Python, Coursera and online courses

Posted by jperala on February 16, 2014

In my current work project we are using mainly Java for programming and usage of other programming languages, such as Python, has been rather limited lately. Therefore I decided to take some personal project to exercise my Python programming skills. As I had just bumped into the Coursera and it’s online courses, I decided to sign-up for 9-week Interactive Python Programming course organized by Rice University. Although the course was basic-level programming course, I figured it would also provide good recap for person with previous programming experience.

Now when the course is finalized it is good time to sum up the experiences about the course (and Coursera in general).


  • All course materials (video lectures, documentation, weekly quizzes and programming exercises) were clearly organized and no technical problems were experienced during the course.
  • Lectures were organized as 10-15 minutes video clips making it easy to skip the topics already familiar with.
  • The course was graded based on weekly quizzes and completion of programming exercises (peer reviewed by other students). The programming exercise topics included implementation of small games such as Pong, Asteroids, Memory and Blackjack so making the exercises was actually lots of fun. With previous programming experience the weekly exercises were able to be done in 2-4 hours of work per week.


  • The programming exercises were required to be implemented using GUI library provided by the course online development environment, thus, some extra work was needed if you wanted to port your exercises to TKinter (or any other Python GUI library).

Pong in Python Simple Pong implementation in Python

In a nutshell, the experience was very positive.  Course was very well organized and I will be definitely looking on the upcoming courses in Coursera.