Excellent course for beginners with enough depth, programming and computational theory to increase their computer science knowledge to a higher level. It builds a good foundation of how computers work
The course is very well-designed and it helped me develop understand how to apply computational thinking in solving various types of problems as well as acquire basic skills of programming in Python.
By Manan S•
A really well-taught course by astute professors. Its assignments are to the point and not much abstract with good amount of challenging questions especially the last module of the course
By Raymond G L K•
Course content is good, graded assignments are good, I just had problems with my assignments in week 4 as I easily became confused with the implementation of all the lessons combined.
By Deleted A•
An excellent bridge into introductory computer science topics. Professors Susan Davidson and Chris Murphy exposed learners to computer science concepts within everyday problems.
By Bobby M•
Thoroughly enjoyed the course. If you are new to computer science or need a refresher of the basic concepts you learned in high school / college, this is the perfect course
By Henry C•
Enjoyed the learning and the structure of the course. Felt like I got a good introduction to Python. Learned a bunch about algorithms. I marked a star off because the online grading sometimes was vague. Additionally, it took a while to get feedback. I had a bit of programming experience, so I didn't have a huge challenge, but I can imagine if you are totally new, the assignments are really hard. It would be difficult to get the help and feedback that you need on their online forum system.
By Matthew M•
the auto-grader for programming assignments can be a bit unforgiving at times, but the course is challenging and thorough for a month-long course. Would recommend. To improve experience with the auto grader some more hints in the assignment page could help, for example offering some explanation of the return function before, rather than after, a quiz that required its use.
By Samantha K•
I really enjoy the online session. It gives a preview of what MCIT would look like. Having said that, I would suggest to extend the week 4 session to two-week long and explain Python in greater detail. Since most students are new to coding, people are struggling including myself.
By Joseph R•
The course is great. I learned a lot. The support for the course is SUPER slow. It's hard to get any direct help for any questions or issues that you are having. Beware of assignment 4.7!
By Tomas L•
Great! I learned the value of planning before coding. However, I would like this course to be more challenging.
By Renée F•
could benefit from more active assistance with assignments, especially section 4
By LUO Z•
The content is good. But it's hard to get feedback from TA.
By Anna C•
This was definitely a very frustrating course. Most, if not all, assignments were not built on the video lectures. The phrasing of questions and instructions were confusing at times. I think the most frustrating thing of all was the time it took me to google all the "knowledge" that were necessary to complete the assignments, because they were not taught in the course at all. This was an introductory course to see if I would like the Master's degree that they are offering, but after this course, I don't think I would enjoy it. I think it is a good course, but there is definitely room for improvement.
By Brian P•
Very valuable information in this course. The first 3 weeks were instructional and pretty easy going. Once the Python section hits in week 4, it gets a lot more difficult. Don't expect help from Discussion Boards or Teacher's Assistance; they won't respond for at least a week. As with other reviewers on here, I spent hours on the last few assignments in week 4, sometimes searching online forums and seeking help elsewhere.
By arav v•
week 4 is impossible to complete with the knowledge they provide.The first three weeks were nice
By Mohammad H•
Although I do appreciate the high quality of the videos, pdf documents, and resources in the course, I have to rate the course 1 star.
First and foremost, the first week was doable for me personally, as an absolute beginner in computer science. However, the course quickly ramps up its intensity.
I found that a lot of the exercises and assignments were way beyond the level of the information taught and discussed in the video lectures.
I understand that as future developers and computer scientists, we are to try to look things up and understand things on our own, but I cannot help but feel that the gap between the lectures and the actual assignments is way too wide for an absolute beginner.
I think that if this course was targeted for an intermediate learner, it would deserve four to five stars, most definitely. However, for an absolute beginner, it's a bit too much to handle the assignments.
Also, the instructions for the assignments are very long and drawn out. It's hard to begin working on an assignment when it's asking so many things of you all at once. Many of these assignments, I feel, could have been split up into mini-assignments instead. It was too overwhelming and often times I had to figure out where to find the information that I needed in order to proceed.
I was excited to get to the part which actually runs through python coding, however, I too found this part to be too overwhelming and difficult.
The course goes from 0-100 real quick, and in my opinion, is much more suitable and doable for intermediate learners of the subject, not for beginners.
By Katie G•
The last week of coding projects were well above what was taught in the course. The other weeks answers to the quizzes and projects could be understood through watching videos provided. The coding projects required more research outside of the class and I also needed two different tutors. I would not recommend this course or any other course through university of Penn solely based on this experience. I did reach out to a TA and received a response within 12 hours.
By Nicholas K•
I don't like peer reviews without any other kind of review from administrators for example. Half of the people taking this course misunderstand things. I strongly recommend avoiding this.
By Harsha v P•
please go with more technical and logical thinking.
By Jim C•
The instruction -- as well as production quality -- of the course was outstanding, the course was very well paced and laid out, with each new week building upon learned concepts from the previous. I had done some online tutorials in various coding languages in the past, but this course is different in that it devotes the majority of the time to really break down a problem and think about it -- computationally -- before writing a single line of code. This made the final portion of the course, implementing the solution in Python, so much more rewarding, enjoyable and fun. It all came together and I just felt so satisfied seeing the results.
The instructors (Chris Murphy and Susan Davidson) did a truly outstanding job explaining each concept and walking through examples to reinforce -- and both even threw in some humor for good measure, which helped to soften a very scientific and stereotyped field.
This course was a great intro for those questioning whether or not they are truly interested in Comp Sci, as it makes you take a simple everyday problem and think about it in a computational way. There are thousands of coding tutorials online but I would highly recommend taking this course first as it acts as almost a primer to getting your thought process in the right mindset before even looking at a programming language.
By Kathleen G•
Dr. Davidson and Dr. Murphy provide an excellent introductory course on how to think like a computer scientist. The course was perfect for me as I am looking to change careers from natural scientist to computer scientist. As I have some computer science background, part of the course was a refresher, but it was never boring or patronizing. The course is highly organized and grading is either peer-based or automatic. The discussion forums as well as staff-produced hints were very helpful. I highly recommend Computational Thinking for Problem Solving for anyone who is looking at moving into the computer science field, or just wants to be able to use computer science principles when approaching problems in their own field.
By Jennifer M•
The first three weeks of the course were excellent, especially the way in which algorithms are explained. Students then have the opportunity to gain experience via various assignments. The issue for me came in week 4. While the assignments at face value were not overly complex, completing them took more time than they should have. That is due partially to having to conduct research outside of the course materials in order to accomplish the objective. If this was made clear in the instructions it would have been less of an issue. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the instructors, and the TA was very responsive to questions/problems.
By Holland D•
This course is perfect for introducing those without a Computer Science background to the world of CS! By the end of the course you will be writing your own code. The professors are absolutely AMAZING and the effort put into designing this course is evident in each Lesson. I found that the material was clear, easy to understand, and incredibly useful. It teaches how to think in a computational way that is both holistic and streamlined. Overall, this was a fun, informative, and motivating course that I would HIGHLY recommend to everyone! I would take it again if I wasn't so excited to learn more Python!
By Reza K G•
This course is a beneficial and practical course for people who do not have any prior knowledge of computer science. The course covers the essential concepts of thinking as a computer scientist, in other words thinking in a logical way to solve a problem accurately.
This course is not only useful for the novice but also it is an excellent refreshment for any computer science graduates or even professionals to review the foundations of computer science and programming in an attractive way that a decent university such as Penn offers.
Both professors are amazing, and I have learned a lot.
By Colby C•
Overall, this was an awesome class and I was able to learn quite a bit. Having a background in IT, but not in computer science, I was able to learn the process behind computational thinking and how applications can be broken down and solved in steps. I had taken a few programing class while in undergrad but hadn't been taught the four pillars of computational thinking. Getting an introduction to Python was great as well and I plan on working with it in more detail. This class has really sparked my interest in all things computing and I plan on applying to the MCIT online program.
By Riccardo M G•
Excellent course for anyone with no prior experience in programming (or very basic, as was my case). It shows how to apply structured thinking to problem-solving, whether in a computational or an everyday situation. The assignments and exercises were great, and in some cases, you learn by reviewing other people's work. I finally learned how to program in Python (at least the basics), something I've been wanting for a long time! Congratulations to the University of Pennsylvania for creating this high-quality online course. Now I hope to keep learning more about this subject.