The only thing that matters is that students aim towards the goals described at explain how to make money with the lesson.
Any "homework for which the student cannot use existing resources available online" is a waste of time.
The ideal way to go about it is to reach some intermediate milestone, and then document it. You don't have to do the hole thing! Just go until your patience with it runs out. But while you are doing it, go as deep and wide as you possibly can, without mercy.
The projects you do must always aim to achieving some novel result.
You don't have to necessarily reach it. But you must aim for it.
Novel result can be taken broadly.
E.g., a new tutorial that explains something in a way never done before is novel.
But there must be something to your project that has never been done before.
You can start by reproducing other's work.
The thing about projects is that they are illiquid: it is not easy to immediately compare them.
And that is the whole point.
The outcome of that however is that you have to learn how to explain what you've achieved to others and why it is awesome.
Just like in the real world.
You have to create portfolio, and do some public relations.

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