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Georgia Institute of Technology

Computing in Python II: Control Structures

Georgia Institute of Technology via edX


Building on your prior knowledge of variables and operators, this course gets into the meat of programming. Organized into five chapters, this course starts by covering the fundamentals of what control structures are and what they do, then moves on to four common control structures in Python. Conditionals let you modify what your program does based on the values of incoming variables. Loops let you repeat tasks for multiple values or while certain conditions hold true. Functions let you encapsulate complex reasoning into reusable chunks of code. Error handling lets you intelligently recover from anticipated and unanticipated glitches.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to write complex programs in Python that perform useful reasoning. For example, you could write a program that calculates your weight on other planets, calculates the standard deviation of a series of numbers, or checks for the validity of an incoming password.

Structurally, the course is comprised of several parts. Instruction is delivered via a series of short (2-3 minute) videos. In between those videos, you'll complete both multiple choice questions and coding problems to demonstrate your knowledge of the material that was just covered.


Chapter 1: Control Structures. The basic role of control structures in general: lines of code that control other lines of code, determining when they execute.

Chapter 2: Conditionals. Building complex reasoning into our code by letting it make decisions based on the changing values of variables, like recommending a raincoat if it's going to rain or issuing a passing grade if a student's average is over 70.

Chapter 3. Loops. Building even more complex reasoning with for loops and while loops, both of which repeat certain lines of code over and over for every value in a list or while some condition is true.

Chapter 4. Functions. Encapsulating blocks of code into reusable functions that can be called as needed, including specifying their input and dictating their output.

Chapter 5. Error Handling. Reacting gracefully when anticipated or unanticipated errors occur during your program's execution.

Taught by

David Joyner


4.9 rating, based on 53 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Computing in Python II: Control Structures

  • Wim Leys completed this course, spending 35 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    I have programmed - without taking any course - in Python 2.x more than 10 years ago (and I forgot most of it). I am interested in data science and was looking for a Python course as a first step up. I was also looking at an introductory programming course...
  • Anonymous
    This was my first official course for Python. I had taken some Udemy classes prior to this in preparation for a Post Graduate Certificate/Masters in Data Analytics. In the beginning I found the course informative, but as I get into part 3 of the 4 part...
  • Anonymous
    Overall, a good and challenging course. A good combination of videos, sample problems, and section tests. In a few cases, the references to sample problem numbers are not correct because, it appears, sample problems have been added and/or deleted without updating their internal references. The timed test was very challenging given the two-hour limit to complete it. I still had five coding problems to complete when my time expired. Still, a good test of all of the skills and techniques taught during the entire course.
  • Anonymous
    I would give you 6 stars there was such an option. This course is so well organized and easy to follow and the practice problems are very helpful too. Thank you and I appreciate your effort for making such a great course available online!
  • Anonymous
    I have been coding in Matlab for 10 years now, mostly as (under-) graduate research assistant and while pursuing a PhD in Chemical engineering. However I have never taken a formal computation course. I am fairly familiar with most topics covered in this...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    It is a great course that build's the foundations for programming, I really appreciate Professor David’s way of breaking down concepts to be easily digested.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    TL;DR: Great introductory course for learning coding fundamentals using Python. Detailed: I do not have a frame of reference for what a course on coding/computing should be like. However, as someone who has spent hours crying (literally) because of...
  • Michael
    Great instructor, and a great course! That being said, expect to spend significantly more time studying and preparing for the final exam in this course, Computing in Python II, than you did for Computing in Python I.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course does just about everything right. Sections are broken up into small, easy-to-tackle segments. Videos are short and concise, the explanations given are easy to understand, and the text book is always available for those that prefer to read...
  • Anonymous
    I absolutely recommend this series of courses for anyone interested in coding or wanting to move into data analytics that doesn't have a computer science background! I'd even recommend it to those with a computer science background but wanting to learn python. This is by far my favorite coding course I've taken so far. The readings, videos, and graded homework SERIOUSLY helped me fully understand elements of python that make me feel like a real coder. I am so so happy with this class and am excited to start Part 3!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course is the best introductory computing course I have ever attended (both on-line and "in person").
    The lecturer describes the basic concepts of computing in clear and concise manner. If you are a complete newby to the programming, you should start here. If you have some experience with other languages this course is a good way to brush up on your general computing knowledge.
    The rate of the course is optimal. If an additional Python knowledge is needed to resolve the problem, it is disclosed by the lecturer (no need to search through entire Internet to find this one particular function that you need to finish this basic task).
    Definately worth trying.

  • Profile image for E01203480-SUTHAKAR R MCA
    E01203480-SUTHAKAR R MCA
    Wim Leys completed this course, spending 35 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    I have programmed - without taking any course - in Python 2.x more than 10 years ago (and I forgot most of it). I am interested in data science and was looking for a Python course as a first step up. I was also looking at an introductory programming course suitable for my kids; Python is perfect for that.
  • Anonymous
    This course has been really awesome! I've been learning so much about python since I started a few months ago. I just finished this one, the second course, and am really excited to start the third. The videos are short and to the point, the problems difficult but at a level that is doable, and everything is taught to build upon the next in a way that makes it really easy to learn. Thank you!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Engaging, encouraging and extremely well executed course.

    One of the best ever Moocs and by far the best Intro to computing w/python course you will ever find.

    But in no way, it's easy esp. for beginners, needs a lot of effort and a lot of self doubting days!

    A bit disappointed with edx policies in restricting access.
    It's both a boon and a bane. It helps be disciplined and complete the course within time limit.
    But if something comes up in between, u can't finish.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course teaching Python.

    It does a very good job of starting right where "Computing in Python I: Fundamentals & Procedural Programming" finished to teach the student more programming . I started this course series with no experience in programming of any type. These courses make it seem almost intuitive and enjoyable.

    Thank you Georgia Tech!
  • Anonymous
    I have attempted to learn coding a few times. With Youtube videos it often felt overwhelming, and with other courses it was assumed i understood levels of mathematics i have not yet learned. This course is well paced with plenty of practice to keep you occupied and moving along in it. I very much look forward to completing the last 2 sections!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I have taken the first course in this series (Python 1), and i have now just completed Computing in Python II: Control Structures.

    It has been an absolute joy taking these courses and they have far exceeded my expectations. The sheer amount of practice problems, auto-graded assignments, and the Smartbook is what made this course great for me. And i must add, I took the free version. If you've taken free classes before, you may have noted that the selection of problem sets are generally restricted unless you pay. This is not the case with Georgia Tech.

    David Joyner does an amazing job at articulating things from different points of view. I cannot recommend these series of courses enough. TOP NOTCH!
  • Anonymous
    I greatly enjoyed this class and would highly recommend it. The teaching was very in depth and even though I had already taken other classes that covered this material, it was great to practice the challenging problems in this course. The class is very accessible and flexible to go at your own pace.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I found the CS1301xII course to be well organized, the lectures are well presented and succinct, and problem sets are extensive and detail common mistakes and nuances. This is an excellent primer into Python concerning if/then/else statements, for and while loops, and error catching with try/except/else/finally blocks. The math required is basic arithmetic. David Joyner seems like a professor to follow.
  • Anonymous
    This course is amazing. Very systematic and thorough. It also provides plenty of exercise problems for you to gain a sufficiently deep understanding and proficiency of what you've learned. I would totally stick with it to improve my programming.

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