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”.

Recommended Background

A knowledge of high school mathematics is required. While the class is designed for students with no prior programming experience, some beginning programmers have viewed the class as being fast-paced. For students interested in some light preparation prior to the start of class, we recommend a self-paced Python learning site such as codecademy.com.

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Professor Information

Picture of Dr. Joe Warren

Dr. Joe Warren

Joe Warren is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Rice University. His main area of research interest is computer graphics and geometric modeling, where he has published extensively. He is the author of the book Subdivision Methods

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Picture of Dr. Scott Rixner

Dr. Scott Rixner

Scott Rixner is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Rice University. His research focuses on systems software and computer architecture. He is well versed in the internals of the Python programming language, as he is currently developing a light-weight

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Picture of Dr. Luay Nakhleh

Dr. Luay Nakhleh

Luay Nakhleh received a BSc degree in Computer Science from the Technion (Israel) in 1996, a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University in 1998, and a PhD degree in Computer Science from UT Austin in May 2004

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