Learn to Program: The Fundamentals

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9/10 stars
based on  144 reviews
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FREE

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Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
4653 reviews

Course Description

Behind every mouse click and touch-screen tap, there is a computer program that makes things happen. This course introduces the fundamental building blocks of programming and teaches you how to write fun and useful programs using the Python language.
Reviews 9/10 stars
144 Reviews for Learn to Program: The Fundamentals

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Joanna profile image
Joanna profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 completed
6 years, 1 month ago
I signed up for several different introductory CS courses (LTP1 and ITPP on Coursera, CS50x and 6.00x on EdX) and I have to say that this was the best one. Demanding but not too much - about 4-4,5h/week, very thorough but not boring (the disjointed teching, that somebody here has complained about, was for me a major upside - I found out that 6-10 minutes lectures are easier to stomach than those gargantuan 2h lectures on EdX [I can easily sit and listen for such time in real life auditorium but in front of my computer I get all twitchy and my attention floats away]). This course did not cover a huge range of topic but when it touched one, it would not stop until this topic was covered 100%. Also the professors were very active on the forum and woud answer questions, provide clarifications and respond to feedback. There were also a few downsides but, interestingly enough, most of them - technical: problems with final exam grading (res... I signed up for several different introductory CS courses (LTP1 and ITPP on Coursera, CS50x and 6.00x on EdX) and I have to say that this was the best one. Demanding but not too much - about 4-4,5h/week, very thorough but not boring (the disjointed teching, that somebody here has complained about, was for me a major upside - I found out that 6-10 minutes lectures are easier to stomach than those gargantuan 2h lectures on EdX [I can easily sit and listen for such time in real life auditorium but in front of my computer I get all twitchy and my attention floats away]). This course did not cover a huge range of topic but when it touched one, it would not stop until this topic was covered 100%. Also the professors were very active on the forum and woud answer questions, provide clarifications and respond to feedback. There were also a few downsides but, interestingly enough, most of them - technical: problems with final exam grading (resolving this mess sure took some time), differing level of sound during some of the videos and a total, horrible mess on the discussion forum. But that would be about it - I frankly cannot even think of a bad thing to say about the teaching part. It was so great that I just can't wait for the LTP2.
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10/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 3 completed
2 years, 4 months ago
Excellent introduction to Python. The exercises might be challenging for those who have not coded before, but this course is a lot more doable for the raw beginner than the MIT offerings.
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Igor Todorovic profile image
Igor Todorovic profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
4 years ago
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 6 months ago
Despite being my first MOOC I felt very comfortable. I have told many of my friends about the course. The instructions were simple and clear. It helped learn a new language which I'm using even now for a lot of projects related to my college coursework. Python rocks, and this course is the best way for someone to enter the world of Python!
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Martin Cleary profile image
Martin Cleary profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
This is one of the few MOOC courses that I have  completed, along with Learn to Program, Crafting Quality Code, and Karl Ulrich's Design course.  (Both taken well over a year ago now). The material delivered at about the right pace,  though I did find completing the assignments on time a bit of a challenge, but doable. This is a terrific intro to programming, and to Python.
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James Chu profile image
James Chu profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
I Very much enjoy this course. It's free, and so ensures that the natural constraints that would otherwise lead to single mindedness for both teacher and student is avoided completely. There is a true sense of freedom in being able to take an online course, in something you're truly passionate about, as opposed to the usual academia rubbish forcing every decision you make, from classes to test taking to the time you get up in the morning; there is just something magical about the whole MOOC experience. However, this is only true insofar as the teachers of a course are competent enough. I find that both Jennifer and Paul are excellent in teaching the subject content, and are obviously passionate about what they teach, making others passionate in what they are learning, and for that, I thank them. Keep it up guys, this is truly a magnificent, educating, and empowering experience, in which you helped to bring about to the online communi... I Very much enjoy this course. It's free, and so ensures that the natural constraints that would otherwise lead to single mindedness for both teacher and student is avoided completely. There is a true sense of freedom in being able to take an online course, in something you're truly passionate about, as opposed to the usual academia rubbish forcing every decision you make, from classes to test taking to the time you get up in the morning; there is just something magical about the whole MOOC experience. However, this is only true insofar as the teachers of a course are competent enough. I find that both Jennifer and Paul are excellent in teaching the subject content, and are obviously passionate about what they teach, making others passionate in what they are learning, and for that, I thank them. Keep it up guys, this is truly a magnificent, educating, and empowering experience, in which you helped to bring about to the online community!
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Davi Alves profile image
Davi Alves profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 8 months ago
As a engineer student, I had a previous programming "experience" (in Pascal). This course was very good, the explanations were very clear, the organization of topics, good tools (http://pythontutor.com/), the questions/exercises were well elaborated. They teach us to program with QUALITY. I recommend for everyone, from novice to intermediate. The course is not easy, but is not hard because all you need you will find there. I do not have any complains. It was perfect.
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Mizar83 . profile image
Mizar83 . profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 9 reviews
  • 8 completed
4 years, 8 months ago
The course is VERY easy, goes at a relly slow pace, and for these reasons gets to teach just the very basics of Python. If you have even a minimun amount of programming knowledge this course is probably too easy and too slow paced. A lot of trolls in the forums make them almost useless, too bad
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years ago
As a beginner, I found this to be a great introductory course. The lectures were good and easy to follow, and the assignments were straightforward and provided nice practice with writing code.
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Silvie Cinkova profile image
Silvie Cinkova profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
With no programming or math background, moderate intellectual capacity, and very limited time for studying, I successfully completed this course and am keen to use and build up the new skill in practice. I loved everything about this course: not a word too much, no digressions, no confusion, immediate hands-on experience. There are a few things that might differ from other courses: the videos are cut in very short sequences with a lot of intermittent quizzes. Some might find it disturbing, but I found it very helpful. There is no fuss with late days or penalizations between the due date and the hard deadline for your homework. A summary comes with every lecture: real notes "to take home"! Both lecturers speak a very comprehensible English and they are excellent presenters in general. "Learn to Program: The Fundamentals" was one of the best courses in my education career, live lectures included!
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John Hopkins profile image
John Hopkins profile image
10/10 starsDropped
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years ago
I am working full time and did not have enough time to finish the course. I recently revisited the course. This is an excellent course, and I am going to finish it. I recommend it to everyone. I am just sorry I had to drop it in the first place due to work. The instructors are excellent.
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Dmitry Belyaev profile image
Dmitry Belyaev profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
Hi! My name is Dmitry, I am taking the course at the moment. I have to admit, that the course is of very high quality, which grants it 5 stars. Nothing to be said. I would only suggest you to add an instruction video on How Python is applied, for example, quantitative analysis, in which I am primarily interested, other ways python is used, and give examples, so everyone taking the course could see how it is used and how can he use it for other purposes, not only for those why he is taking the course. Thank you for an outstanding course!
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Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
I had no experience in this course. This course is the first one I have taken. I liked the videos. They were clear and understandable. I disliked how quickly the work was coming.
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Arnold Lau profile image
Arnold Lau profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 8 reviews
  • 8 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
This is a perfect course for people with absolutely no programming experience. It teaches one language, Python, in a very slow-paced manner (one week for for-loops, another for while-loops, and another for for-loops OVER INDICES), but it manages to cover enough in seven weeks for its students to become comfortable with the very basics of Python and be able to explore new things on their own. In particular, taking this course first has helped me keep up with the much faster-paced Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python from Rice University on Coursera, and Introduction to Computer Science and Programming with Python from MIT on EdX. Taking this course first has allowed me several weeks to get comfortable with things like iteration and string manipulation. The teaching is fairly decent, though the professor's voices can lull you to sleep at times. The majority of videos are taken up by the IDLE interpreter, with the professor... This is a perfect course for people with absolutely no programming experience. It teaches one language, Python, in a very slow-paced manner (one week for for-loops, another for while-loops, and another for for-loops OVER INDICES), but it manages to cover enough in seven weeks for its students to become comfortable with the very basics of Python and be able to explore new things on their own. In particular, taking this course first has helped me keep up with the much faster-paced Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python from Rice University on Coursera, and Introduction to Computer Science and Programming with Python from MIT on EdX. Taking this course first has allowed me several weeks to get comfortable with things like iteration and string manipulation. The teaching is fairly decent, though the professor's voices can lull you to sleep at times. The majority of videos are taken up by the IDLE interpreter, with the professor/s typing out programs as they speak. The professors make a lot of typos which they then correct in the same video, which was good because everyone makes typos and it helped emphasize how small things can lead to total program failure. The instructors also made extensive use of the Python visualizer tool to emphasize the logic of how programs are executed, which helped me understand recursion later on in a separate course. The assessments were surprisingly challenging. The quizzes were pretty tricky and featured many debugging problems (what's wrong with this code/which of these programs will work?). Many people sweated for days on the three problem sets/assignments, but the assignment writeups were written very well, allowing sufficient guidance but not giving away the answers. Here's an example of an assignment (a word search game): http://spark- public.s3.amazonaws.com/programming1/a3/a3.html This course is recommended for anyone who wants to learn the very basics of programming. But people with even just a little bit of prior experience may find the pace way too slow.
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Student

8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
Frankly, the only online course I completed, cause of the simplicity in approach, the learning material, videos, exercises, etc. Made it a point to complete watching the videos, doing the exercises and the assignment the same day.
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Akshay profile image
Akshay profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
When I started this course, i had never used Python, although I use C and C++. The course is really great and it definitely does what it says.. it makes one learn how to program. I would recommend this course to everyone who is interested in learninf Python from the ground up!
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
Programmer not used Python before. Disliked not knowing home work counted for final exam - but I should have read the course logistics I suppose. Got the certificate
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Mukundan profile image
Mukundan profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
I enrolled this course more to get an understanding of how to teach non- programmers to program. I really felt that this course did a great job with that. The pace and content were perfect for a new comer into the world of programming. Thanks to Paul and Jen for such a great course.
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Patrick Curley profile image
Patrick Curley profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
I enjoyed the course a great deal. The instructors were engaging and the course was reasonably fast-paced but perhaps not challenging enough and a little on the short side. I loved the assignments, I did think the focus on the python visualizer was tiresome, but as I have had some experience in programming I may have been above that particular material.
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Laura profile image
Laura profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
My experience with this course was excellent; it's engaging and fun. Python it's a good course for beginners and people that want to learn python. I have taken a programming class 9 years ago with java, to me was a little difficult. Now after this course I'm reading a introductory programming book with java and I can understand it pretty well.
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Nicholas Pun profile image
Nicholas Pun profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
Came into the course knowing nothing about python programming, and I've come out knowing so much more! This course is awesome. The bi-weekly assignments are also very fun, challenging and teach you a lot. The quizzes are very helpful too, really testing if you know your stuff from the lecture videos. Overall, an awesome course!
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Winthrop Yu profile image
Winthrop Yu profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 33 reviews
  • 27 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
Carefully explains concepts, not just the mechanics of programming, in "baby steps". Uses a freely available software that is easy to set-up and use.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
I took this course to discover more about promgramming logic and syntaxe, with no experience in this field prior to it. The course was really well constructed, material is of high quality and there was a good progression in the difficulty level as weeks passed by. I really recommend this MOOC to anyone who would like to start getting into programming or review the basics, even if you are not really looking forward to getting into Python - that was my case too. My only regret is that I felt very last lectures were going a bit fast on a few notions (when you start getting out of Python frame to call external files), though that seemed as a key for further explorations in programming. Exercises and assignements were really satisfying as you could feel the progression of your learning, and opening on application fields ideas. Thanks a lot Paul & Jen, really appreciated taking this course, and looking forward for the next level! It was my... I took this course to discover more about promgramming logic and syntaxe, with no experience in this field prior to it. The course was really well constructed, material is of high quality and there was a good progression in the difficulty level as weeks passed by. I really recommend this MOOC to anyone who would like to start getting into programming or review the basics, even if you are not really looking forward to getting into Python - that was my case too. My only regret is that I felt very last lectures were going a bit fast on a few notions (when you start getting out of Python frame to call external files), though that seemed as a key for further explorations in programming. Exercises and assignements were really satisfying as you could feel the progression of your learning, and opening on application fields ideas. Thanks a lot Paul & Jen, really appreciated taking this course, and looking forward for the next level! It was my first coursera course, I hope all future ones will be as stimulating as this one.
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Ismail Elezi profile image
Ismail Elezi profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 2 months ago
The course is very easy if you have some programming experience (in other languages) and moderate if you are a beginner. The lectures are top notch. The only problem I had with the course is that you have to complete only 3 programming assignments during the entire course which isn't that much. Would have liked to have at-least a programming assignment for each week. The difficulty of the course is easy. You start from the very beginning and it is less advanced than some of the other programming courses on Coursera (like Interactive Programming on Python from Rice, or Video Game Developing using C# and XNA) and you need to spend less time in this than in other courses. If you don't have any programming experience, this course is definitely for you. If you have some programming experience but you don't know Python, this course will be valuable. If you have knowledge on Python then don't take this course cause this is an introduction l... The course is very easy if you have some programming experience (in other languages) and moderate if you are a beginner. The lectures are top notch. The only problem I had with the course is that you have to complete only 3 programming assignments during the entire course which isn't that much. Would have liked to have at-least a programming assignment for each week. The difficulty of the course is easy. You start from the very beginning and it is less advanced than some of the other programming courses on Coursera (like Interactive Programming on Python from Rice, or Video Game Developing using C# and XNA) and you need to spend less time in this than in other courses. If you don't have any programming experience, this course is definitely for you. If you have some programming experience but you don't know Python, this course will be valuable. If you have knowledge on Python then don't take this course cause this is an introduction level course. After you finish this you will know to write functions, if-else clauses, while and for clauses, to use lists and dictionaries and to read and write from files.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
I have no experience in programming before taking this course. First, it was very easy and clear, then, it became more difficult but you can find some help in the Forum. It was a very usefull course for me. Now, I am able to make little programs. I recommand this course for the beginner.
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8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
I came in with some experience of Python which helped me with some of the more difficult problems. I did enjoy the course and found the lectures and forums very informative. I'd advise anyone trying this course to do a few of the codeacademy lessons for Python before starting so you have a bit more understanding of the concepts.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
I had no prior experience with programming of any sort, and I was able to complete the course successfully despite also getting a late start. This was my first Coursera course, and it has me hooked. I thought the short length of the videos was great, they were all info with no fluff (which is great because I am trying to get the class done while my toddler naps). The instructors seemed to make use of many Coursera features that made the course very user- friendly.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
This course was a great experience, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone whose interest is piqued by the course description. The instruction was well segmented, well structured, and well delivered, and it convinced me more than any other MOOC I've seen that online, self-guided courses can teach and assess complicated, procedural skills like programming. A particular highlight was the quality of the course's assessments -- they were free of errors and ambiguity, perfectly aligned with what was taught in the lectures, and always just difficult enough to be both fair and challenging. I have some personal experience in writing educational assessments, and I understand how difficult -- but worthwhile! -- it is to strike that balance. As for my own story (for a sense of perspective), I have a wide range of academic interests, and I'd been interested in programming for a long time, but had never had any opportunity to actually learn it. Th... This course was a great experience, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone whose interest is piqued by the course description. The instruction was well segmented, well structured, and well delivered, and it convinced me more than any other MOOC I've seen that online, self-guided courses can teach and assess complicated, procedural skills like programming. A particular highlight was the quality of the course's assessments -- they were free of errors and ambiguity, perfectly aligned with what was taught in the lectures, and always just difficult enough to be both fair and challenging. I have some personal experience in writing educational assessments, and I understand how difficult -- but worthwhile! -- it is to strike that balance. As for my own story (for a sense of perspective), I have a wide range of academic interests, and I'd been interested in programming for a long time, but had never had any opportunity to actually learn it. This course took me from being a wannabe hobbyist programmer to an actual hobbyist programmer, which is exactly what I was looking to get out of it. If you're looking for the same, then sign up!
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
I used to think that programming was a terribly difficult and unreachable thing before taking this course. Now I feel it is not that terrible, but on the contrary. I have grown increasingly fanatised with the subject along the course. This is an easy-to-understand, well explained course. The teachers are just made of awesome so utterly well they enlighten you with programming knowledge. This has undoubtedly been the best Coursera course I have taken so far, so I am eager to take the follow-up course.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
Overall a good course, starts from the scratch. Basic course for newbies and can be used as a reference for advance programmers.
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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.