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Back to Programming Languages, Part A

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Programming Languages, Part A by University of Washington

4.9
stars
1,489 ratings
441 reviews

About the Course

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. 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. The three parts are not quite equal in length: Part A is almost as substantial as Part B and Part C combined. 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....

Top reviews

YZ
Dec 2, 2016

I'm just a beginner for CS or SE classes, and find this course really concise and challenging. It opens a door for me to get deeper into programming language. No wonder it got so high average score.

VA
Mar 4, 2018

Very interesting course! Superb teaching and homework assignments. If you are interested in functional programming or in programming languages in general, this should be one of the must take MOOCs

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51 - 75 of 436 Reviews for Programming Languages, Part A

By GONG L

Feb 11, 2017

It is an exhilarating experience to learn Programming Languages A. Although this course seems a little vapid and unexceptional at first, it becomes more and more fascinating from Week 2 to Week 4. It is true that the assignment is challenging. On the other hand, it is quite absorbing, and my understanding of programming reached a new level after finishing each homework.

By Chris S

May 20, 2019

This course introduces a new style of programming to what most programmers are familiar with, and has been incredibly eye-opening for me personally. The lectures are delivered in a clear and crisp manner, and the instructor definitely shows enthusiasm for the material. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wishing to broaden their programming skill set.

By Sergey Z

Feb 4, 2017

I've never thought about thunks, closures and so on. Looks like I've known only about syntax. Now I think more about semantics. The greatest thing is that I'm really started better understand programming languages. Thanks to Dan and all participants for this experience. I'm not sure I would be so involved without such a good explanation of the course materials.

By Johnathan F

Jan 14, 2018

Courses I've taken on programming languages often focus on one language. You learn the different concepts for that one language but don't understand why the language chose those concepts and what the alternatives are. By covering three languages, this course integrates the concepts and their alternatives to give you a solid understanding of how languages work.

By steve b

Feb 19, 2021

Very good, polished course. Clearly many picky students have improved it in the eight years since it was posted. It was my first exposure to pure functional programming. I had never programmed without loops or assignment statements before. I gained some insight into certain features of Java and python, even though those weren't really mentioned in the course.

By Ahmad N

Jul 23, 2017

Even though I have been programming for a couple of years, this is the course that happens to be the most helpful for me when it comes to thinking about programming languages. The choice of ML as the primary language has helped me a lot at getting up to speed with Haskell. I look forward to taking Part B. Excellent content... and definitely recommended!

By Deleted A

Sep 8, 2020

Thx ossu for discover for me this course. Thank you Dan for creating such amazing course and Dan's dogs who supporting Dan while he creating this course This course was pretty challenging for me, but the given knowlenge worth it. I highly recommend pick this course to broadening your one's horizons about different programming idioms and concepts.

By Kyle K

Jun 24, 2020

Awesome course all around. Instructor is amazing and the content is really fun and interesting. The assignments are fun, challenging, and well done. It gave me a really fresh perspective on languages and programming in general. It was eye-opening to see a very different way at approaching problem solving by using SML and the ideas are really cool.

By Giuseppe S

Nov 1, 2019

It is a must

I followed other CS coursers but this stands for clarity on explanations of concepts that are an important part of a programming language that is based on the functional paradigm.

You will use recursion since the begin and finally understand it, assignments are engaging but not too difficult and are strictly related to lectures subjects

By Sida L

Feb 7, 2018

Impressive course that will definitely open a new door for anyone, yes, anyone, who is obssessed with OOP like C# or Java like me. The magic of functional programming, unlike the "classes" in OOP, is its conciseness, straight-forwardness, and elements of math underlied in every recursion, function and number. I love this course soooo much!

By Julie L

May 21, 2019

What a great course this was. I really enjoyed getting to learn SML, which I hadn't been familiar with, previously. I actually enrolled to get formal exposure to Racket, but it turns out that is covered in Part B. I was pleasantly surprised by SML. I'm looking forward to taking parts B and C. Thank you for a fun and enjoyable class. :)

By Gabriel D d A

Jun 11, 2020

Great introduction to functional programming!

I'm a somewhat experienced developer (10 years of work experience) and my interest in functional programing started with Scala development using Spark. I'm able to use the language and framework, but theoretical understanding were lacking, this course helped to clarify a lot of things.

By Zev W

Jul 25, 2020

Great course. Covers a lot of material and you should definitely expect to put in the full amount of time suggested. The instructor is great, and the course materials and assignments are very well thought out. Highly recommend if you are interested in foundations of functional programming or programming languages generally.

By Sunil B

Jan 10, 2018

A good introduction to functional programming concepts. Lecture video and reading materials are clear and concise. Programming challenges are fair and helps internalise the concepts. The teaching & support staff are very helpful. Wish this team would offer a followup course on 'how to design programming languages'.

By danijel k

Nov 10, 2017

The best teacher I've had chance to listen to. I've completed his corse on programming languages several years ago but always like to return and listen again. It's two things like good movie one can always return to and learn something new, or learn how to be a good teacher, and as Dan says: painting that fence. :)

By Thassilo H

Sep 20, 2017

One of the best Courses I have taken so far: Fantastic and interesting content, highly engaging instructor, and great assignments. The course has a lot of content, and you really get to learn the basic ideas of functional programming and not just the syntax of a new programming language. Looking forward for Part B!

By Henrik B

Nov 22, 2017

The course requires quite a lot of effort, but this I like, If you have to spend time understanding things, doing homework the greater the reward. I think Dan is really good at explaining things, going through the different concepts in a good pace.

I would recommend this to others if they have the time to spend.

By Damien E B

Oct 20, 2019

Although I found some of the HW questions confusing, this was probably the best course I have taken on coursera so far. It has already changed the way I approach writing code in imperative languages, i.e., looking for elegant, recursive solutions, and it has piqued my interest in learning functional languages.

By Pablo A

Jun 25, 2017

Best programming course I have ever taken in person or online. Dan Grossman has to be one of the most enthusiastic and clear computing science professors. The material on Part A was far more effective to learn principles of functional programming than the many books and talks I have read and watched. Thanks!

By Sean J A

Mar 4, 2019

One of my favorite classes, I retake it just because I enjoy it, and it is a good refresher. Dan has crafted a fine class, everything he teaches is concise and accurate. Now that I have begun my career as a developer, it is easy to see the knowledge in these lessons has been well honed from experience.

By Pooh B

Aug 20, 2020

The best MOOC I've ever taken in terms of presenting the material and keeping the assignments challenging but doable. As for the material, I think it's essential to understand the tradeoffs between various modern programming languages, and a great intruduction the functional programming specifically.

By Moatasem S

Jan 26, 2019

A very, very solid foundation in functional programming and programming in general. I recommend this for anyone who is starting to pick a functional language like Elixir for example and still find difficulties getting around it. Dan's fun way of teaching will make it feel almost second nature to you.

By Priyank

Mar 26, 2017

Great to know someone is teaching ML in 2017! It was great to learn functional programming principles from the ground up. I struggled a lot with 'Functional Programming in Scala' since teaching functional programming wasn't its primary focus. Look forward to taking Part B of the specialization!

By Pratik A

May 8, 2017

It is, in my opinion, one of the best course to get started with functional programming concepts. Tail recursion, currying and pattern matching are powerful concepts, that are very well taught by Prof Dan. I absolutely recommend this course to everyone who wishes to be a good programmer.

By Frederick M

Jan 3, 2017

Great way to get an intro to functional programming and review recursion. Workload was very manageable while working full time -- and still challenging enough to learn a lot. Looking forward to building off what was taught by learning F# and contributing to some open source projects.