Exercise Weekend

Overview


At the end of each week you will complete an independent project. This project will demonstrate the concepts covered during the week. It will also act as an example of your coding ability in your growing portfolio.

This lesson will walk through the entire independent project process, including deadlines, schedules, expectations, feedback, and submission.

Academic Honesty


Independent projects must be completed individually. You may reference online resources, Learn How To Program, and your own code, but you may not view or copy current or former students' work.

As explained in our Student Handbook, these projects are an opportunity to receive personalized feedback, and to ensure you're developing skills for success after graduation. If you plagiarize work you both lose this valuable opportunity and risk setting yourself up for failure at a job or internship. This will not only harm you, but the reputation of all Epicodus students as well.

For these reasons, projects are carefully reviewed to confirm all work is your own. Students found to have plagiarized or received help from others will be expelled.

Keep in mind that failing projects may be resubmitted. (see Resubmission below). If you find yourself struggling, don't feel tempted to plagiarize. Do the best you can, and submit what you have. You and your teacher can later work out a plan for revisiting and resubmitting the project.

Schedule


(Deadlines differ for the part-time evening course. Your teacher will address this in class.)

  • Independent projects are published on Learn How to Program each Friday by 8:00am PST. They can be found at the end of your current week's curriculum.

  • For full-time students, projects must be submitted through Epicenter no later than Friday at the end of class.

This calendar shows the process for independent project submissions, reviews, and resubmissions.

The calendar above shows the independent project process for the full-time program:

  • On Friday, independent projects are submitted by 5:00 pm PST.
  • Your instructor will review your independent project some time during the next week. If all objectives are met, you are done!
  • If there are any incomplete objectives, you will need to fix any issues and resubmit your independent project by 8:00 AM PST on the Monday ten days after the initial submission deadline.
  • Your instructor will review any resubmissions that week.
  • If there are still incomplete objectives at that point, you'll have one more opportunity to fix any remaining problems in the project by 8:00 AM the following Monday seventeen days after the initial submission deadline.
  • If the submission is still not passing, you will likely be asked to leave the program, though you may be invited to try the program again at a later date.

Course Requirements


Successful completion of independent projects is required to pass courses and graduate. Keep the following in mind:

  • All independent projects must be completed and passing to pass a course.

  • You must pass your current course to advance to the next course.

  • You must pass all courses in their track to be eligible for an internship, and to graduate.

  • You are also required to verbally walk your instructor through at least one independent project codebase in-person or by video at least once in the program. At your instructor's discretion, you may be asked to do this more than once. Your instructor will determine which project to discuss and set up a meeting.

Expectations


In general, we have the following expectations for independent projects.

  • All independent project objectives should be successfully completed. If you are unable to complete all objectives by the deadline, you will have a chance to fix and update your independent project.

  • The completed project must use the provided prompt. For instance, you cannot simply create your own prompt because you do not want to work on the prompt provided. As an example, if the prompt asks you to create an application for an imaginary storefront, you cannot instead turn in a choose-your-own-adventure application, even if the completed project demonstrates understanding of the course materials.

  • You must work on the project for the specified amount of time, and during the time frame allotted. For full-time students, students are expected to work 8 hours between 8 AM and 5 PM on Friday. If you need an exception (for instance, you do not have childcare or have to work during part of the allotted time), you can check in with your instructor about an alternate time to complete the prompt. Exceptions can also be granted for documented emergencies. Note that instructors may use your Git commit history (Git is a tool for tracking changes to code) to help determine whether you spent the full amount of time working on the project.

  • If you finish your project early, you are still expected to spend the full amount of time working on your project. See Further Exploration below. Remember that you can always add additional functionality or make an application look nicer. Even if you complete any further exploration objectives early, use the extra time to practice coding and challenge yourself further.

  • All projects must include a complete README. We'll go over the requirements for a README in a future lesson.

Further Exploration


Each project includes a Further Exploration section with optional objectives. These are ideas to extend your application beyond the minimum requirements. You're encouraged to tackle these extra features if you complete the primary objectives with time to spare.

Remember, the purpose of completing these projects isn't just to pass your courses! In the future, you will need to demonstrate your coding skills to potential employers. By creating polished, professional projects each week you will exit the program with a diverse, well-rounded portfolio before you even begin your job search!

Submission


Independent Projects must be submitted by the end of class on Friday. (For evening and online Intro to Programming students, code review deadlines will be discussed in class.)

Before submitting, do a final check for each objective. Spend a few minutes checking indentation, removing commented-out code, creating a detailed README, etc. Your project should feel polished and complete.

When everything is in order, complete the following steps to submit your project:

  1. Push the final code to a GitHub repo.
  2. Login to Epicenter and navigate to the Code Reviews section.
  3. Select the link for this week's code review.
  4. Paste the link to your GitHub repo in the provided field.
  5. Take a moment to complete the survey, which includes a few brief multiple-choice questions about how this week went for you. Epicodus staff uses this information to continually improve our processes and content. While your code review is associated with your Epicenter account, your survey answers are anonymous. Submit the survey using the button at the bottom of the survey's scrollbox.
  6. In the large Epicenter text field below the survey window, include a brief note to your teacher about your process that day, and any questions or concerns you may have. This content will be sent with your project submission to your teacher, and is not anonymous.
  7. Submit your independent project for review!

Evaluation & Feedback


Your teacher will review your project the following week. You'll receive general written feedback, and each objective will be rated on the following scale:

  • The code does not meet this standard.
  • The code meets this standard most of the time.
  • The code meets this standard all of the time.

To pass a code review, you must receive meets this standard most of the time or meets this standard all of the time on all objectives. If any objectives receive a does not meet this standard the project does not pass. You will be required to complete further work and re-submit.

Resubmission


If you fail to pass any of the objectives, your teacher's feedback will identify why the objective(s) are not met, and what can be improved to meet them. Take the opportunity to check in with your teacher regarding anything you don't understand, work through those problems, then resubmit using the same steps listed above. In the Notes field, document exactly what work you've done since your last resubmission.

Resubmissions are (generally) due the week after you receive feedback as the calendar earlier in this lesson shows. Your instructor may provide more details, or specific resubmission deadlines.

Group Work


We will work in 4-person groups on a cumulative, week-long project at the end of the following courses:

  • Intermediate JavaScript;
  • Ruby/Rails (for students in the Ruby/Rails track);
  • C#/.NET (for students in the C#/.NET track).

Students will present on their group projects that Thursday and will be expected to submit an independent project (in lieu of a Friday project) with a link to the group project by that Friday. Students are otherwise not expected to work on a Friday project during those weeks. Instead, they will have extra time to prepare for the next course.

Lesson 10 of 12
Last updated June 2, 2021