Instructor Notes

IMPORTANT - Setup Needed For Students#

If you are teaching this class in the coming weeks you must instruct your students to complete the instructions below.

React Preparation

If you students do not arrive with these steps completed then you will lose a lot of time on your first lesson. You should consider running short mid-week sessions the week before to help students get set up.

Questions and Help#

We highly recommend joining the relevent Slack Channel for this module. In this channel you can ask questions, get advice from previous teachers and discuss lesson content.


For general Syllabus feedback and help you can post in cyf-syllabus



Notes for mentors#

  • Components - talk about the conceptual idea components, not just React components
    • E.g. bootstrap components
  • Why React?
    • Updating the DOM is potentially buggy, verbose, slow
    • In complex web apps (like Facebook), updating the DOM is common
    • React solves a lot of those problems
  • Thinking in React exercise - useful to print out the screenshot, so they can draw on it
  • Rendering in React section
    • Build towards component usage from vanilla DOM
    • This hopefully reduces the "magic" that React is
    • Although don't spend too much time on it - the student's don't know about other frameworks, and so don't really care about other approaches
    • Also useful to identify why the React api is improved over the vanilla DOM apis
  • JSX section
    • Open the Babel REPL - demonstrate that there isn't any magic in JSX
    • Just React.createElement calls with syntax sugar
  • Installing Create-React-App
    • This should be set as homework ahead of the lesson
      • Saves time waiting for everyone to install
      • Also saves CPU cycles on slower computers, which may affect video calls
    • CRA can consume a lot of resources (especially on older laptops) so emphasize stopping/starting
    • This is the first time that students will have encountered a file watcher/daemon background process
      • So take some time to demonstrate how to start and stop the app
      • Recommend that students with slower computers stop the app when they are not using it
  • Installing stop-runaway-react-effects
    • A package to prevent accidental infinite useEffect loops
    • It must be imported before the react import so that useEffect can be monkey-patched
    • Package docs
  • React components section
    • Originally this was written with class components first
      • However, students went home and googled and saw alternative syntaxes
      • This is a common theme in this first lesson - have to teach some stuff that is perhaps unnecessary just so that they're prepared when they see it at home
  • Making an argument for props section - Relate to a situation in real life, something like: imagine what our boss might ask for with this small application. What could our boss ask for which would mean we would have to make changes to the code?
  • Exercises
    • Written to be quite step-by-step deliberately
      • Some students were distracted by the wording and not getting to the useful part of the exercise
      • This is a tricky balance though - now some students will be distracted by the wordy-ness of the exercises. Feedback welcome
    • Exercises in lessons 2 & 3 depend on the completing the exercises in lesson 1
      • So ensure students have completed most of them before moving on
      • We may want to introduce a way of "catching them up" - have tagged "checkpoints" on a git repo?
  • Interactive examples
    • All of the examples should have an associated CodeSandbox with identical code
    • This is so that you can change the example to help demonstrate if necessary
      • I have found this very useful in the past, especially when answering questions like "what happens if you do X?"
      • You can type up exactly what they're asking about and demo it
    • Props section
      • Makes a common analogy of "props as arguments" to a function
      • Students often get tripped on up on the props argument to a functional component
        • They tend to forget to add it to the function signature
        • Or they think that each prop is given as a separate argument
    • The first class may be a little short. But not short enough to start getting into state
      • If you have extra time, PropTypes/defaultProps might be worth covering
      • There is a Further Reading section at the very end of lesson 2 about this

Interactive Example Index#

Exercise solutions#