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Closing Thoughts on my Exercism Video Project

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It was August 2, 2022, when I recorded the first video and blogged about my Exercism Elixir video project. I decided to join an upcoming cohort that would be working through the Elixir track on Exercism, a place to learn programming languages via coding challenges. I decided to video record myself working through the exercises, hoping to share the experience with others.

And now it’s all done! I posted my final “Learning Exercise” video on October 19, 2022. I unlocked the full Elixir syllabus and consider the project closed (for now).

Not overlooking an opportunity to recap the project, I figure I’ll capture a few thoughts to celebrate.

First, it feels incredible to FINISH something. I’ve had many project stall or otherwise end in a disappointing manner. Being able to see this through was very fulfilling.

I chose the project scope with meaningful intent. I wanted something more than a weekend but not longer than a few months. Technically this took about ten weeks with some vacation and moving distractions mixed in. It turned out to be a pretty good length of time.

The cohort was ok. We had a shared Discord server and encouraged daily check-ins and questions. People did help each other, but I feel like there was a lost opportunity to get more face time events. I attended a few video meetings, but they were more presentations than socializing. It’s a shame I didn’t make a stronger connection with anyone. Hard to do that over text-only chat. In the end, they did post a survey, and I recall sharing some suggestions. With luck, they will continue to mature the cohort idea and offer other languages.

Recording the videos was more stressful than expected. A handful of exercises stumped me, and the sessions would go long. Even the simple sessions went pretty long. I would not expect many people to sit through those unless they were notably stuck on an issue and found the video matching an exercise title. I know at least one person who did; he mentioned he recognized me during a Dockyard Academy call and shared as much. That was pretty cool.

As I consider more video content, I must condense the value better. If I do record longer sessions (or streams?) I should break out clips as the primary form of sharing and less so the full archive.

For now, I consider the project closed and will focus on other things. I could see myself coming back to work on more exercises someday. There are a ton. I completed 40 of them to unlock the syllabus, and there are still 116 available. My hat off to anyone who finishes all of them.