New Python course for Juniors: is it good enough?

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Tal Yaron

Mar 22, 2023, 2:42:20 AM3/22/23
to PyWeb-IL
Hi, We have created a new course for python juniors (see the syllabus in the link). Do you think it is good enough?

Your opinion and recommendations will are highly appreciated.


Tal Einat

Mar 31, 2023, 1:42:17 AM3/31/23
Hi Tal,

See some initial thoughts below. Please consider these constructive criticism, overall I'm very much in favor of what you're aiming to do!

Regarding the structure of the document and the course:
* The description is missing outlines of projects which would enable learning these concepts. Later on it could make sense for students to choose their own projects, but that doesn't make sense for the early parts of the process for someone with no programming experience - there is simply too much they don't know. It seems to me that a lot of careful thought and clever creativity would be needed to come up with good projects for learning the first parts.
* On the other hand, the first "Introduction" part reads like a standard intro course, and seems like 28 hours of frontal teaching + a 4-hour project at the end. I think you can do better than that if you aim for project-based learning (PBL)!
* The syllabus breaks down the learning timeline by subjects, similar to what one would find in a "conventional" book or course. But that doesn't work in project-based learning! The whole point of PBL is that you learn many things "out of order", as needed for each project, rather than e.g. having a "lesson" about data types, another about built-in functions, etc.
* In keeping with the above, to really flesh out the ideas, I'd like to see something like a series of projects, which outlines a winding path that goes through various subjects on that list out of order, in a way that works naturally in a PBL approach given the nature of the projects.

Other suggestions:
* Consider making the very first steps without an IDE. IDEs have so many options, buttons, menus, tabs... and they require significant setup before you can do anything (e.g. create a "Project" in PyCharm). Python is especially great for this! Using the Python REPL is nice and easy. Consider using a beginner-friendly REPL environment such as Jupyter Notebook or IDLE. With Jupyter you can even run a server for them to connect to, requiring zero installation!
* Personally I don't believe in having students dive into the deep end too soon. Some things benefit greatly from having a teacher give you a proper framework for understanding the basic concepts and how they combine in different ways. Without that, all of the complexity and high number of new concepts and tools can be overwhelming.

Aside: It's interesting to read "why Python is OO as a given", since Python had no classes for a good few of its early years, and they were added at a certain point (well before 2.0). For years classes were considered "grafted on" rather than a natural part of the language. :)

- Tal Einat

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Rani Hod

Apr 4, 2023, 1:02:39 AM4/4/23

My 2 cents re: IDEs for beginners - IMHO you should consider Thonny.
Like IDLE, it is very much oriented towards REPL.rather than building a multi-file, multi-directory project, but it does everything better than IDLE (IMHO), including pypi access, debugger and whatnot.
One click installer (it has built-in Python but can be configured to use external Python installations).


Tal Yaron

Apr 7, 2023, 3:46:51 AM4/7/23

Tal Yaron


INT-college R&D manager 
Deliberation R&D at

Full-stack web developer, UX architect 
Full-stack and UX Lecture

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