Wednesday, January 26, 2022

New online class: Python Crash Course on Co:rise

I've always been excited by the possibility of online education. Years ago, I was an early engineer at Coursera helping university professors make their courses available in a MOOC form. I then joined Khan Academy to put my own courses online, putting together computer programming courses in JS, HTML/CSS, and SQL

The Coursera and Khan Academy courses are similar in that the content is largely self-paced, and you don't often have a strong sense of being in a class with classmates. That's okay for many learners, but there are also quite a few learners who like the feeling of a community and the social accountability of a cohort. 

Co:rise is a new platform for online learning that's attempting to offer the best of both worlds: easily accessible online content (articles, quizzes, projects) plus live weekly sessions (with instructors, TAs, and guest speakers). I'm really intrigued by the combination and its potential for better online learning, so when they asked me to put together a course for it, I immediately signed up.

I spent winter break putting together Python Crash Course, a 4-week course with about 6-10 hours of work per week. It's an introductory course, targeted at folks new to programming or just new to Python. Each Monday will start off with a Zoom lecture with me, where I'll lightly introduce the week's topics. Then you'll dive into the articles and coding challenges from Monday-Wednesday. We'll have another Zoom session on Thursdays to kick off the weekly project that uses all the skills you've been practicing in the challenges. Our TAs will have office hours Friday and Saturday to help with project questions, as well as answering them in our class Slack.

Here's an example early coding challenge from the functions topic:

And here's an example of what you'll do in one of the projects - write code to invert the pixels in a photo:

I'm very excited to try out this model of online learning, and would love help in spreading awareness of the first cohort of the class, starting March 21st. The whole 4-week class costs $400, which seems like a reasonable price point based on similar offerings. As much as I'd love for all education to be free, charging is necessary for us to be able to offer the live sessions and TA help. For a 5% discount, use code PAMELA10PY.

We hope to offer the class 3-4 times per year, if there's enough interest, so stay tuned to for future offerings. If you're already an experienced Python programmer, check out their many other classes in Python/ML topics, like NLP and MLOps. 

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