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Course Review: Computer Science 101


Provider: Stanford Online (Open EdX) [course page]
Lecturer: Nick Palante
Subject: Computer Science + Computer Literacy
Delivery: Intake-based asynchronous study
Recommended Load: 4 hrs/week over 6 weeks
Completion Date: 08/31/2014

“Bad code isn’t bad, its just misunderstood.”
― Anonymous

“Programs for sale: Fast, Reliable, Cheap: choose two.”
― Anonymous

Description: Nick Palante offers a well-rounded introduction to Computer Science.

Strengths: This course covers a lot of different areas of Computer Science, which ranges from some exercises using a chopped-down version of Javascript, to learning about hardware, security and some history of computer technology. This well-rounded approach to the subject offers newcomers to the area of Computer Science the understanding that it is not just about programming and that there are numerous issues to consider when using a computer.
Students are able to try the exercises until they get it right, which reflects the nature of coding where you often have to go back over code to see why a feature isn’t working as intended. This teaches the habit of reading code to determine errors, then problem-solving. Though code comments are mentioned, they weren’t the focus of the coding exercises. Using a browser-based language such as Javascript also avoided the need for students to install special software.
Weaknesses: Folks looking to learn everything there is to know about programming or computer engineering will be disappointed.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed Nick Palante’s approach to the subject. Based on my own experiences with the course, I recommend this course folks with computer literacy issues. Be sure to mention this course to loved ones that fit into this category.


Author: keikomushi

Reader, Writer, New Media Buff, Anime Fangirl, Gnome Hunter, Last Action Femme Fatale, Appreciator of Nature, Jack-of-all-trades.

2 thoughts on “Course Review: Computer Science 101

  1. Great idea reviewing the courses Keiko!

    • I still have several completed courses that I haven’t reviewed due to study and other commitments. I find that reviewing a course also makes you consider the elements of a course as well as bringing to mind what you learn during your study. This last bit is important due to the enhanced learning offered by variable interval recall. As mentioned on other posts and on social media, varied study of different subjects offers many benefits for creatives. In the case of a writer studying history, it can help with world-building and/or with cutting down on technical errors. Of course, this assumes that you are studying high quality material rather than a sack of potatoes.

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