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An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1)

Part of the Fundamentals of Computing Specialization »

This two-part course is designed to be a fun introduction to the basics of programming in Python. Our main focus will be on building simple interactive games such as Pong, Blackjack and Asteroids.


Eligible for

Fundamentals of Computing Specialization
Course Certificate

Course at a Glance

About the Course

This two-part course (part 2 is available here) is designed to help students with very little or no computing background learn the basics of building simple interactive applications. Our language of choice, Python, is an easy-to learn, high-level computer language that is used in many of the computational courses offered on Coursera. To make learning Python easy, we have developed a new browser-based programming environment that makes developing interactive applications in Python simple. These applications will involve windows whose contents are graphical and respond to buttons, the keyboard and the mouse.

The primary method for learning the course material will be to work through multiple "mini-projects" in Python. To make this class enjoyable, these projects will include building fun games such as Pong, Blackjack, and Asteroids. When you’ve finished our course, we can’t promise that you will be a professional programmer, but we think that you will learn a lot about programming in Python and have fun while you’re doing it.

Course Syllabus

Our course syllabus can be seen at

Recommended Background

A knowledge of high school mathematics is required. While the class is designed for students with no prior programming experience, some beginning programmers have viewed the class as being fast-paced. For students interested in some light preparation prior to the start of class, we recommend a self-paced Python learning site such as

Course Format

The first part of the course will last five weeks.  The lectures from each week will focus on the topics listed in the syllabus while an associated weekly “mini- project” will serve to reinforce these concepts in practice.  Grades for these mini-projects will be determined via peer-assessment.  The class will also include two quizzes each week to provide further feedback.


  • Will I get a certificate after completing this class?

    Students who enroll in Signature Track will receive a certificate signed by Joe, Scott, John, and Stephen. Note that the class does not offer a Statement of Accomplishment to students who are not enrolled in Signature Track.

  • What resources will I need for this class?

    The only requirement for the class is access to a modern web browser. All coding and program development will be done in a web-based programming environment that supports building interactive applications in Python. The programs that you create will be saved, shared and graded via the cloud.

  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?

    You’ll be able to build your own games in Python.

  • Where can I learn more about the Fundamentals of Computing Specialization?

    You can learn more about this Specialization in the Specialization FAQs!