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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Computational Thinking for Problem Solving by University of Pennsylvania

1,363 ratings

About the Course

Computational thinking is the process of approaching a problem in a systematic manner and creating and expressing a solution such that it can be carried out by a computer. But you don't need to be a computer scientist to think like a computer scientist! In fact, we encourage students from any field of study to take this course. Many quantitative and data-centric problems can be solved using computational thinking and an understanding of computational thinking will give you a foundation for solving problems that have real-world, social impact. In this course, you will learn about the pillars of computational thinking, how computer scientists develop and analyze algorithms, and how solutions can be realized on a computer using the Python programming language. By the end of the course, you will be able to develop an algorithm and express it to the computer by writing a simple Python program. This course will introduce you to people from diverse professions who use computational thinking to solve problems. You will engage with a unique community of analytical thinkers and be encouraged to consider how you can make a positive social impact through computational thinking....

Top reviews


Dec 18, 2018

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


Dec 13, 2022

I recommend this course to everyone who wants to learn about Computation Thinking in an effortless manner. I am delighted with this course. Thanks to UPenn and Coursera for giving me this opportunity.

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51 - 75 of 459 Reviews for Computational Thinking for Problem Solving

By HarshaVardhan P

May 23, 2019

please go with more technical and logical thinking.

By Jim C

Nov 19, 2018

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 K. G

Nov 7, 2020

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

Aug 19, 2019

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

Nov 27, 2018

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

Jul 17, 2020

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.

Thank you,

By Colby C

Jul 30, 2020

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

Apr 29, 2020

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.

By Zachary T

Sep 21, 2020

I overthought several parts towards the beginning just based on my experience, and wish a couple of questions were more clear (e.g. is modifying a variable and reassigning a variable to a different value the same thing? in part 3). I had had someone grading it that was more experienced and spoke my language natively (and I'm sure the feelings are mutual!) but even though I've been studying Python for a few months I learned a few things, especially in the parts on machine language, and also that putting ideas in flowchart form is a good way to impose rigor on one's ideas.

By Bo-yun L

Apr 22, 2020

I've done several intro-level courses In Python programming before but this Is by far the most systematic Introduction to programming I have taken. Even though we didn't do any real programming until week 4 of the course, everything leading up to actual programming was every bit as valuable as learning the actual strokes of programming Itself, If not more valuable as It recalibrates ones brain to break from the normal patterns of Intuitive thinking. I can't wait to begin using what I learned on the job and learn more programming concepts.

By Laurent M

Feb 4, 2021

I recommend this course for people who want to have a solid base before learning a programming language, or for people who are not yet sure in what direction to go (computer science/data science/programming/web development)

The course teaches you the basics of how a computer thinks and how you can use this logical system yourself. I had zero experience with programming. Although because of that the fourth week took me significantly more time and effort than the first three, it was just the amount of challenge I needed. Great course!

By Gaurav K

Aug 11, 2019

A well-structured course to explain computational thinking which can be applied to any complex problem in life (not just IT related). A good lesson on computer architecture to get an understanding on how computers work (was fascinating to know what binary number system means that is used to develop all these complex systems/apps we are surrounded by). It also covers basics of python programming language (Quizzes on them were challenging but exciting part of the course). Look forward to further computer science learning

By Wenfei Z

Oct 1, 2020

Unlike other MOOC programming courses offered, this one teaches you how to think instead of how to follow step by step tutorial. Background in programming would be a very nice thing to have, and homework and projects would be quite challenging for those without prior exposure. The course could be really improved by offering more programming exercises and perhaps more test cases to debug student assignments. Overall, I think this is a good intro course, even for those who already have a background in programming.

By Алексей Е

May 27, 2021

This is a good course if you are going to start your career in IT or if you want to look at programming from the scientific point of view. The real-world examples for this course demonstrated of using computational thinking are as unexpected as interesting. I've understood that computational thinking is more than developing apps. It's a sort of thinking to solve any problems. Finally I wish to express my appreciation to the tutors, Susan Davidson and Chris Murphy, for such amazing experience. Thanks!

By Kimberly O

Nov 14, 2019

This is an exciting course to take and if you are persistent you shall succeed. It really made me flex my brain muscles. This course made me realise how much I love the IT field and gives me motivation to return to this field professionally. I look forward to taking more courses with UPenn. Also, the Teaching Staff gave excellent advice on solving one of my issues in coding. It required no clarification once I took a second revisit at his comments. Thank you for this experience.

By Caleb B

Jul 21, 2019

Compelling lectures paired with practical implementations to reinforce computer science concepts forwarded by Professor Davidson and Professor Murphy makes this course truly stand out among my 5 years of graduate education. The online context allows for both efficient and expedient learning accessible to anyone with an internet connection. I've already began to contrive solutions to real world problems I face daily as a physician using the knowledge acquired from this course. 5/5.

By Holden B W

Nov 11, 2018

Computational Thinking for Problem Solving is one of the best courses I have taken thus far on Coursera. The course is extremely organized, yet challenging (for non-CS majors) and forces one to learn a multitude of concepts that are prevalent in our world today. Hats off to the team at Penn Engineering for creating such a transformative, creative and intuitive approach to computational thinking, and applying the lesson material to real-world problems and solutions.




Dec 7, 2023

The course is an excellent resource for learning the fundamentals of computational thinking. The course structure is comprehensive with effective teaching methods and interactive learning experiences. The auto grader and peer review system provide immediate and personalized feedback respectively. Despite minor drawbacks the course is highly recommended for its practical approach to problem-solving. It’s a shining example of high-quality online education.

By Pauline A G H

May 19, 2019

Even just after finishing week 1, I have noticed an improvement in how I go about the challenges in my work as I was already able to apply the basic concepts of computational thinking. The simplicity of their lectures even as they go through detailed explanations has helped me in understanding the concept and application of this course. I would definitely recommend this. In fact, I already did recommend it to some of my colleagues as I was taking it.

By Greg C

Sep 20, 2019

This was an exceptional course, I learned a lot about the basics of computational thinking, how to break down problems into smaller problems and tackle them one step at a time. You don't realize how much you actually use computational thinking in real-life until you take this course. It progressed to more difficult topics throughout the course but as long as you read the instructions thoroughly you will be able to complete everything without help.

By Andrew H

Jul 5, 2020

This is a challenging course, with a high volume of assignments. I would suggest doing this course by itself (not working on other courses at the same time.) Good progression of instruction and easy explanations. The week 4 programming assignments are challenging and sometimes frustrating, but that goes with it being new. I was able to complete them all within a week without extra assistance, checking the forum a few times.

By Nathan S K

May 13, 2019

This was an excellent course. The instructors are very thorough and patient in their explanations of the topics. Having taken online courses previously, I felt that the approach of learning first how to think like a programmer, then finally executing code once that foundation was laid, helped me better understand how these concepts could be scaled and structured to fit a variety of real-world scenarios. Thank you!

By Karen K

Jun 27, 2022

Excellent course. The instructors are really knowledgable and provided many excellent examples that relates to real life examples. The approach to learning Python was great - I was surprised at how quickly I could program and quite interested in learning more programming. In addition to working on a project throughout the course, the case studies were awesome - interesting and helpful.

By Denise D

Apr 4, 2022

I am so thankful for this class! I cannot believe how much I have learned in such a short amount of time. Prior to this class, I would look at problems and become so overwhelmed and have absolutely no idea where to begin. This class has given me the ability to break the problem down into smaller problems, solve those problems, and then bring it all back together again. Thank you so much!

By Ali E

Apr 26, 2020

The course content is really great. It's kind of a crash course of all the parts of a problem-solving in computational thinking. I was surprised that this course content included analyzing algorithms as well in such a short time. That's great! The instructors explained many concepts clearly. I recommend this course since everyone needs to think in a computational way in today's world.