The Python programming language was developed to provide a way to develop code that’s easy to create and understand. While Python contains the same basic structures as other languages, it also offers unique functionality that makes your life as a programmer easier.
This course will show you how to create basic programming structures including decisions and loops. Then you will move on to more advanced topics such as object-oriented programming with classes and exceptions. In addition, you will explore unique Python data structures such as tuples and dictionaries. You will even learn how to create Python programs with graphic elements that range from simple circles and squares to graphical user interface (GUI) objects like buttons and labels.
Whether you’re interested in writing simple scripts, full programs, or graphical user interfaces, this course will give you the tools you need to use Python with skill and confidence.
Welcome to Python
Two things that make Python attractive are that it’s a free download and that it comes with a free development environment, IDLE. Your first lesson starts off with a brief tour of both the language and the environment. You will see that with IDLE, you can either execute individual statements directly at the interpreter’s prompt or save your commands in a program file to be run later.
Get Interactive With Variables and User Input
Programs aren’t terribly useful unless you have some way to store values in memory. In Lesson 2, you will get up to speed with Python variables, and then you will learn how to use these variables to get input from the user. With this, you will be able to write Python code to make your programs interactive, making them more useful and a lot more interesting.
There are many times when you will want one set of statements run in one situation and another set run in a different situation. For that, you will need to use Python’s if decision structure. In Lesson 3, you will practice with Python’s if syntax and learn how to write both simple and complex conditions to select which statements should be run.
Looping (and Looping and Looping)
Keeping with the theme of programming structures, this lesson is all about the repetition structure. You will learn how to write both while and for loops in Python so that your statements can be repeated over and over until some condition is met. You will also learn some looping features that are unique to Python that help to make your programs more powerful.
Modular Programming With Functions
Modular programming gives you the ability to write code once, give it a name, and then call on it by name at a later time. In Lesson 5, you will learn how to write modular programs by creating functions. You will also learn how to pass data into the functions and then to return values back, building on this knowledge as you proceed through the course.
Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming
Building on the concept of modular programming, this lesson explores object-oriented programming. This is a popular technique and you will get an introduction to how it’s done in Python. You will learn how to create a class definition and place variables and functions inside. Then later, you will use this class to create some objects and work with them to solve simple problems.
Creating Graphics With Tkinter
It’s time to take some of the topics previously covered and apply them to something a little more creative. This lesson focuses on Python graphics. You will create simple shapes and practice writing programs that simulate animation. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to watch your shapes move across the screen.
Python Data Structures 1: Lists and Tuples
Now that you’re comfortable with the decision and repetition structures, as well as ways to organize your code, it’s now time to turn to ways of managing your data. This lesson looks at two of Python’s basic data structures: lists and tuples. You will learn how to create these types of variables and use them to manage data for your programs.
Python Data Structures 2: Dictionaries
While lists and tuples are useful structures, they put the burden on you to keep track of your data’s position within the structure. However, the dictionary structure gives you the ability to associate a word with each piece of data. In this lesson, you will learn how to use dictionaries to write useful programs in fewer lines of code that’ll execute in a shorter amount of time.
Working With External Data Files
Programs that work with data in memory are great. However, it’s also important to be able to save the data in a file for later use. In Lesson 10, you will learn how to read from and write to data files. You will also learn about Python’s shelve feature, which is a database-like file that allows for quick and easy access to large amounts of data.
Handling Python Exceptions
Let’s face it, programs sometimes encounter problems. In object-oriented terms, you would call this an exception. If the exception isn’t handled, the program will crash. In this lesson, you will learn about Python’s exceptions and learn how to handle them to keep the program up and running, even when something unexpected happens.
GUIs With Tkinter
You will finish the course by exercising the creative part of your brain again. This time, you will learn how to create a graphical user interface (GUI) in Python. Now you will be able to integrate all the conceptual material that you learned in the course with an attractive, easy to use interface to make for useful, interactive programs.
Prerequisites / Requirements
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.
- PC: Windows XP or later.
- Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
- You will need Python 3.X (3.1, 3.2, or a later version), which you can download free of charge here.
- Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
When can I get started?
Instructor-Led: A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.
Self-Paced: You can start this course at any time your schedule permits.
How does it work?
Instructor-Led: Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Self-Paced: You have three-month access to the course. After enrolling, you can learn and complete the course at your own pace, within the allotted access period.
How long do I have to complete each lesson?
Instructor-Led: The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
Self-Paced: There is no time limit to complete each lesson, other than completing all lessons before your three-month access.
What if I need an extension?
Instructor-Led: The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Self-Paced: Because this course is self-paced, no extensions will be granted after the start of your enrollment.