The basis for education in the last millennium was “reading, writing, and arithmetic;” now it is reading, writing, and computing.
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Subtitles: Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish
Level: Beginner Level
Course offered by Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. It is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution.
The basis for education in the last millennium was “reading, writing, and arithmetic;” now it is reading, writing, and computing. Learning to program is an essential part of the education of every student, not just in the sciences and engineering, but in the arts, social sciences, and humanities, as well. Beyond direct applications, it is the first step in understanding the nature of computer science’s undeniable impact on the modern world. This course covers the first half of our book Computer Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach (the second half is covered in our Coursera course Computer Science: Algorithms, Theory, and Machines). Our intent is to teach programming to those who need or want to learn it, in a scientific context.
We begin by introducing basic programming elements such as variables, conditionals, loops, arrays, and I/O. Next, we turn to functions, introducing key concepts such as recursion, modular programming, and code reuse. Then, we present a modern introduction to object-oriented programming.
We use the Java programming language and teach basic skills for computational problem solving that are applicable in many modern computing environments. Proficiency in Java is a goal, but we focus on fundamental concepts in programming, not Java per se.
Skills you gain from this course
- Programming Principles
- Computer Science
- Java Programming
Syllabus - What you will learn from this course
Week 1: BASIC PROGRAMMING CONCEPTS
Why program? This lecture addresses that basic question. Then it describes the anatomy of your first program and the process of developing a program in Java using either virtual terminals or a program development environment, with some historical context. Most of the lecture is devoted to a thorough coverage of Java's built-in data types, with example programs for each.
4 videos (Total 75 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Week 2: CONDITIONALS AND LOOPS
The if, while, and for statements are Java's fundamental control structures. This lecture is built around short programs that use these constructs to address important computational tasks. Examples include sorting, computing the square root, factoring, and simulating a random process. The lecture concludes with a detailed example illustrating the process of debugging a program.
5 videos (Total 56 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Week 3: ARRAYS
Computing with a large sequence of values of the same type is extremely common. This lecture describes Java's built-in array data structure that supports such applications, with several examples, including shuffling a deck of cards, the coupon collector test for randomness, and random walks in a grid.
3 videos (Total 57 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Week 4: INPUT AND OUTPUT
To interact with our programs, we need mechanisms for taking information from the outside world and for presenting information to the outside world. This lecture describes several such mechanisms: for text, drawings, and animation. Detailed examples covered include fractal drawings that model natural phenomena and an animation of a ball bouncing around in the display window.
4 videos (Total 49 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Week 5: FUNCTIONS AND LIBRARIES
Modular programming is the art and science of breaking a program into pieces that can be individually developed. This lecture introduces functions (Java methods), a fundamental mechanism that enables modular programming. Motivating examples include functions for the classic Gaussian distribution and an application that creates digital music.
4 videos (Total 60 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Week 6: RECURSION
A recursive function is one that calls itself. This lecture introduces the concept by treating in detail the ruler function and (related) classic examples, including the Towers of Hanoi puzzle, the H-tree, and simple models of the real world based on recursion. We show a common pitfall in the use of recursion, and a simple way to avoid it, which introduces a different (related) programming paradigm known as dynamic programming.
5 videos (Total 58 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Week 7: PERFORMANCE
When you develop a program, you need to be aware of its resource requirements. In this lecture, we describe a scientific approach to understanding performance, where we develop mathematical models describing the running time our programs and then run empirical tests to validate them. Eventually we come to a simple and effective approach that you can use to predict the running time of your own programs that involve significant amounts of computation.
5 videos (Total 66 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Week 8: ABSTRACT DATA TYPES
In Java, you can create your own data types and use them in your programs. In this and the next lecture, we show how this ability allows us to view our programs as abstract representations of real-world concepts. First we show the mechanics of writing client programs that use data types. Our examples involve abstractions such as color, images, and genes. This style of programming is known as object-oriented programming because our programs manipulate objects, which hold data type values.
4 videos (Total 53 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Week 9: CREATING DATA TYPES
Creating your own data types is the central activity in modern Java programming. This lecture covers the mechanics (instance variables, constructors, instance methods, and test clients) and then develops several examples, culminating in a program that uses a quintessential mathematical abstraction (complex numbers) to create visual representations of the famous Mandelbrot set.
4 videos (Total 59 min), 2 readings, 2 quizzes
Week 10: PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES
We conclude the course with an overview of important issues surrounding programming languages. To convince you that your knowledge of Java will enable you to learn other programming languages, we show implementations of a typical program in C, C++, Python, and Matlab. We describe important differences among these languages and address fundamental issues, such as garbage collection, type checking, object-oriented programming, and functional programming with some brief historical context.
5 videos (Total 67 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
Reviews by Users who enrolled in this course:
by MEMar 28, 2021
This course is very helpful and useful especially that i am in the field of teaching. While im learning my student also learning. Thank you! And Godbless!
by SKJun 7, 2019
I appreciate your work and your services. Your classes are very valuable for whom new in the world of IT is. Thank you very much dear professor!
by TGDec 20, 2022
This course definitely improved my understanding of computer science topics and would recommend. I did find some of the assignments to be a little confusing as far was what they were expecting.
by HLFeb 10, 2021
Challenging but doable. Highly recommended for those with slight experience with programming; this course is not for complete beginners.
All the features of this course are available for free. It does not offer a certificate upon completion.