners up to those whom already have some coding experience.

What can I expect to build by the end of the course?

By the end of the course students have a small portfolio of code on Github, as well as a live personal website of their choice that they build throughout the course. Students are taught to create and publish fully responsive websites that are viewable on any device. We leverage HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to make professional custom sites suitable as a portfolio, marketing page, online family album, and much more. We don’t cover building web apps like Twitter or Facebook–but look out for part-time courses on backend development in the near future.

What sort of time commitment can I expect for the course?

Students can expect a minimum of 3 hours per week outside of class and 6 hours in class weekly. Over the course of 10 weeks students can expect to spend 90 hours learning to build responsive websites. The more time and effort put in, the greater the results. The minimum goal is to successfully complete all course material and build from one to two websites during the course—but many students are able to achieve much more.

Tell us about yourself and your interest in teaching people how to code.

My background is in fine arts. I studied graphic design initially with a deep interest in visual communication. I went on to study interactive and new media arts in grad school at The San Francisco Art Institute. At the time, I used tutoring and coding websites part-time as a way to pay the bills. But I quickly learned it was so much more.

At school I began to use code in my artwork to program micro-controllers or get the computer to translate sensor data into sounds or light. I began to see code as a powerful medium for communication and a way to build my own interfaces for artwork.

After that, teaching was just a given. I come from a long line of teachers, so my families’ Thanksgiving conversations often involve discussing the best strategies for group lab engagement or how to make the most interesting visual aids. As long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed sharing knowledge on any level. I live for the moment when a student reaches pure excitement in recognition of their new found abilities.

If you’d like a list of all the learning objectives for the Front-end Web Development course request a syllabus on this page. Or sign up for updates to hear about future part-time courses offered at The Flatiron School, right here.

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