Computer Science

Introduction to Programming

If you’ve never written a for-loop, or don’t know what a string is in programming, start here. These courses are self-paced, allowing you to adjust the number of hours you spend per week to meet your needs.

We are currently looking for volunteers to try out both of the following two courses and analyze them in different ways to determine which one is better suited to be included in our curriculum. We suggest that you flip a coin to decide which one to take first, so that you avoid an ordering bias. Once you have completed both courses, please provide your analysis of this RFC.

If you don’t have time or do not want to volunteer, you are required to do only ONE of the following courses.

CS50P: Introduction to Programming with Python

This course has been developed by the CS50 team at Harvard University.

An introduction to programming using a language called Python. Learn how to read and write code as well as how to test and “debug” it. Designed for students with or without prior programming experience who’d like to learn Python specifically. Learn about functions, arguments, and return values (oh my!); variables and types; conditionals and Boolean expressions; and loops. Learn how to handle exceptions, find and fix bugs, and write unit tests; use third-party libraries; validate and extract data with regular expressions; model real-world entities with classes, objects, methods, and properties; and read and write files. Hands-on opportunities for lots of practice. Exercises inspired by real-world programming problems. No software required except for a web browser, or you can write code on your own PC or Mac.


Note: This course is different from CS50 or CS50x. CS50 is not part of the OSSU curriculum. That being said, if you have completed CS50, you can skip this course and move on to the next one.


Course Materials

  1. Functions, VariablesNotesProblem Set
  2. ConditionalsNotesProblem Set
  3. LoopsNotesProblem Set
  4. ExceptionsNotesProblem Set
  5. LibrariesNotesProblem Set
  6. Unit TestsNotesProblem Set
  7. File I/ONotesProblem Set
  8. Regular ExpressionsNotesProblem Set
  9. Object-Oriented ProgrammingNotesProblem Set
  10. Et CeteraNotesFinal Project

Python for Everybody

This course has been created by Professor Charles Severance from the University of Michigan.

Learn to Program and Analyze Data with Python. Develop programs to gather, clean, analyze, and visualize data.


Textbook: PDF / EPUB / HTML / Buy hardcopy

Note: This course is also offered on Coursera, Edx. Those versions require you to pay to get the full version of the course. We suggest doing the course on its website, which is completely free.


Course Materials

  1. Installing Python
  2. Why Program?
  3. Variables, expressions and statements
  4. Conditional Execution
  5. Functions
  6. Loops and Iterations
  7. Strings
  8. Files
  9. Lists
  10. Dictionaries
  11. Tuples
  12. Regular Expressions
  13. Network Programming (Optional)
  14. Using Web Services (Optional)
  15. Object-Oriented Programming (Optional)
  16. Databases (Optional)
  17. Data Visualization (Optional)


  1. If you’re doing the BeautifulSoup4 lesson, there is an issue with Python 3.10+ that will give you an error referencing the Collections library. We have a fix for you. We don’t expect you to understand it, just put this in front of your code in the imports block:
import collections
collections.Callable =

from bs4 import BeautifulSoup 

Doing this should fix the compatibility issue and allow your code to run.