Beginner's Courses On edX Starting Now
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 29 April 2015

edX has new courses starting this week that will be of interest to those who don't have any background in programming. Both are introductory level classes in computer science aimed at complete beginners, but they go in different directions.

Think. Create. Code is the title of a 6-week course from the University of Adelaide that starts on April 30th. As this introductory video explains its approach is:

learning to code through the creation of artistic images and animations, resulting in your own online gallery. 

 

 

The emphasis is on computational thinking skills as well as on introductory programming concepts, such as sequencing, iteration and selection. Coding is done with ProcessingJS, which can be thought of as Processing in the browser. The Processing language in turn can be thought of as simplified Java, with a simplified Java API for drawing and graphics. In this course students will learn how to create art and basic animations with ProcessingJS while at the same time establishing a foundation for further study of computer science or other programming languages.

The course has a time commitment of 2-3 hours per week. Assessment is a combination of quizzes covering the content of the lectures and peer assessed assignments. Students are also expected to engage in discussion activities. You can take the course for free, but If you want a verified certificate the cost is $50. 

If you are looking to learn a more traditional programming language, Introduction to Programming with Java - Part 1 from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid started on April 28th. It is being taught in English and has video transcripts in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. The entire course consists of three 5-week parts, with a workload of 5-7 hours per week.

Part 1 introduces programming on the basis of familiar concepts, like calculators and games. In a gentle way, it introduces to powerful concepts like functional abstraction and object encapsulation.

Part 2 will focus on how to write “good” programs, where “good” is to be understood from several perspectives: correctness, efficiency, software engineering techniques, and ethics.

Part 3 will deal with fundamental data structures, such as sequences, and algorithms on them, such as searching and sorting.

As explained in the video, the course is designed to lower the barrier to entry to computer science and emphasis is put on immediate feedback and on having a fun experience:

This course has been designed taking into account the subset and recommendations of the College Board in order to prepare learners for the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A exam and Verified Certificates cost only $25.

 

More Information

edX

Think. Create. Code

Processing.js

Introduction to Programming with Java - Part 1

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 April 2015 )