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Student Tools for Beginning Python

Project description

Student Tools for Beginning Python

Python is an extremely popular language for introduction to computing courses at various universities. However, many Python features require knowledge of advance language elements before they can be used. For example, the Unit Testing framework is extremely comple and is typically inaccessible to a beginning student. Similarly, Python has moved all string functionality to method calls, which are confusing for a student just starting out with functions.

The purpose of this package is to provide proper masking, giving instructors more flexibility in how they arrange their Python course. Masking takes a complex feature and hides it behind a simpler interface. When the students have mastered that interface, the instructor can remove it and allow students direct access to the complex feature.

For example, this package provides non-method string functions for basic functionality such as searching, replacing, and testing. This allows the students to write interesting text-manipulation functions when they are just starting out, without having to understand the extra subtleties of method calls. When they are ready to move on to method calls, the students are free (and encouraged) to stop using these functions.

For a complete list of modules provided by this package, see the associated documentation. Key features include, but are not limited to

  • Method-free string functions
  • Method-free tuple functions
  • Simplified unit test utilities
  • Simplified web connections (similar to the classic urllib2)
  • Simplified color model interfaces
  • Improved graphics turtle

These packages were developed as part of the introduction to computing sequence at Cornell University. However, they are free to all educators that might find them useful.

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