Course Organization

Getting everything ready before classes start

Posted by M Vargas on January 04, 2018

The parents of the selected students had to sign an authorization recognizing they were aware of the terms and conditions of the course. Fortunately, all of them signed them without complaints, so the8 (as I began calling the 8 selected students) just had to wait until January 9th, 2018 to dive into the world of computer science and the art of programming.

Preparing the content for the course was not an easy task. Even though there were many resources available from CS50, CS50 AP, MITx 6.00.1x, and many other courses, I had to adapt the course, so that the main language is Python, and the classes were entertaining as David J. Malan’s lectures.

Once again my friend Nanci Abarca, a.k.a. Sika, was crucial to organize the contents of the course. As a guide, we decided to use the book Practical Programming An Introduction to Computer Science Using Python 3.6 written by Paul Gries, Jennifer Campbell, and Jason Montojo. In addition, we selected some programming exercises from the book Introduction to Programming Using Python written by Daniel Liang. This book was very useful when I was learning how to code, and those exercises helped me to understand the basics of programming.

Moreover, I wanted to create a way to document what was done in the course, so any person that also wanted to teach programming to people without prior experience could use the resources that were generated in this course. Thus, the main purposes of this blog are to document the most relevant events of the course and to provide free access to the resources that were generated during the course.

I pledged to do my best in order to generate a good quality course. I really wanted to teach computer science because I strongly believe that coding skills are crucial in our fast-paced society. I wish that the8 loved to attend the classes as when I was so excited to play the CS50’s lectures one after the other. Sika suggested that I should focus on making sure they understand the basics well since knowing this building blocks would allow them to learn by themselves anything they want later.

Preparing the classes was not an easy task, and I realized that being a good teacher requires lots of effort and time. I hope someday school and high school teachers were paid as medical doctors not only in Finland but worldwide because they are the ones who can make a better society by encouraging young souls the pursuit of truth and the commitment to excellence, so they can build together a better society.

Finally, before ending this post, I want to thank the company that I work for Band of Coders which is sponsoring pizza days for the students and people who are helping with the course. All of these was possible thanks to the initiative of my boss and friend Chris Charles who talked with the owner of the company, and got approved budget to have pizza days once a month during the course is running.