“Anyone Python” is an interactive online class, hosted by Professor Jeongkyu Lee, from Bridgeport University. Just like the name suggests, this program is focused on the basics of computer programming and ultimately, programming using Python. Because the class is open to anyone, it has a diverse range of people; from kids to the elderly, situated in areas from California to China. Once in class, which is held on Fridays, students listen to Professor Lee’s explanation or instruction shown on screen, and follow his examples on their own computers.
Last summer, I had an opportunity to attend Professor Lee’s “Anyone Python Season 1” class. Over the course of 11 weeks, we learned about utilizing an integrated development environment (IDE) called Pycharm, to solve a computer puzzle named Karel.Students spent their time getting used to giving commands to this robot, so that it moved when ordered to. After 10 weeks, we were given the final Karel puzzle and competed against each other, using all the programming we had learned. It was memorable for me when the final winners of the Karel competition were announced in the last week of class; I had a sense of pride and thankfulness, knowing that I learned so much by just spending one hour every Friday learning programming.
Throughout completing season 1 and starting season 2 of “Anyone Python”, one question kept coming to my mind, why is professor Lee teaching us programming for free when the expenses of advertising and his time is coming out of his pocket? During an interview with Professor Lee, I first asked him when he started to learn about computer programming? He replied, “My first programming [experience] was in 6th grade, and I started [programming] when my dad gave me a computer as a birthday gift in 1983. At that time a computer was rare and I was hooked by its mechanism.” Hearing this, I realized that a lot of people who are in the computer science field learned some type of programming as a kid. When I asked Prof. Lee why he was teaching programming for free, he smiled saying, “Numerous parents asked me why I teach this program for free and it’s because it’s hard to find an opportunity for kids to learn about computers.” “Many parents were interested in the medical field and biology for their kids, a couple years before. Now, they are interested in the computer science field because of their kids’ love for video games, and they want to support their child’s passion into something productive.” Finally, I ended the interview with one final question: “What are your hopes or goals for the future of this program and it’s students?” Prof. Lee stated warmly, “I don’t really have a strict plan, I just want my students to enjoy and have fun! At school, we learn core subjects like english and math but not all people become mathematicians or english majors. Likewise, learning programming doesn’t mean that you will become a programmer; learning programming is an important subject just like math and english because it is, and will be, a big part of our lives.” “You don’t need a textbook in my class. Just enjoy and not stress.”
Overall, Anyone Python is a great class for students of all ages. While it is already full for this season, it is worth looking into for the next year.