More than 54K sign up for Rice Coursera class
Rice University's first "massive open online course" on the education website Coursera had more than 54,000 students register for participation.
The course, which began Monday, Oct. 15, lasts eight weeks and focuses on introductory computer programming. Students taking the course will learn the computer language Python and receive assignments to create games such as "Pong," "Blackjack" and "Asteroids."
Joe Warren, one of four instructors, said in a press release, "I feel like an astronaut on top of a rocket that's about to blast off. I'm excited and confident this is going to work. In the back of my mind, no matter how much you prepare, it's just like that rocket: There's always a chance that something can go wrong."
Warren and his co-instructors created the new technology that makes teaching computer programming possible using the MOOC environment on the Coursera site. Coursera first launched in April and hosts content from 12 world-renowned universities on one website.
Included with the eight-week course are more than 70 video lectures, each lasting only a few minutes. Weekly quizzes and assignments where students write 100-200 lines of code are also given. If the codes are properly written, students can then play the game they created and email links to friends.
CodeSkulptor, created by Rice associate professor Scott Rixner, plays an important role in the class, allowing students to write and run Python programs without leaving their web browsers.
"It runs at least 100 times faster than anything else out there, and that's what makes it possible to teach this class with games," Warren said in the release. "No one else can support graphics like this in a real-time web-based Python environment."
To register for the course, visit www.coursera.org/course/interactivepython.
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