Coursera Learn To Program: The Fundamentals

The University of Toronto offers a regular course on Coursera, Learn to Program: The Fundamentals. It’s an introductory course for Python and I think it’s a great course for beginners. I think what I enjoy most is it teaches a few things some other courses skip, such as the doc string (explanation) of your code.

Course Details:

  • For? Beginners in Python
  • Timeframe: I believe if you really push it, and have even a small amount of coding background, it will take you a solid few weeks. If you treat it as a full time – it will take you a week.
  • Syllabus: There are a few coding assignments, as well as quizzes in each week. The core schedule is basically around the fundamentals – booleans, variables, documentation, loops and lists. Videos are given with questions, and assignments are done on your own IDE (they will show you how to install).
  • The Forum had a very fast response rate. There was a programming assignment which has an auto-marker, and I was stuck on 30/37 (got to hit 100% on these coding ones!) and the moment I ask, I got a response a few hours later.

Doc String / Function Design Recipe

I think a lot of courses skip this part. Learn to Program: The Fundamentals goes into into this with detail, even with quizzes asking you to comprehend other doc strings.


It’s the important lines that tell you what the code does.

WITH examples. Like this code converts your letters to a number.

Example: “hello” -> 3.


What I like about this is that it helps with communication. For my own personal reference, a template can be found here. The template provides a good solid foundation to designing functions. You can read your own functions and helps others understand your code as well.

Quick and To the Point

I recommend this course to those starting out programming with Python. It’s to the point, and a quick but solid cover of the basics. The assignments are simpler, and although not as long as Udacity Introduction to Computer science, it covers the basics really well. It’s teaches you to do, and I really enjoyed it.

Learn To Program: The Fundamentals by University of Toronto on Coursera.