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Python Programming Video Course Review by Debra Brinkman

Vicki Watson
Homeschool Spark

The course consists of 40 instructional videos, plus 15 solutions videos related the course assignments. This totals more than eight hours of video instruction, plus there are assignments after most of the lessons. The first assignment is to install Python and Wing on your computer, so you are starting at the beginning.

The course is easy to use. You watch a video and then do the assignment. Most of the assignments are to practice concepts you learned in the video, but there are 15 programming assignments. After you complete a programming assignment, you can view her solution video, and compare your results to hers. She tells you that your solution may be different from hers, and that can be completely okay. You should take a look at the differences and determine if you need to edit or correct your programming. The final step for the programming assignments is to show off your work to someone.

The videos can be viewed online, or you can download them so you are able to view them without an internet connection. I think viewing online would be the easier option, as you can easily progress from one segment to the next. We have really poor rural internet, so watching a live video is something we try to avoid. If you live in the city, your options will be different.

My one issue with this course relates to downloading the videos. It was easy enough to download them, and one thing that is included is a PDF Course Checklist, so I thought it would be easy to progress. The problem is that the checklist tells you to watch “6 Boolean Logic” but the default file names do not match. Sothe question is - should he pull up “Boolean Operator Precedence.mp4,” “Compound If Statements Using the Boolean Operators And & Or.mp4,” “Introduction to Boolean Logic.mp4,” or “Using a Boolean Variable to Control a While Loop.mp4.”?

If I scan down the Checklist, I see assignment 7 says something about “Compound If With And & Or,” and 10 is about Boolean Operator Precedence. Lessons 20-22 all talk about While Loops, so I can by process of elimination determine that the “Introduction” one is probably the video he needs to view.

I worked through the entire checklist and wrote in the actual video titles so my son could find them more easily without the guesswork. He suggested we change the filenames so that the lesson number is included, so that everything is in order. That made it even easier. I suggest they change these to match for future users.

We found this course to be pretty easy to follow, and it definitely worked well for independent work. I did not really have to be involved at all beyond getting the videos downloaded and ready. My 16-year-old does have some programming experience, so he did tend to embellish the assignments a bit to see if he could figure out how to make things a bit more complex. My 13-year-old was a bit more willing to stick to the script.

Both found that they were learning quite a bit, and I really appreciate that I had an easy to implement ½ credit course.

-Product review by Debra Brinkman, Homeschool Review Crew Administrator, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2018