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Margaret Murphy

Margaret Murphy

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An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 2)

Written 3 years ago
This 5-week course on Coursera is BRILLIANT! The whole course is 9-weeks long and done in two parts in succession (this one, Part 1 is 5 weeks, then Part 2 is 4 weeks). Do both! It is well structured with excellent videos, quizzes, practice exercises and mini-projects. You can go from knowing nothing about Python to building some simple, fun games (in guided steps), including mini-projects to build simple versions of Pong, Blackjack, and Asteroids. Courses are graded in these Rice courses by you grading five of your peers' mini-projects and then you grade your own - might seem odd at first, but it works OK. Your coding is done in a browser-based programming environment called CodeSkulptor (www.codeskulptor.org) developed by one of the Professors that teaches the course. The course material is released weekly, that way you don't try and race ahead -- not that most people taking this course really could race ahead, especially when trying to get the programming assignments in on time anyway. Yes, at times I was tearing my hair out, screaming at the screen like that'd get my code to work -- but there are "programming tips" and the course discussions forums to help with that, with a lot of input from the Community Teaching Assistants, as well as a "code clinic" (for really sick code) and good documentation in CodeSkulptor. Rice's IIPP is the best MOOC I have taken to date. The Professors who teach (created) this course deserve awards -- they are truly second to none. Not all MOOCs have such engaging personalities as these teaching them. I learned so much from this course and every moment was a blast, especially clearing my local neighbourhood of asteroids at the end, but I still also have fond memories of the simple console version of Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock we created right at the start of the course. I was really quite sad when I completed the course as there were no more mini-projects to tackle!!! I plan to take all of the other courses in this Rice computing specialization as they become available.
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