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University of Wisconsin "Introduction to Computation" course

This college course uses Scratch focuses on studying algorithms.

This course is offered by the Computer Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison uses Scratch to teach basic computational ideas. The course is taught by Professor Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau. 

Overview: "Designed for a diverse audience, this course examines some of the fundamental ideas behind the science of computing. This course, like the field of Computer Science in general, is more than just the study of how to use computers. At the highest level, this course focuses on studying algorithms which are step-by-step methods for accomplishing a complex task.

Algorithms are useful in more places than you might imagine. Algorithms specify the work that must be done for large, complex tasks like sequencing the human genome and indexing and searching for web pages. But, algorithms can also describe how people can approach problems like finding a path out of a maze or solving a rubix cube. Understanding how to solve problems in a step-by-step fashion is useful for more than just computer scientists.

In this course, we will investigate the types of problems we currently know how to solve with computation. We will compare different algorithms that solve the same problem and determine which are the most efficient. We will learn how modern computers perform computation by covering hardware and software topics on how data is stored and how instructions are executed. We will also survey the wide range of areas within computer science, including robotics, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence.

To obtain hands-on experience with algorithms, we will be using a new programming environment called Scratch. Scratch enables beginners to create sophisticated programs by simply dragging and dropping predefined instruction blocks. Thus, we will acquire experience decomposing problems into well-defined steps without the fear of frustrating ``syntax'' errors."


Gwenn Volkert

 Very nice resource!