Making Our Part-Time Program More Flexible

News & Announcements
Written by:
App Academy
Published on:
July 8, 2024

Learn about the recent exciting changes we've rolled out to make App Academy's Part-Time program more flexible for learners.

We are thrilled to announce significant updates to our Part-Time Program. 

This has been nearly two years in the making, and today we're ecstatic to share our plan that will make the Part-Time Program a truly flexible program.

But first, for this announcement to make sense, let's take a look at the past and present before talking about the exciting future of the Part-Time Program.

History of the Part-Time Program

The Part-Time Program was offered as a flexible alternative to App Academy's flagship Full-Time Program, which requires a six-month, full-time commitment. Many learners interested in our coding bootcamp could not fit that into their busy lives: income, family, jobs, and relationships all had to be put on hold to budget the time required for the Full-Time Program.

Because of this, App Academy wanted to offer a way to make our program more inclusive and provide an opportunity for professionals to make the leap into Web Development without having to make the sacrifices required for the Full-Time program. This ultimately led to our program today: the 48-Week Online Part-Time Program.

The Present State of The Program

While the Part-Time Program has provided more opportunities to a greater number of learners, it has not yet achieved the true flexibility we envisioned. The current program features an inflexible attendance policy, strict assessment deadlines, and limited support outside of class hours, which have necessitated significant sacrifices from our learners over the course of 48 weeks. That said, today marks the beginning of a new era for the Part-Time Program, providing improved flexibility for all of our learners.

The (not-so-distant) Future: A Truly Flexible Program

Starting July 8th, we are rolling out updates to our Part-Time Program that will allow you to learn on your schedule without sacrificing your weekends or personal commitments. Here’s what’s new:

  1. Flexible Attendance: Daily 3-hour sessions are replaced with concise, focused daily lectures available at multiple times.
  2. Weekend Freedom: Mandatory Saturday classes are removed, giving you your weekends back.
  3. Enhanced Support: Increased instructional support throughout the week, get help when you need it and not be limited to a 3-hour window.
  4. Revamped Assessment Process: Stress-free assessments with unlimited attempts, available from Friday to Monday, ensuring you can take the assessment at a time that works for you.
  5. Provide a Seamless Transition for In-Flight Cohorts: Our existing learners will not need to change their schedules. If you're already an App Academy learner, you won't even need to change your calendar, but now you have the ability to learn at the times that work best for you.
  6. Still Provide Industry-Leading Bootcamp Education Experience: These changes won't come at the cost of the education we provide. We've built a reputable brand over the years and we intend to maintain our status as a leader in the industry.

Breaking This Down

Flexible Attendance

Although the Part-Time Program was meant to be the flexible alternative to the 24-week program, we have fallen short in our mission. After years of feedback and planning, we have created a new structure we believe will provide our learners with the flexibility we originally intended.

Beginning on July 8th, we will no longer require daily 3-hour attendance for EST and PST. Instead, learners will only be required to attend a 1-hour daily lecture that will be concise and focused. These daily lectures will be offered twice per day for every cohort, and the learner can choose the time that works best for them.  These lectures will be identical so you can attend whichever time works best for you!

We've also ensured these lectures fit within existing EST and PST times.

Here's a quick visual of the new flexible schedule. 🎉

Better, More Available Staff Support

Our original structure for staff support was rigid and didn't match the times learners need support. Beginning on July 8th, we will implement a new staff support system that allows learners to find the times that work best for them. You'll still have the MA and Instructor support you know and love, but you'll now be receiving more of it!

If you're further along in the program, you've experienced weeks when you'll rely more heavily on staff than others. We've noticed this, too.

After tracking over two years of data and engagement, we've created a system that ensures learners are covered throughout the entire curriculum while maximizing support during the most critical points that have higher question volumes.

We believe this will cut down on time spent waiting for help across the board. If you're concerned that you might lose support, don't be! We've already been doing this behind the scenes as a team; it just makes sense. The only difference is that now our staff is backed with better systems and communication lines to ensure we can move our incredible instructors and MAs to cohorts that are experiencing longer wait times or working through tougher parts of the curriculum (DSA and Project Weeks, we're looking at you!).

Improving the Assessment Process

The current assessment process isn’t the best fit for the Part-Time program. We believe it creates an unnecessarily stressful experience and is not always a great indicator of a learner's mastery of the content. For example, we've heard countless times from learners that "if I only had a few more minutes I would've passed" or "I only deferred by 1 point because I just blanked on one concept and ran out of time.".

We've heard your feedback and agree that this shouldn't be the case. So, we're making it better.

Beginning on July 8th:

  1. Assessments will be released first thing Friday morning.
  2. Assessments are due at 11:59pm PST on Sunday.
  3. Learners now have unlimited attempts.
  4. Completion requirements will remain at 80%.

In the past, we administered assessments at a fixed time on Mondays. This has resulted in an unnecessary burden for our learners, forcing them to defer in situations where maybe they were running late from work, had an important meeting, or had a family obligation.

Learners are allowed unlimited attempts to take the assessment over the course of 3 days. This will eliminate deferrals where you might've just been having a bad day. Furthermore, it will allow learners the flexibility to complete assessments at times that work best for them.

Give Learners Back Their Weekends

Beginning the week of July 8th, we are shifting away from the mandatory Saturday class. Our Saturday class has required learners to sacrifice half of their weekend for an entire year. Moreover, attendance is required twice on Saturdays, which means learners can end up receiving 2 strikes simply because they were unable to attend on Saturday.

Now, we’re giving learners back their Saturday so they can truly decide the times to study that work for them.

Don't worry: you're not losing any class time. We've now added Friday class which allows us to align our program with normal business hours. You work Monday - Friday, you should get the weekends to yourself. We believe in this approach and believe it offers massive flexibility for our learners to not have to sacrifice their extracurriculars for an entire year.

Continue to Provide Industry-Leading Bootcamp Education Experience

These changes do not come with any modifications to the existing curriculum. You're still getting the exact same education you signed up for, but now with additional flexibility and instructional support.

This structure also allows our team more time to focus on improving our curriculum, allowing us to update stale concepts and remain on the bleeding-edge of technologies and paradigms in software engineering.

Provide a Seamless Transition for In-Flight Cohorts

When developing our flexible architecture, existing cohorts were at the forefront of our decision-making process. We needed to ensure that these improvements would not result in current learners being put at a disadvantage. Thus, we are happy to announce that daily lectures will still be provided within existing time slots:

  1. Lecture Option 1: 8-9pm EST
  2. Lecture Option 2: 10-11pm EST

So if you were an EST learner attending from 6pm to 9pm EST, you'll still be able to attend lectures during this time. Similarly, if you were a PST learner attending from 7pm PST to 10pm PST, you'll still be able to attend at this time.  These lectures will be identical so you can attend whichever time works best for you!

What we've added is the ability for you to choose the lecture time slot, and the hours you want to work through practices and the content for the day. All cohorts now have open class times from 5:30pm EST until 12:30am EST.

This means we're increasing the amount of time that learners will have access to staff support from 3 hours per day to 7 hours per day, 5 days a week, totaling the ability to receive a whopping additional 20 hours per week of support at NO COST 🤯

So: What's The Catch?

No catch: The truth is the only thing we're removing is a rigid, inflexible schedule and daily mandatory pairing.

That said, we're not naive, the strict time and strike requirements were originally part of the program for a reason. This bootcamp is tough and requires learners to commit to working through the content many hours a week. The largest indicator of a learner who won't succeed is a lack of commitment to the program.

So while we are giving everyone increased flexibility, we are still most closely aligned with the success of our learners. Remember, App Academy is only able to succeed when you succeed. Therefore, as part of this improvement, we are introducing study halls to ensure learners receive focused support.

Hyper-Focused Learner Support

We have all types of learners in our program; some who are software developers already, some who have just used a web browser, and everything in between. We believe every single person can be successful in our program, but this also means that every learner might need a different level of support and training.

The way we're aiming to ensure every learner receives the correct amount of support is as follows:

  1. Every learner still receives the same quality staff support, but now with increased availability and increased flexibility.
  2. Learners that are struggling will be added to an additional support pipeline where they'll receive focused support from our staff until we're sure they're set for success, and on track with their peers.

The way we measure whether a learner is on track for success is through our assessments. In the past, when a learner deferred, they would receive an email with Remastery work, and then be on their own until they restart class in a month. We recognize this system has failed our learners which is why it's being entirely revamped.

Starting on July 8th, if you fail an assessment, you will now be added to our success pipeline. This means you'll meet directly with staff to go over the concepts you missed on the assessment. We'll follow that up with targeted office hours where small pods will receive focused coverage from staff.

The only thing we require from learners in the Study Halls is to attend these focused office hours for 1 hour per day in addition to daily lectures. This requirement is intended to provide structure for learners who may be struggling with the new flexible structure, and ensure we're able to provide the support needed for their success.

Additional Improvements

Lecture Recording Policy

Our policy on providing lecture recordings has varied over the years, alternating between providing all recordings and offering none. In our commitment to enhancing flexibility, we're aligning our lecture recording policy to better support a truly flexible program.

  • Starting July 8th, learners will have access to all lecture recordings with transcriptions. 🎉

This means that if you're unable to attend a live lecture or need to review the material on a different day, you can access the recordings as soon as the classes conclude. We're also providing transcriptions because we recognize that you might not always be in a position to watch and listen to a recording.

Now you'll be able to read through a lecture at your convenience. We're extremely excited about this change! 🚀

Flex Days are Here to Stay

For all fans of Flex Days: we have good news — they're not going anywhere 🙌

  • Learners will continue to be allocated one Flex Day per week to use at their discretion.

Our Flex Day policy has provided some level of flexibility for our learners. With our new structure, Flex Days will integrate even more seamlessly with our program. For example, instead of missing an entire Saturday, you can now use a Flex Day to skip a day's live lecture, but with access to the lecture recording and the opportunity to receive 7 hours of support the next day, you can fully catch up without falling behind. Also, we recognize that learners signed up with the intention to work on Saturdays, so if Friday doesn't work, you can flex 💪

When Do We Move to the Flexible Schedule

Beginning on July 8th, all cohorts will start being flexible. You'll be receiving initial communications directly from your instructor, they'll be able to answer any question you might have ✅.

We will communicate every step of the way to ensure you're where you need to be at the right time. This means, there will not be any strikes issued for attendance AND a deferral will not count against your 3 deferral limit for the first two weeks so that everyone can have ample time to adjust to the new flexible system.

Closing Thoughts

We are extremely excited about making our Part-Time program a truly flexible program. This has been years in the making, and we're proud to have developed a system to empower our learners to succeed, without the cost of sacrificing a year to a rigid system.

We think our learners will thrive in this environment, and we hope to provide the flexibility originally envisioned when we created the Part-Time Program.

– Will Duffy & Zaviar Brown -- Part Time Program Leads


Special thanks to all MAs and Instructors in the Part Time Program for their collaboration, insights, and feedback. Additional thanks to our leadership for enabling us to transition to a flexible program.

And, thank you to all present learners and the graduates of the Part Time Program. Your commitment to our program and feedback throughout the years has allowed us to continually improve and provide the best experience possible. We look forward to many more years to come as software development continues to grow, and gets more exciting each day.

Click here to learn more about App Academy’s Part-Time program.


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