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Online Course

Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python

All-Time Top 100

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX

(125)
  • Provider edX
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session In progress
  • Language English
  • Effort 14-16 hours a week
  • Duration 9 weeks long
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Overview

This course is the first of a two-course sequence: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python, and Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science. Together, they are designed to help people with no prior exposure to computer science or programming learn to think computationally and write programs to tackle useful problems. Some of the people taking the two courses will use them as a stepping stone to more advanced computer science courses, but for many it will be their first and last computer science courses. This run features lecture videos, lecture exercises, and problem sets using Python 3.5. Even if you previously took the course with Python 2.7, you will be able to easily transition to Python 3.5 in future courses, or enroll now to refresh your learning.

Since these courses may be the only formal computer science courses many of the students take, we have chosen to focus on breadth rather than depth. The goal is to provide students with a brief introduction to many topics so they will have an idea of what is possible when they need to think about how to use computation to accomplish some goal later in their career. That said, they are not "computation appreciation" courses. They are challenging and rigorous courses in which the students spend a lot of time and effort learning to bend the computer to their will.

Taught by

Ana Bell, Eric Grimson and John Guttag

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Reviews for edX's Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python Based on 125 reviews

  • 5 stars 71%
  • 4 stars 18%
  • 3 stars 2%
  • 2 stars 4%
  • 1 stars 4%

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  • 1
Anonymous
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
The course moves very quickly and has required 20+ additional hours of work weekly beyond the instruction. The lectures are very contained in their scope, but the scope of the problems jumps far beyond the lecture and requires much unsupported research (really guessing, in many cases!). This problem...
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This is an excellent course that will teach you some Python, but more importantly will teach you algorithmic thinking and how to break down large problems into simpler ones. I came into it with some self-taught Python knowledge and found it challenging but manageable. Absolute beginners may want to first...
52 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
I'm taking this class as a refresher and as a way to dig into some sorting algorithms that I haven't used in awhile but if I was new to coding/python, I would find this class to be very confusing. The lectures aren't presented very clearly. The slides are disorganized, often times with the professor...
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Prose S
by Prose completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This is a well-crafted, fast-paced introduction to Computer Science, though a little dry at times. I think it's based on the introductory 'CS for non CS majors' course at MIT. The pace, relative complexity of some of the subject matter* and difficulty of a few of the exercises - I'm not a gifted programmer...
22 people found
this review helpful
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Nicole D
by Nicole completed this course, spending 12 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very hard.
I just finished this class. It was much harder and moved much quicker than any other MOOC I have taken. I learned a lot, but it was a lot more work than I had really anticipated. I am a complete novice with no programming experience, so perhaps that was my fault.

I did finish (just this second) and did get a good grade, but I put far more time and effort into the class than I had expected. Be prepared!

As an example the first 3 'week' projects are due 4 days apart (Thurs, Tue, Fri due dates) so the 'week' concept was a bit misleading. Again, I really enjoyed and learned a ton, but I hope others know their expectations.

Also a lot of the work is self taught. You need to go out and find the answer far more than expect the answer to be in the videos or exercises.
19 people found
this review helpful
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Ruilin Y
by Ruilin completed this course, spending 11 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
A life-changing MOOC. I take this MOOC aside from my work as a government clerk in China in 2016, which is very unsatisfactory. At that time, I was 24, graduated from an Econ & Business university, beaten by the humiliating experience of working in a rigorous hierarchy, and most relevant, never touched...
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Prahlad P
by Prahlad completed this course, spending 35 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Great course! But you have to work a lot, not get frustrated and be ready to think out of the box and get out of the comfort zone to solve the problems.

One of the things to take away from this course for me was that coding of complex programs is not done alone. Brainstorm with some one else if the approach you are taking to solve the problem is on the right track. Pseudocodes are important.

Another thing I learnt in this course is that they make you work hard on the Problem sets so that you are well prepared for the Finals. You may have difficulty winning the battle but you will win the war because you are well prepared for it.

At the end of it, it's real power when you tell the computer what you want it to do and it does that!
12 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This was probably the best introduction to computer programming I have ever seen. The professors are engaging and the lectures are short and to the point. Finger exercises between lectures really drive home the points that the professors were trying to make. The programming assignments were challenging enough to make you feel like you have accomplished something, but the specifications were generally enough to get you through it. The forums were invaluable to completing the assignments and were full of very bright students with excellent questions. The Midterms were very challenging, especially the first one. I liked how once the fundamentals of Python were covered, the focus moved to solving real world engineering problems, but I still feel that there is a lot more to learn about Python. I'd take another class from this MIT group in an instant.
9 people found
this review helpful
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Vicky P
by Vicky completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
The many practice quizzes are very useful and I could follow the first half of the course but when I encountered a problem with an exercise around the middle of the course I couldn't solve it and since I was too busy to find other help (e.g. books/resource persons), I was stuck and gone off track with the course schedule. So I had to drop this course. I'd recommend this course if you have someone around who already knows programming because as with other computer stuffs, sometimes a small thing can get you stuck and you can look at it a million times and still can't see where the problem lies.
8 people found
this review helpful
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Elvina V
by Elvina completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This course covers a lot of ground, so it may be demanding for a beginner. However, if you have some programming experience and just want to get all you knowledge into a system and learn some python it can be pretty manageable. Problems sets can be challenging, but not if you've solved similar problems in another language. So I recommend it to someone who has done at least a CodeAcademy course, so you wouldn't feel thrown into a deep end right away. Otherwise it's a great course. I personally enjoyed the instructor's sense of humour and barely contained enthusiasm for the subject.
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Dubravko G
by Dubravko completed this course, spending 15 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
Excellent introduction class for anyone wanted to learn Python either you are a beginner/student or a professional experienced engineer wanted to learn something new. The class is somewhat medium-to-hard to follow and requires quite an attention and regularity of attendance (it's an esteemed MIT after all) but presenters and authors MIT's Professors John V. Guttag, Eric Grimson and Ana Bell did an extraordinary job of making a learning curve as gentle and pleasant as humanly possible. Personally, to me it's the very Eric Grimson's teaching style which kept me going.
5 people found
this review helpful
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Aviaura A
by Aviaura is taking this course right now, spending 12 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very hard.
Okay, so for someone who has never coded, and wants to learn to program, you can safely assume this is the best course, yet the hardest out their. Even for someone who has programmed for a year or so, this course can be tough. So, if you are merely starting, don't feel belittled. This is a magnificent course, and even if you just complete it, without scoring good, trust me, you will take many things out of it for future. Will normally take around 12-15 hours a week, but if you are new might take long.
6 people found
this review helpful
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Doris S
by Doris completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
An excellent introduction to thinking computationally. I liked the instructor, and the exercises and problems sets largely struck a nice balance, being challenging but not discouraging. The midterm and final, though, I found very difficult.

The pacing of the class is also a little uneven: we lingered over the easier topics early on, but then sped through more demanding topics, such as object-oriented programming, toward the end of the course.
5 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I really enjoyed this course. Prof. Grimson's lectures were a pleasure to watch. I had very little programming experience (just Python for Informatics on Coursera), so I found this course to be difficult, but very rewarding. I took it concurrently with the Rice python course on Coursera, and I found that the two courses complemented each other very well, though it was hard to find time to complete all the assignments for both courses.
5 people found
this review helpful
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Giovanni V
by Giovanni completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
No bell and whistles, a classical approach and a wonderful professor, Eric Grimson.

One advice, especially for student whose English isn't mother tongue: if you find yourself in troubles with tests, go back to the video lessons. They are dense. When I found myself in troubles, I often taught that something has not been explained, but I had always had to admit that it was my fault, since I lowered my attention during the view.
5 people found
this review helpful
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Salvador A
Salvador completed this course, spending 12 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
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Luke D
Luke completed this course.
This is a very good course. I have tried a few intro to computing courses, and this is hands-down by far the best. It is the only online course I have completed thus far; I hope to take the subsequent courses by MITx in the future. The assignments are quite difficult. They took be some time, but I...
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Ryan L
Ryan completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
As a beginner to python, this course pushes me to the limit. Criticism first, as pointed out by different people, the professor made too many careless mistakes in explaining a concept, he also did some scribbles that somehow confused me even more (in a point of view of a python beginner). Lots of terms...
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Estefania C
Estefania completed this course, spending 12 hours a week on it.
There are no words to explain the amazing quality of MITx courses. When you take an MITx course you are guaranteed to have an MIT-level education. If you are looking for a CS course that provides a rigorous, challenging and very rewarding MIT-level introduction to this field, you are in the right place....
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This course has been my best online 'tutorial'. Instructor approaches teaching from 'first principle' and for me that is the way to go. I was able to grasp the fundamentals of programming on the fly. I entered the course with the aim of getting first hand education on python programming to enable me write scripts for digital design as an architect but I chanced upon a requisite knowledge I never earlier imagined. Each lesson was modest in design, well defined in specific objective, and understandable information. It covered a wide range of lessons needed for computer programming and would recommend it for anybody who wants to learn computer science.
4 people found
this review helpful
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  • 1

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