Feedback in the Bootcamp Model

Today our Phase 0 cohort began Week 4 of the program. Today was also the first time I received valuable feedback on my code, or my Phase 0 work more generally. The feedback I received was the personal website I created in Week 2 and Week 3’s solo challenges. Although we theoretically get peer feedback on our work, as well as feedback from the guides in our Guided Pairing Sessions, I had yet to receive any feedback that was specific or substantial enough to prompt me to change my behavior or technique. Receiving extensive, detailed feedback on my website code led me to several realizations about the type of work environment I want in classes and work.

Primarily, I strongly prefer work environments that integrate significant opportunities for actionable feedback, whether this is exchanged in person or in writing. Based on how Dev Bootcamp described itself in Week 0, they seem to put a high value on feedback, but I haven’t seen this play out in tangible ways during the first third of the program. We have completed more than assignments coding and to only have feedback on one of those assignments is serious missed learning opportunity. Even though I did not have any errors in the syntax of my CSS or HTML (which I already knew, having run both through code checkers), the critiques I did receive on my Git workflow and code readability were evidence of on-going, unseen errors I have been committing since the first week and I’m disappointed there was not a structure in place to help me correct these prior to week four.

I recognize that I could actively seek additional code feedback in office hours, but I have not felt motivated to do this because I have not encountered significant problems or challenges in completing the assignments. Going to office hours adds to an already demanding time commitment, and I worry that I would be wasting the other student’s time as they would have to wait for me as my code was reviewed for possible, unseen errors. I wonder if I would be more motivated to participate in office hours if I were completing Phase 0 independent from Davidson, because I would have a greater financial investment in the program and would have made a significant emotional commitment in applying to residential Bootcamp. Open office hours are one of my favorite parts of Davidson’s academic community, but I am far more hesitant to engage online. I will, however, seek out more opportunities for feedback now that I have experienced how valuable it can be.

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