Introduction to Python – tools and tips

Welcome to Introduction to Python. Here you’ll find the essential information about how the course will run and how to get set up for the first session. If you are signed up for a tutored course, you will have received a link to an individual class page with any specific instructions for your group.

How we will work

Each week you will get a list of pre-course reading/watching/listening and activities to try out this new information and to gather any questions about it. You are expected to spend at least 2 hours on these activities. There is a lot of material on some of the weeks to ensure that everyone has plenty to look at. The material will be marked as ‘The essentials’, ‘Stretch yourself’ and ‘Challenge yourself’. If you are able to complete the ‘essentials’ section, then you’re doing fine.

You will also have a two hour tutorial – either in person, or online. This time will be spent on discussions of the new information, and practical exercises to maximise the benefit of our time together.

Tools

I have created this course so that you can do everything within a modern browser, with no paid accounts (though a paid account may make your life easier)

We are going to use Trinket – an online editor and interpreter – for our work. Feel free to use other options such as the IDLE IDE or any text editor with an installed interpreter if you are comfortable setting those up.

If you use the free trinket account, you will need to copy/paste and save your work at the end of each session (and ideally intermittently during your work, just in case!) The paid account, that allows storage between sessions, is $3 per month, so if you don’t have access to a computer that you can install IDLE on, this may be a good option for you.

Some of our courses may include a short subscription to Trinket’s Code+ plan to allow you a greater range of features.

Pre-course actions:

  • Read a bit about Python syntax
  • Sign up to trinket and create a free account – or a subscription if you prefer
  • If you don’t already have one, sign up for a google account. It’s an excellent way to store your code between sessions if you don’t have a paid trinket account – and if you’re using our chromebooks, you can use this account to log in to make sure any work you do is stored between sessions.
  • Create a twitter account (again, if you don’t already have one). We are going to use hashtags to share our work or get help between sessions. Each session/topic will have its own hashtag, letting you see what people who have worked on the course before have done. Once you’ve done this, tweet us with #CWKreadytogo to show us you’re up and running
  • Create a discord account. We are going to be using our own server for our tutorials, but there will also be generic channels for you to discuss your learning, and your ongoing projects. You will need this link to join our server
  • Create a wordpress account. (optional). A blog is an excellent way of recording more detailed thoughts and questions about our learning, and to give you a record of your progress to refer to later. Later in the course there will be activities that offer the option of tweet or blog replies. Feel free to include this url in your #CWKreadytogo tweet
  • If you have any problems, tweet @codewithkat with the hashtag #CWKpythonhelp and we’ll see what we can do. If there’s a course running or about to start you’ll find this hashtag will be monitored regularly. If you want to help your peers, check out that hashtag and see if you can answer their questions

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