An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1)

About this course: This two-part course is designed to help students with very little or no computing background learn the basics of building simple interactive applications. Our language of choice, Python, is an easy-to learn, high-level computer language that is used in many of the computational courses offered on Coursera. To make learning Python easy, we have developed a new browser-based programming environment that makes developing interactive applications in Python simple. These applications will involve windows whose contents are graphical and respond to buttons, the keyboard and the mouse. In part 1 of this course, we will introduce the basic elements of programming (such as expressions, conditionals, and functions) and then use these elements to create simple interactive applications such as a digital stopwatch. Part 1 of this class will culminate in building a version of the classic arcade game "Pong".

Who is this class for: Recommended Background - A knowledge of high school mathematics is required. The class is designed for students with no prior programming experience.

Created by:   Rice University

  • John Greiner
    Taught by:    John Greiner, Lecturer
    Department of Computer Science

  • Stephen Wong
    Taught by:    Stephen Wong, Lecturer
    Computer Science

  • Scott Rixner
    Taught by:    Scott Rixner, Professor
    Computer Science

  • Joe Warren
    Taught by:    Joe Warren, Professor
    Computer Science
Basic Info
Commitment5 weeks of study, 7-10 hours/week
EnglishSubtitles: Italian, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified)
How To PassPass all graded assignments to complete the course.
User Ratings
Average User Rating 4.8See what learners said
Week 0 - Statements, expressions, variables
Understand the structure of this class, explore Python as a calculator 
6 videos4 readings
  1. Video: Introduction
  2. Video: CodeSkulptor
  3. Video: Arithmetic Expressions
  4. Reading: Practice Exercises for Expressions (optional)
  5. Video: Variables
  6. Video: Saving in CodeSkulptor
  7. Reading: Practice Exercises for Variables and Assignments (optional)
  8. Video: Mini-project Video
  9. Reading: Mini-project Description
  10. Reading: Code Clinic Tips
  11. Peer Review: "We want... a shrubbery!"
Graded: Quiz 0
Week 1 - Functions, logic, conditionals
Learn the basic constructs of Python programming, create a program that plays a variant of Rock-Paper-Scissors 
7 videos5 readings
  1. Video: Functions
  2. Video: Visualizing Functions
  3. Video: More Operations
  4. Reading: Practice Exercises for Functions (optional)
  5. Video: Logic and Comparisons
  6. Video: Conditionals
  7. Video: Programming Tips - 1
  8. Reading: Practice Exercises for Logic and Conditionals (optional)
  9. Video: Mini-project Video
  10. Reading: Mini-project Description
  11. Reading: Practice Mini-project: Mystical Octosphere (optional)
  12. Reading: Code Clinic Tips
Graded: Quiz 1
Graded: Rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock
Week 2 - Event-driven programming, local/global variables
Learn the basics of event-driven programming, understand difference between local and global variables, create an interactive program that plays a simple guessing game 
8 videos5 readings
  1. Video: Event-Driven Programming
  2. Video: Local vs. Global Variables
  3. Video: SimpleGUI
  4. Reading: Practice Exercises for Interactive Applications (optional)
  5. Video: Buttons
  6. Video: Input Fields
  7. Video: Visualizing Events
  8. Video: Programming Tips - 2
  9. Reading: Practice Exercises for Button and Input Fields (optional)
  10. Video: Mini-project Video
  11. Reading: Mini-project Description
  12. Reading: Practice Mini-project: Magical Octosphere Reloaded (optional)
  13. Reading: Code Clinic Tips
Graded: Quiz 2a
Graded: Quiz 2b
Graded: "Guess the Number!"
Week 3 - Canvas, drawing, timers
Create a canvas in Python, learn how to draw on the canvas, create a digital stopwatch 
7 videos4 readings
  1. Video: Canvas and Drawing
  2. Video: String Processing
  3. Video: Interactive Drawing
  4. Reading: Practice Exercises for Drawing (optional)
  5. Video: Timers
  6. Video: Visualizing Drawing and Timers
  7. Video: Programming Tips - 3
  8. Reading: Practice Exercises for Timers (optional)
  9. Video: Mini-project Video
  10. Reading: Mini-project Description
  11. Reading: Code Clinic Tips
Graded: Quiz 3a
Graded: Quiz 3b
Graded: Stopwatch: The Game
Week 4 - Lists, keyboard input, the basics of modeling motion
Learn the basics of lists in Python, model moving objects in Python, recreate the classic arcade game "Pong" 
8 videos4 readings
  1. Video: Lists
  2. Video: Keyboard Input
  3. Video: Motion
  4. Video: Collisions and Reflections
  5. Reading: Practice Exercises for Lists (optional)
  6. Video: Velocity Control
  7. Video: Visualizing Lists and Mutation
  8. Video: Programming Tips - 4
  9. Reading: Practice Exercises for Keyboard (optional)
  10. Video: Mini-project Video
  11. Reading: Mini-project Description
  12. Reading: Code Clinic Tips
Graded: Quiz 4a
Graded: Quiz 4b
Graded: Pong
How It Works
Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.
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Rice University
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