MITx Week 1: Setup and Python Basics

MITx and the Python DUDE .: Time to get programming! 6.00.1x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python went live on Tuesday and runs for the next 9 weeks. Very interesting to see students from all over the world posting in the discussion forums. Courseware is a series of video lectures each roughly 10 minutes in duration interspersed with test exercises to help the knowledge sink in. Each week concludes with a more in-depth problem set to be submitted online for evaluation. There will be a mid-term and final exam.

This week focused on conditionals, branching, loops, and getting acquainted with just enough Python basics to get started on assignments. I completed all the material for the week. The last part of the problem set I found a bit tricky, which required writing a program that prints the longest substring of any random string in which the letters occur in alphabetical order. For example, if string = 'azcbobobegghakl', then my program needs to find the substring beggh or, in the case of multiple substrings of equal length, output the first match found. When stuck I find the best solution is ... go off and do something else! Subconscious mind gets cracking and when I return it all falls into place.

New material is released every Tuesday. Its a rapid pace but the video instruction is very well done by course mentor Dr. Eric Grimson and I usually view at 1.25+ playback speed which I find encourages closer attention to what is being said.

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