MIT and edX offer a MOOC-style computer programming course to Chicago high school students through Summer of Learning initiative

Registration is open now for “A Taste of Python Programming” course to be offered starting June 25 through City of Chicago program

CAMBRIDGE, MA, June 13, 2013 - MITx and edX are teaming up to offer an introductory computer programming course, “A Taste of Python Programming,” at no cost to high school students in Chicago as part of that city’s Summer of Learning initiative. Starting June 25th, the course lasts six weeks and provides an introduction to basic programming skills and approaches using the Python programming language. The course was developed with materials from the MITx massive open online course 6.00x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, which enrolled more than 150,000 learners worldwide in two previous offerings on the edX platform. Registration for the course is now open.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched the city’s first “Summer of Learning” initiative this year to encourage students to stay engaged and continue learning throughout the year, avoiding the “summer slide.” “Learning does not stop when school is out, and summer programs represent a robust opportunity for our students to continue learning year-round,” said Mayor Emanuel. “With MITx and edX joining us in this effort, we are able to provide a flexible, high-quality online learning opportunity to Chicago students as part of the Summer of Learning.”

For MITx and edX, the offering is a natural fit with ongoing efforts to expand high-quality educational opportunities using new educational technologies. “Educational technologies are making it possible for us to extend the reach of MIT faculty far beyond our campus,” remarked MIT President L. Rafael Reif in discussing the program. “Through tools developed for MITx, Chicago students can now benefit from lectures and exercises based directly on the materials students work with at MIT.”

The course will introduce students to the basics of programming, the Python programming language, and some key concepts and techniques used in computational problem solving. It will cover many Python programming features with a focus on what students can do with a programming language, rather than concentrating on the language itself. It is a hands-on course with a strong emphasis on learning by doing. Students will spend 12-15 hours per week completing course requirements.

About the Professors

Professor John Guttag is the Dugald C. Jackson Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at MIT. He is the author of the textbook, Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python, used in this course. W. Eric L. Grimson is the Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a professor of computer science and engineering, and the Bernard M. Gordon Professor of Medical Engineering. He was named Chancellor of MIT in 2011. Chris Terman is a Senior Lecturer in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a Principal Investigator at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

About the Chicago Summer of Learning

The Chicago Summer of Learning is an innovative public-private coordination to infuse learning into summer programs that young people across the city attend when school is out. Summer of Learning represents the first coordinated and dedicated approach of its kind for youth in every neighborhood to access high-quality programs that will help them continue to learn even when school is out. The effort includes more than 120,000 opportunities operated or supported by City agencies, such as Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Public Libraries, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Housing Authority and the Department of Family and Support Services. Additionally, dozens of non-profit organizations are participating in this initiative through its existing One Summer Chicago program, representing an additional 17,000 opportunities.

About MITx

The MITx program supports MIT’s exploration of teaching approaches enabled by digital technologies, both on the MIT campus and through scalable online courses on the edX platform. MITx is run by the MIT Office of Digital Learning, under the leadership of the Director of Digital Learning, Professor Sanjay Sarma.

About edX

EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise composed of 27 leading global institutions, the xConsortium. Founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, edX is focused on transforming online and on-campus learning through groundbreaking methodologies, game-like experiences and cutting-edge research on an open source platform. EdX provides inspirational and transformative knowledge to students of all ages, social status, and income who form worldwide communities of learners. EdX is focused on people, not profit, and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the USA.