Hey readers,

Our move is this Friday, and my next Code Fellows class starts up the following Monday. So, I am calling last week and this week “spring break” for sanity’s sake. Back with more content next week if not sooner!

Meanwhile, I’m wrapping up “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python,” a MOOC that comes to a close on Tuesday after nine weeks. Even with some serious slacking/re-prioritization the last few weeks, I’ll complete the class with at least a 57%, which is a passing “C” grade. With a bit of effort into the final exam, I’m hoping to hit 65% for a “B.” And a great thing is that you get to keep access to the course after it ends, so I’ll be able to catch up on what I missed eventually (after all, this is about the learning and not the grade).

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All in all, this is a really great MOOC for people new to programing, and I would recommend it.  As I discovered, certain post-midterm subjects like complexity are best with in-person support, which I was lucky to get through my Code Fellows intro course. The lectures and pacing were easy to follow and well thought out — it’s clear this is not MIT’s first rodeo. Project assignments and finger exercises (questions you complete in-between the video lectures) were fun and challenging. I now feel well equipped to tackle any number of word puzzles and guessing games. Since it is unlikely that anyone will want to hire me to program hangman games (hey recruiters, come at me!), I’m at the stage where I know enough that there are probably real-world applications to what I can do, I just don’t know what they are yet.  (To the course’s credit, I think they do address this in lectures and videos I haven’t watched yet.)

This course is the first of a series of seven in “Foundations of Computer Science XSeries” offered by the M.I.T. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, described as: “a sequence of courses that introduce key concepts of computer science and computational thinking.” The sequel, Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science, started last week. If I can get my act together, I’ll actively participate this round. If not now, later.

I have also read good things about Harvard’s CS50: Introduction to Computer Science. That class is also on edx.org but is self-paced, no start or end dates, no “live” participation.

And it’s worth reiterating that these classes are all free — you can pay for a completion certificate, but I’m not convinced that’s needed. If you get value from the classes, though, give them some money — edx.org is a non-profit and I am sure they would appreciate the support.

Last, I took this class with my mom for the first half (before she was like “eff these ‘logs’ I’ll be over here learning about Shakespeare”) and that was pretty fun, so get your friends and family on board!

How mom feels about recursive programing, open Facebook class “support” groups, and logarithms.

I need to update The Plan to reflect January/February progress and what lies ahead, and I will do that… after spring break 😉