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udacity’s intro to comp sci

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

dunit! finished CS 101: Introduction to Computer Science over at Udacity. boy, was it a workout! a mountain trek of steep climbs and lots of ups and sudden downs compared to the walk-in-the-park that was codecademy’s python track. not that codecademy was a breeze for a noob like me.

the syllabus:

Lesson 1: How to Get Started

Your first program: Extracting a link

Lesson 2: How to Repeat

Procedures, decisions (if), loops; finding all of the links on a page

Additional Lesson: How to Solve Problems

Universal techniques for solving programming problems

Lesson 3: How to Manage Data

Lists; crawling the web

Lesson 4: Responding to Queries

Complex data structures; building a reverse index to do searches; networks

Lesson 5: How Programs Run

Reasoning about cost; hash tables (Dictionary)

Lesson 6: How to Have Infinite Power

Recursive definitions; ranking search results

Lesson 7: Where to Go from Here

Past, present, and future of computing; exam

Extended Units

(These units were not part of the original (7-week) course, but have been added to the course.)

Lesson 8: How to Learn New Things

Tips for learning more on your own

Lesson 9: How to Manage Complexity

Modules, types, classes

Lesson 10: How to Reuse Classes

Inheritance

Lesson 11: Programs in the Real World

File IO, and Exceptions

the course is part of their data science and web development tracks. revolving around the coding of a web crawler, it’s tough but fun — definitely a productive learning experience for me. the additional lesson on how to solve problems was a gem. quibbles? while lessons 1 – 7 were polished, the extended ones (lessons 8 -11) were a bit spotty in a noticeable number of places and can certainly be made more MOOC-friendly by the addition of the course notes and downloadable pdfs that were available for the original 7 lessons. and i could not unzip the downloadable videos even though i noted this in a survey form.

loved the optional problem set offerings that featured gold stars as incentives. had to surf the web and the udacity forums for insights and tips to finish these but those extra bits of additional knowledge from stack overflow, various online python tutors, and a few python blog posts were worth the extra effort needed to submit acceptable solutions.

deep and heartfelt thanks to professor evans, the teaching assistants, the forum moderators (goldsong, paidhima, and a few others whose user names i can’t recall now), and fellow udacians for making the course a wonderfully productive experience!

what’s next? had originally planned to return to CS 262: Programming Languages (from which i had backtracked to CS 101). a bit of looking around, however, led me to CS 215 : Algorithms, an “introduction to the design and analysis of algorithms, enabling you to analyze networks and discover how individuals are connected.” the goal is to get a better grasp of this essential skill and be better prepared for 262. then, perhaps, back to 262 before tackling CS 212: Design of Computer Programs (Programming Principles) and onwards to Web and Mobile Web Development. maybe some algebra courses on the side too.

anyways, that’s the plan. and plans never survive the reality of contact! ^_^

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From → online learning

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