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Dr. Ana Bell joins us to talk about teaching Python at MIT to new programmers.

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Dr. Ana Bell joins us this week to talk about python, beginner coders, and teaching her mom to code.

Ana is a lecturer at MIT and teaches there intro to computer science course. In order to sign up for the course at MIT, you have to take a test to see if you know too much coding, otherwise you test out of the course. So Ana is dealing exclusively with students that don't know how to code.

Ana then took that knowledge and used it to write a book and record a video series all about the fundamental concepts of programming!

Show Notes:

  • 1:01 - Intro
  • 2:10 - What are some of the things you've learned about teaching people to code?

    • Internal vs External Motivation
    • Traits of successful self-learners

      • Procedural thinking
      • Good organization
      • Attention to detail
  • 7:16 - What do you cover in your intro course at MIT?

    • Ana's course is available on MIT's Open Courseware platform
  • 9:14 - How do you keep your class engaged in the material?
  • 12:14 - How do you help address student diversity in your course?
  • 18:27 - What about Scratch?
  • 22:58 - Why do you cover classes/OOP in your course?
  • 24:47 - Why did you pick Python for the intro course
  • 28:24 - How deep into Python-specific topics do you get in the course
  • 30:06 - What assignments do your students do?
  • 31:35 - Do you teach how to use external packages
  • 32:11 - Why did you want to write a book and make a video course?
  • 33:20 - All about Ana's book/video course
  • 37:45 - Do you teach any other courses at MIT?

    • Yes, with a gentle intro to Machine Learning with SKLearn
  • 42:08 - How do you keep up to date with programming and tech
  • 44:27 - Relating the course to real-world requirements for coders
  • 49:33 - Do you have any tips for anyone looking
  • 51:58 - Nerd Minute!

    • Robot Turtles board game from Thinkfun
    • Death Stranding
    • Worst Person Ever by Douglas Coupland
Wed, December 4, 2019, 1:00 PM UTC