Your opinions about a programming course

I just received a spring catalog from The Great Courses out of Virginia among which is a programming course by Professor John Keyes titled "Computer Science Concepts and Python Exercises. It is being heavily discounted until May 4 from $270 to $40 and includes 24 half hour lectures. I am wondering if it would be worthwhile to help me become better at C / C++ or would I be wasting my time and money. I have never had any "formal" training in programming, but have managed to self learn C but still flounder around quite a bit and am looking for something to better nail down programming, especially for Propeller 1 and hopefully soon for Propeller 2. Any thoughts you folks may have on this would be greatly appreciated.

Hal
Florida, between St. Petersburg and the Gulf of Mexico

Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye...

Comments

  • 12 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • It really depends on how good the course is. Self learning is great, but often leaves gaps in our knowledge that we may not even be aware of. A good course can help fill in those gaps, and the existing knowledge helps us to get the most out of a formal course.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • How will a course that uses Python help you learn C / C++?
  • At that price why not go for it?

    I'm not a great fan of Python but I don't think the details of any particular programming language are the point. You can pick up the syntax and semantics from a million tutorials and blogs around the net, for almost any language.

    No, I think the value is in the software techniques and design. Stuff that is common to all languages.

    Where it gets interesting is (From the catalog) :

    Game Design with Functions
    Bottom-Up Design
    Turtle Graphics
    Robotics
    Event-Driven Programming
    Visualizing Data and Creating Simulations
    Classes and Object-Oriented Programming
    Objects with Inheritance and Polymorphism
    Data Structures: Stack, Queue, Dictionary, Set
    Algorithms: Searching and Sorting
    Recursion and Running Times
    Graphs and Trees
    Graph Search and a Word Game
    Parallel Computing

    As kwinn noted, when you fumble along picking up things for yourself you can miss a lot of good stuff. Because you don't know it exists or it seems far to high in the sky theoretical or it never occurs to you that it may be useful.

    A good teacher or prof can shine a light on these things then you know they exist, you know if they might be interesting and you know how to pursue them further.

    If you are happy you know enough about the items I picked out then forget it. If not, well, it's only 40 dollars!


  • David Betz wrote: »
    How will a course that uses Python help you learn C / C++?

    Algorithms and many programming techniques are the same or similar regardless of the programming language.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • Heater. wrote: »
    At that price why not go for it?

    I'm not a great fan of Python but I don't think the details of any particular programming language are the point. You can pick up the syntax and semantics from a million tutorials and blogs around the net, for almost any language.

    No, I think the value is in the software techniques and design. Stuff that is common to all languages.

    Where it gets interesting is (From the catalog) :

    Game Design with Functions
    Bottom-Up Design
    Turtle Graphics
    Robotics
    Event-Driven Programming
    Visualizing Data and Creating Simulations
    Classes and Object-Oriented Programming
    Objects with Inheritance and Polymorphism
    Data Structures: Stack, Queue, Dictionary, Set
    Algorithms: Searching and Sorting
    Recursion and Running Times
    Graphs and Trees
    Graph Search and a Word Game
    Parallel Computing

    As kwinn noted, when you fumble along picking up things for yourself you can miss a lot of good stuff. Because you don't know it exists or it seems far to high in the sky theoretical or it never occurs to you that it may be useful.

    A good teacher or prof can shine a light on these things then you know they exist, you know if they might be interesting and you know how to pursue them further.

    If you are happy you know enough about the items I picked out then forget it. If not, well, it's only 40 dollars!

    Agreed - that looks like an excellent curriculum! Well worth $40
    David
    PropWare: C++ HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) for PropGCC; Robust build system using CMake; Integrated Simple Library, libpropeller, and libPropelleruino (Arduino port); Instructions for Eclipse and JetBrain's CLion; Example projects; Doxygen documentation
    Tag me with "@DavidZemon" if you have a question for me. I will be checking these forums far less for the forseeable future.
  • kwinn wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    How will a course that uses Python help you learn C / C++?

    Algorithms and many programming techniques are the same or similar regardless of the programming language.
    True but if you're just starting why introduce the extra level of difficulty translating from one language to another?

  • You are only starting out for the first 12 sessions of the course, then you get down to the interesting stuff.

    That only leaves the little problem of translating your new found knowledge to whatever other language you may want to use.

    When we were starting out it was BASIC, then assembler, in the same course. Very soon after that it was Algol...

    I don't see this as a big hurdle.
  • Thanks, everyone. I was a little concerned that the Python aspect may muddy the waters a little, but as has been pointed out, the concepts are what I need to pin down. Looks like it's back to school for this old timer.
    Florida, between St. Petersburg and the Gulf of Mexico

    Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye...
  • I think you will find Python easy enough.
  • Or you can spring $20 a month and see it online. That's how my wife and I now watch the lectures on Great Courses. We used to buy them, but it's a better deal for us to pay monthly, and we can enjoy the many other courses there. Music professor Robert Greenberg is a riot to watch. We're currently finishing up a lecture on mystery fiction from a very knowlegable professor out of Buffalo.

    You can catch the first of the Python lectures here, to see if the presentation and instructor are a match for you:

    https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/show/how_to_program_computer_science_concepts_and_python_exercises

    Depending on the age of the lecture, they can be pretty static. Recently they've added a lot more onscreen interaction that really helps the learning process.

    In any case, you really cannot go wrong with Great Courses. I can't recommend it highly enough.
  • Just don't pay retail price if you buy. Everything goes on sale sooner or later, often sooner. We have pretty much all the art appreciation, history, anthropology courses.
    Re-inventing the wheel is not a waste of time if, when you are done, you understand why it is round.
    Cool, CA, USA 95614
  • Just don't pay retail price if you buy. Everything goes on sale sooner or later, often sooner. We have pretty much all the art appreciation, history, anthropology courses.
    Well, the video download is $34.95, down from $234.95 so I don't think I'll be paying retail.
    Thanks again to everyone's input, definately going to go for it.
    Gordon, thank you for the sample lesson, it feels like I just might learn something.

    Hal


    Florida, between St. Petersburg and the Gulf of Mexico

    Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye...
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