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Free CompSci 101 finally launches this month

Stanford lecturer's course teaches true coding secret: projects always run late

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A free Computer Science 101 course that planned to launch in February 2012 will now launch on 23 April.

Stanford Lecturer Nick Parlante announced the class in late 2011 and explained, in this video, that it would include some rudimentary coding.

Intentionally or not, the course inadvertently taught what happens to any coding project: deadlines will be missed. Would-be students first learned that lesson on February 18th, when Parlante mailed to say “... we've had some unexpected administrative hurdles … so we expect the course should now start in the second half of March.”

March came and all-but-went before another mail, dated March 31st, said “My hope is to launch on April 23rd, and we've got lots of neat videos and materials and exercises set up, so I'm excited to get this thing going.”

The course is one of several organised by Stanford staff, who have had to point out that while the university is helping things along, students will not have access to campus resources and will not gain a formal qualification of any sort.

Assignments will be set, with assessment, support and feedback offered in forums. Students need not have any previous programming skills, which means bashing away on a Spectrum 30 years ago may put you at an advantage, although the course will eschew BASIC in favour of some lightweight Javascript.

Other courses in the same program are also free, are run by similarly prestigious universities and use a similar online model. ®

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