More CS50 Courses on edX
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 06 July 2018

HarvardX has released three new self-paced courses that follow on from David Malan's highly acclaimed Introduction to Computer Science MOOC, CS50x. Free on edX, they cover web programming, mobile app development, and game development respectively.


These courses each last 12 or 13 weeks assuming 6-9 hours per week, although as they are self-paced this is just a guideline. They all pick up where CS50 leaves off and so assume you are familiar with its contents and have a certain level of competence. 

If you've not done this Harvard entry-level Computer Science course, aimed at students without prior programming experience, either on campus at Harvard on in its online version CS50x on edX, you can still join these follow-ons but you would be missing a treat - a 12-weeks course in which David J. Malan teaches students how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently. As one of edX's courses it is free of charge, but a Verified Certificate will cost $100 USD. For those who want a complete computer science education for little or no cost it is worth noting that this is included as the first course in the OSS University - A Free Computer Science Degree Curriculum.

It is Malan's teaching style that has made CS50 the most popular course at Harvard attracting record numbers of both majors and minors, see Students Flocking to Computer Science and the edX course combines videos of his in-person lectures and assignments that use the edX autograder. It was one of the original courses offered by edX in 2012 and when it debuted it was described as a:

demanding but doable introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming.



As the course blurb still states:

Topics include abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development. Languages include C, Python, SQL, and JavaScript plus CSS and HTML. Problem sets inspired by real-world domains of biology, cryptography, finance, forensics, and gaming.

The version currently available is CS50x 2018 and, as the trailer below indicates, it has undergone some changes - such as starting with the graphical programming language Scratch, then transitioning to C as a no-frills text-based language and then to Python, which in combination with HTML and CSS will be used for web programming. Music has been added as one of the real-world domains for problem sets. The final project, which is where you get to combine your own ideas and creativity with what you've learned is also emphasized as being the yardstick against which you can gauge your own progress.



CS50x had already led to three audience-specific courses. One of them CS50's AP® Computer Science Principles is a version of the original course which satisfies the AP CS Principles curriculum framework recently introduced by the College Board. However, it is currently unavailable.

The other two, which are self paced and nominally 6 weeks in length, are available for free, although a verified certificate will cost $90 USD. Both are taught by David Malan.


CS50's Understanding Technology is designed for those who work with technology every day but don’t necessarily understand how it all works underneath the hood or how to solve problems when something goes wrong. Through lectures on hardware, the Internet, multimedia, security, programming, and web development, it empowers you to use and troubleshoot technology more effectively, equipping you for today’s technology and preparing you for tomorrow’s as well.

As its title suggest, CS50's Computer Science for Business Professionals is for managers, product managers, founders, and decision-makers more generally. Its blurb states:

Whereas CS50 itself takes a bottom-up approach, emphasizing mastery of low-level concepts and implementation details thereof, this course takes a top-down approach, emphasizing mastery of high-level concepts and design decisions related thereto. Through lectures on computational thinking, programming languages, internet technologies, web development, technology stacks, and cloud computing, this course empowers you to make technological decisions even if not a technologist yourself. You’ll emerge from this course with first-hand appreciation of how it all works and all the more confident in the factors that should guide your decision-making.


Turning to the new sequels, only available since the start of July 2018, the first is CS50's Web Programming with Python and JavaScript, which dives more deeply into the design and implementation of web apps with Python, JavaScript, and SQL using frameworks like Flask, Django, and Bootstrap. It consists of 12 lectures and 5 projects Brian Yu, its lead instructor explains what to expect in this video: 


CS50's Introduction to Game Development, in which you explore the design of games such as Super Mario Bros., Pokémon, Angry Birds, and more to learn about the development of 2D and 3D interactive games, consists of 12 lectures and 11 assignments with Colton Ogden as lead instructor: 


CS50's Mobile App Development with React Native transitions from web development to mobile app development with React Native, a popular framework maintained by Facebook that enables cross-platform native apps using JavaScript without Java or Swift. Over the course of 13 lectures and 4 projects it introduces you to modern JavaScript (including ES6 and ES7) as well as to JSX, a JavaScript extension. You'll gain hand-on experience with React and its paradigms, app architecture, and user interfaces. The course culminates in a final project for which you'll implement an app entirely of your own design, as its lead instructor Jordan Hayashi explains: 


Now they are available I imagine these courses will be added to the OSS Curriculum, which is maintained on GitHub and is currently at version 8.0.0, as they tick all the boxes of being free, high-quality, university level courses.  


More Information

CS50x Introduction to Computer Science on edX

CS50's AP® Computer Science Principles

CS50's Understanding Technology

CS50's Computer Science for Business Professionals 

CS50's Web Programming with Python and JavaScript
CS50's Introduction to Game Development

CS50's Mobile App Development with React Native

Related Articles

OSS University - A Free Computer Science Degree Curriculum

Students Flocking to Computer Science

Back To School - September CS MOOCs


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 07 July 2018 )