About this Course
[As described below, this is Part C of a 3-part course. Participants should complete Parts A and B first -- Part C "dives right in" and refers often to material from Part A and Part B.] This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of programming languages, with a strong emphasis on functional programming. The course uses the languages ML, Racket, and Ruby as vehicles for teaching the concepts, but the real intent is to teach enough about how any language “fits together” to make you more effective programming in any language -- and in learning new ones. This course is neither particularly theoretical nor just about programming specifics -- it will give you a framework for understanding how to use language constructs effectively and how to design correct and elegant programs. By using different languages, you will learn to think more deeply than in terms of the particular syntax of one language. The emphasis on functional programming is essential for learning how to write robust, reusable, composable, and elegant programs. Indeed, many of the most important ideas in modern languages have their roots in functional programming. Get ready to learn a fresh and beautiful way to look at software and how to have fun building it. The course assumes some prior experience with programming, as described in more detail in the first module of Part A. Part B assumes successful completion of Part A. The course is divided into three Coursera courses: Part A, Part B, and Part C. As explained in more detail in the first module of Part A, the overall course is a substantial amount of challenging material, so the three-part format provides two intermediate milestones and opportunities for a pause before continuing. The three parts are designed to be completed in order and set up to motivate you to continue through to the end of Part C. Week 1 of Part A has a more detailed list of topics for all three parts of the course, but it is expected that most course participants will not (yet!) know what all these topics mean.

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Approx. 18 hours to complete

Suggested: 8-16 hours/week
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Subtitles: English

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Approx. 18 hours to complete

Suggested: 8-16 hours/week
Comment Dots


Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course


1 hour to complete

Introduction, Course-Wide Information, and Software Installation (Start Here)

Welcome! Start here! Learn about this course and how it's organized. ...
3 videos (Total 11 min), 3 readings
Video3 videos
Overview of Part C Concepts4m
Part C Course Structure3m
Reading3 readings
Start Here!10m
Part C Software Installation and Use: Ruby and irb30m
Installing and Using SML and Emacs0m
7 hours to complete

Section 8 and Homework 6 (First Module with Ruby)

Let's get started programming with Ruby, including learning about Ruby's variant of (almost) function closures and the "inheritance and overriding" that is the essence of object-oriented programming. The welcome message has a few additional comments about "what makes Ruby different" and how to approach the (rather different) homework assignment, so let's get started......
19 videos (Total 192 min), 10 readings, 2 quizzes
Video19 videos
Classes and Objects12m
Object State13m
A Longer Example12m
Everything is an Object8m
Class Definitions are Dynamic7m
Duck Typing7m
Using Blocks6m
Hashes and Ranges8m
Why Use Subclassing?7m
Overriding and Dynamic Dispatch10m
Method-Lookup Rules, Precisely11m
Dynamic Dispatch Versus Closures9m
Optional: Dynamic Dispatch Manually in Racket15m
Reading10 readings
Section 8 Welcome Message7m
Section 8 Reading Notes0m
Code Files for All Section 8 Videos0m
Explanation of "Lesson Choices"5m
Homework 6 Instructions0m
Homework 6 Detailed Peer-Assessment Instructions0m
Homework 6 Detailed Guidelines for Peer Assessment0m
Homework 6 Detailed Guidelines for Peer Assessment0m
Homework 6 Detailed Guidelines for Peer Assessment0m
Practice Problems for Another Game in Ruby0m


5 hours to complete

Section 9 and Homework 7 (Second Module With Ruby)

Welcome to the second week of Part C where we will focus on how functional programming and object-oriented programming encourage such "exactly opposite" decompositions of problems that they are "more alike than you might realize". This is a key opportunity to synthesize much of what we have learned so far. As the welcome message discusses in more detail, we will go a bit beyond this to touch on some related advanced topics and then dive into the last -- and challenging -- programming assignment, which involves porting an interpreter from ML to Ruby....
9 videos (Total 91 min), 10 readings, 2 quizzes
Video9 videos
Adding Operations or Variants11m
Binary Methods with Functional Decomposition7m
Double Dispatch14m
Optional: Multimethods6m
Multiple Inheritance10m
Optional: Abstract Methods8m
Reading10 readings
Section 9 Welcome Message5m
Section 9 Reading Notes0m
Code Files for All Section 9 Videos0m
Explanation of "Lesson Choices"5m
Homework 7 Instructions0m
Homework 7 Peer Review Detailed Instructions0m
Homework 7 Peer Review Detailed Instructions0m
Homework 7 Peer Review Detailed Instructions0m
Homework 7 Peer Review Detailed Instructions0m
Practice Problem for Double Dispatch and ML-to-Ruby0m


5 hours to complete

Section 10, Final Exam, and Course Wrap-Up

We have reached the last module of Programming Languages! We first study subtyping, how it relates to static types for object-oriented programming, and how it relates to generics. There is no assignment or quiz devoted only to this last "new material", but there is a "final exam" covering Part B and Part C of the course. Enjoy studying for the exam, and don't miss the final "wrap-up" lesson when you're all done!...
10 videos (Total 92 min), 4 readings, 2 quizzes
Video10 videos
The Subtype Relation8m
Depth Subtyping8m
Optional: Java/C# Arrays9m
Function Subtyping11m
Subtyping for OOP11m
Generics Versus Subtyping8m
Bounded Polymorphism8m
Summarizing All We Have Learned10m
Saying Good-Bye :-)4m
Reading4 readings
Section 10 Welcome Message5m
Section 10 Reading Notes0m
(Lack of) Section 10 Code Files0m
Information About the Exam (Required Reading)0m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Practice Final Exam0m
Actual Final Exam0m


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Top Reviews

By JHDec 27th 2016

I took this course about 10 years off the college, and it was excellent refresher on the topics I don't use on a daily basis. Absolutely great lecturer, great videos and study materials!

By NVSep 14th 2017

One of the best courses of my career. This was truly programming languages. You'll look at your programs, in any language you use, in a whole different way! Highly recommended!



Dan Grossman


About University of Washington

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the oldest state-supported institutions of higher education on the West Coast and is one of the preeminent research universities in the world....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • If you pay for this course, you will have access to all of the features and content you need to earn a Course Certificate. If you complete the course successfully, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. Note that the Course Certificate does not represent official academic credit from the partner institution offering the course.

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