MIT Course Online: A Gentle Introduction to Programming Using Python

This course will provide a gentle, yet intense, introduction to programming using Python for highly motivated students with little or no prior experience in programming. The course will focus on planning and organizing programs, as well as the grammar of the Python programming language.

The course is designed to help prepare students for 6.01 Introduction to EECS. 6.01 assumes some knowledge of Python upon entering; the course material for 6.189 has been specially designed to make sure that concepts important to 6.01 are covered.

This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

How Are Students Learning Programming in a Post-Basic World?

Computerworld (06/23/11) Lamont Wood 

Since the Basic programming language has faded into obscurity, there is no single lingua franca across the entire PC user community to function as a default starter language, and among those distressed by Basic’s passing is science fiction author David Brin. He laments that today the top one-tenth of 1 percent of students “will go to summer camp and learn programming, but the rest may never know that the dots comprising their screens are positioned by logic, math, and human-written code.” On the other hand, Tufts University professor Kathleen Fisher applauds the emergence of numerous programming languages. “Different languages are good for different things, each has its own domain of discourse, and it is best if the application is in the language’s domain,” she says. Fisher cites Python as a language that is taking a vanguard position for introducing programming to a new generation of students, noting that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University are using it. Python developer Vern Ceder notes that Indiana’s Canterbury college prep school teaches Python “because it is easier for kids to actually write productive code right away

The World War II battle of machines that sparked the beginning of the computer age

The Enigma machines made their debut in short-lived peace, just following the first Great War. Enclosed in foldable wooden boxes, the devices featured series of protruding knobs and keys, resembling a cross between an antique typewriter and a laptop computer

First-ever Southern California Robotic Mouse Competition

First, there was Mickey Mouse. Then came Mighty Mouse. Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, comes micromouse, the little robot that could. Actually, a total of 13 micromice visited the UC San Diego campus last month, for a competition pitting teams from eight universities. It was the first Southern California competition hosted by UCSD IEEE at the Jacobs School of Engineering, but Kansas State University joined in the fun too. Fittingly, UCSD teams took first and second place in the competition. UCLA came in third.