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Juneau Lim
Juneau Lim

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Review of GTx: CS1301x Introduction to Computing using Python

This review has been originally written Jan/2018.
I am really glad I took this course. It covers more in terms of data type and functions compared to what I learned in my college.

Introduction to Computing using Python

After I finished Nand2Tetris part I, I really needed to do some real coding with a real language. I was having a hard time where to start first. I tried some method such as CodeAcademy and KahnAcademy, but the fact that I have no idea what parenthesis or colon actually means kept annoying me and it almost drove me crazy. I understand why everyone says I don't need to understand everything I use at the beginning. Though it's just the way I am. Do I have a mental issue? Well, presumably...

So, this was the one I choose. I have no doubt that there are many other great programs out there, but some courses warn me it could be hard if I have no knowledge about programming(despite the fact that the titles were including the word "introduction"), while some other courses didn't let me start right off. This was the one that I could dive in at that moment, made for "absolute beginner", and the course syllabus also seemed promising: covering the basic concepts of general computing.

It consists of five units - Computing, Procedural programming(variables/operators), Control structures(conditionals/loops/functions/errors), Data structures, and Objects&Algorithms. The tempo could be seemed rather slow since the lecture lecturer(David Joyner from Georgia Tech) is certainly pointing out for every aspect of individual concepts throughout the course - once for computing in general, and once again for the specific language - Python. However, I never get bored at any corner. There are tons of mini exercises and programming examples using an indented system named Vocareum, so you don't need to install any other software. every required environment is provided on the course web page, including your textbook via SmartBook by McGraw-Hill. Though it would be even better if the seamless learning system was also available on mobile. edX application does not support those materials, and there was a login issue with Vocareum even on the web browser. I left a question on the course discussion board but couldn't get the answer. There are also some minor typos and bugs on the course itself, including the questions and the grading system. I highly recommend to anyone who is so sure about their codes but still couldn't get the pass sign to go to the forum and to see if there was any reported glitch from the others.

Now I feel confident and would move up to some practical coding lessons and additional computational thinking courses. It's just the start of my learning and this program helps me to build a firm basis.

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