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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Problem Solving, Python Programming, and Video Games by University of Alberta

201 ratings

About the Course

This course is an introduction to computer science and programming in Python. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: 1. Take a new computational problem and solve it, using several problem solving techniques including abstraction and problem decomposition. 2. Follow a design creation process that includes: descriptions, test plans, and algorithms. 3. Code, test, and debug a program in Python, based on your design. Important computer science concepts such as problem solving (computational thinking), problem decomposition, algorithms, abstraction, and software quality are emphasized throughout. This course uses problem-based learning. The Python programming language and video games are used to demonstrate computer science concepts in a concrete and fun manner. The instructional videos present Python using a conceptual framework that can be used to understand any programming language. This framework is based on several general programming language concepts that you will learn during the course including: lexics, syntax, and semantics. Other approaches to programming may be quicker, but are more focused on a single programming language, or on a few of the simplest aspects of programming languages. The approach used in this course may take more time, but you will gain a deeper understanding of programming languages. After completing the course, in addition to learning Python programming, you will be able to apply the knowledge and skills you acquired to: non-game problems, other programming languages, and other computer science courses. You do not need any previous programming, Python, or video game experience. However, several basic skills are needed: computer use (e.g., mouse, keyboard, document editing), elementary mathematics, attention to detail (as with many technical subjects), and a “just give it a try” spirit will be keys to your success. Despite the use of video games for the main programming project, PVG is not about computer games. For each new programming concept, PVG uses non-game examples to provide a basic understanding of computational principles, before applying these programming concepts to video games. The interactive learning objects (ILO) of the course provide automatic, context-specific guidance and feedback, like a virtual teaching assistant, as you develop problem descriptions, functional test plans, and algorithms. The course forums are supported by knowledgeable University of Alberta personnel, to help you succeed. All videos, assessments, and ILOs are available free of charge. There is an optional Coursera certificate available for a fee....

Top reviews


Oct 2, 2021

excellent course. The syntax analysis was rather hard at times but it gave a more systematic approach to programming. What gained over programming skills is actually efficiency in programming.


Sep 27, 2022

This course helps a lot in understanding the algorithms of programming. Moreover, the way of learning is helpful to understand other languages other than python.

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1 - 25 of 65 Reviews for Problem Solving, Python Programming, and Video Games

By Joel S

Aug 6, 2019

I really enjoyed this as an introduction to Python course, mostly because it went beyond the confines of the specific programming language and addressed the problem-solving and design process at a more fundamental level. This seems really important as the approach is ultimately more important than the specific tool used to do the job. I feel this gave me a nice grounding in the workings of the Python interpreter and I have a good idea about how to go about approaching different types of programming challenges.

I did encounter some challenges along the way with some of the testing items, especially toward the end of the course. In some of the programming hurdles, I found it difficult to figure out what exactly the input of the program would be, so it was hard for me to prepare the class or function to handle. That led to some situations where my version of the program worked as directed, but I kept getting rejected by the test version. This got frustrating but I muddled through. The help of one of the staff (Jullienne) was so helpful in finally getting through one of these issues.

I also must say that some of the most challenge I faced was in the algorithm builder. Those are just so hard to get right. Something about it is just not intuitive and the hints are sometimes oddly misleading. The builder does use embedding well, but something about it is not quite obvious. I feel like if I could see the whole thing broken down as on one page (like an x-bar diagram in linguistics), it would all be obvious. But since you can't see all the parts at the same time, it's hard to remember the other variables that are going on off-screen. The frustration level was high with those exercises.

I really enjoyed the presentations by the teaching team. It's quite analytical delivery (which I like) and I often found myself replaying the videos multiple times to ensure that I got things correct. Many thanks to the team for their effort in designing and delivering the course. Your care for your craft is very apparent and I appreciate that level of dedication.

I must confess that in the last few versions of Poke the Dots, I couldn't get my version to function properly and I had to just push forward to force the solution. I think I have a handle of the general idea and I understand how they reached the solution in the last two versions, but I just couldn't quite make it happen in my version. I'm pretty disappointed in myself for that, but I guess I will just have to accept it.

Anyway, thank you so much and please feel free to contact me with any follow up questions on my experience.

By jared k

Oct 21, 2019

The lexical, syntactic and semantic quizzes in this course created more confusion than clarity. Also PyGame doesn't work in a number of GUI's (including IDLE), making the course significantly more difficult to complete.

By Quan C

Dec 13, 2019

If you want to learn Python in a practical way, don't choose this course. Too many quits ask you to analysis Semantics problems of stupid codes- Who cares?

By keesari s

Sep 19, 2019

As a postgraduate student, I find this course very interesting. I like their way of conveying. Thank you coursera.

By Daniel W

Jun 3, 2020

Could cut 2/3 of the content of this course and get the same result

By Juan I R E

Mar 12, 2020

The course is very boring. Hard to stay awake

By Liau K S

Feb 28, 2020

I have learnt a lot from this course and it is what i need as well. I do really appreciate that you guys allow me to have this course thank you so much.

By Sandy H

Sep 26, 2019

Very Informative by helping you learn programming long term!

By Aaron L

May 24, 2020

This is an excellent course, for both absolute beginners and those with a basic programming background. I feel like I learned a lot of the principles of program design and problem solving. However, the algorithm building exercises are a headache and led me to more frustration than actual learning!

By John C

Dec 29, 2020

More than just a python tutorial, the course develops a correct approach to the whole programming process. (Really) frustrating at times, when your answers do not match the automatic assessment, but rewarding when you correctly interpret the task and provide the expected solution.

I was surprised at how many topics the course covered. There are omissions, but as a vehicle to take the student from little Python knowledge to someone who can attempt to write a reasonable program, it works.

The videos are well done, some required rewatching several times to understand the subtlety or density of the topic. The interpreting and programming exercises were very enjoyable; less so the lexical, syntactic and semantic exercises. I particularly remember failing a 26 question exercise to correctly sequence all semantic steps for a small piece of code. Personally, I didn't find all the answers were in the course material. I found other help online to complete the course programming quizzes.

This course took a fair amount of effort, (I'm not a programmer), but it was an effective use of time whilst engaged in a Covid isolation after returning from a trip abroad, followed by a later lock-down.

Thank you to all involved.

By Brandon P

Sep 3, 2020

A great course for introduction to Python and Video Games. I took this course to get more insights on Python since I learned a little before college started and now, I got a feel of this new type of skill. Taking this course kept me busy during these tough times and I am glad that I found this course and other courses to keep me moving forward with a new type of knowledge that I will use for my career. Thank you! It was a little difficult at the end of both games creation and a few programming assignments seem very overwhelming to complete so make sure you are understanding the lecture videos, researching your issues and ask questions on the forum.

By Allyson R

Oct 21, 2020

Great course! I learned a lot and it gave me a good feel for programming.

By Ben S

Sep 27, 2019

it's a bit boring

By Yung-Chuan C

Jun 6, 2020

Great class with detailed lecture and wisely designed assignment. The syntax analysis and semantic analysis sections are a bit beyond the programing prospective but more like the languange development. Some people may appreciate it if they are interested in the mechanism behind Python, but I'm not really in to it.

By Silvia T

May 14, 2020

Great course for learning or revising problem-solving and python programming. The course offers step by step exercises and projects. The discussion in the forum also provides additional support. Highly recommended!

By Abishek N

Oct 3, 2021

excellent course. The syntax analysis was rather hard at times but it gave a more systematic approach to programming. What gained over programming skills is actually efficiency in programming.

By Itamar P

Dec 22, 2019

Great course, teaches you all you need to know. Recommended.

By Vin

May 16, 2020

Explanations were good but when it comes to how assessments are presented, it needs to be modified for a learner to follow.

By Rita B

Jul 23, 2020

I have done everything to download the VirtualBox. I have followed directions and read the Q & A and it does not work and i cannot proceed. I am unenrolling.

By Saad A M

May 31, 2020

Has too many issues in setting up the environment and the staff just left my issue unresolved I dont know if on purpose or by mistake

By Arvin S

Dec 16, 2021

This course takes you from a beginner and develop you to become to an intermediate level. I advise whoever wishing to start this course to practice a lot with WING IDE once your course start you wont have the leisure to practice. If you are a beginner allocate 4-5 days per week. Don't give up, there is always a solution to the problem you will get. Week 5,6,7 might be the most difficult after that its quite easy. You will have 2 super gentle ladies replying to you in the forum. They will guide you. Only thing i think will help future students is if we could have link to external resources for each week. Some time it happens we cant follow a tutor then what follow is difficult to understand. Looking at the same video 100 times wont change anything. We just need a different tutor with with different teaching techniques. Overall i am vey happy and gladly recommend this course.

By Eric T

Jun 8, 2021

This course was exactly what I was looking for, I needed an intro to programming within video games but all the other courses I have taken did not go into the concepts in depth. I really liked how they broke down the creation of description, algorithms, and test plans within each version of the games we made. Without someone there to assist you it can be difficult and I spent way too long on certain parts because I had to go to the forum or trouble shoot online. But I do appreciate it in a way, all the things I struggled on I will not forget and being able to trouble shoot online is a necessary skill when it comes to coding. Great intro course, I would definitely recommend it to someone looking to get into the gaming industry.

By Jeremy K

Aug 4, 2022

Found this to be a very thorough introduction to Python and quite different from other programming courses I have participated in. I liked the way the course focussed on creating successively more complex versions of the applications and introducing the required skills as necessary. The emphasis on syntax and semantics was quite heavy but it did provide a good insight into how the interpreter functions. I found the explanations of object oriented techniques such as namespaces and classes to be a lot clearer than those I have been exposed to be previously in books and other courses. I appreciate how well the course was organized and clearly a lot of effort was put into the structure and delivery. Thank you.

By 19_061 w A

Jun 23, 2022

Kursus ini memberikan pemahaman mengenai ilmu komputer khusunya pemrograman bahasa python. Selain itu, kursus ini juga mempelajari PVG atau python vidio game, dimana python dan vidio game digunakan untuk mendemonstrasikan ilmu komputer dengan konsep yang lebih menyenangkan, sehingga belajar tidak jadi membosankan namun lebih menyenangkan

This course provides an understanding of computer science, especially python programming. In addition, this course also studies PVG or python video games, where python and video games are used to demonstrate computer science with more fun concepts, so learning is not boring but more fun.

By Mititiuc E

Jul 9, 2022

Thank you very much to University of Alberta's team for this excellent course. I really enjoyed it. I learnt a lot of new and useful things which will help me a lot in my career. Even if I had an experience in programming before starting this course, thanks to it I could understand how a programming language works. Anyway, I recongnize that the course wasn't easy. Sometimes It was really difficult to understand some concepts, but If you work hard, you will understand everything. I recommend this course to everyone.