Free Stanford coding education in the time of COVID-19: call for volunteers and students!

Hi everyone! 4513 alum here! I figured the FIRST community would be a great place to reach out to about this opportunity!

TL;DR- Stanford is offering an online version of our CS106A introductory CS class! We are looking for volunteers to help teach (all you need is programming experience and a love of teaching), and students who are interested in learning CS (no experience expected)!

The time of COVID-19 has been difficult for many people around the world, in many different ways. As an act of community service, a group of computer science instructors is coming together to offer our teaching services free of charge for people who want to learn introductory coding , subject to availability. This is a one time offering for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Course Dates: April 13th until May 22nd.
Where: Anywhere with internet.
Who: Learners, with no programming experience, and time to dedicate to learning.
Student application deadline: April 8th, Anywhere on Earth.
Teacher application deadline (must be 18+): April 3rd, Anywhere on Earth.

The learning experience, which we call CS106A - Code in Place, will be an introductory programming course using the Python language, using material from the first half of Stanford University’s established intro course, CS106A. It assumes no prior programming experience. You should expect to be working 15 to 20 hours a week and you will need an internet connection strong enough to stream video.

This experience is different from typical free online courses in that, in addition to using online resources, you will meet (via videoconferencing) in a small group, once a week, with someone on the teaching team. The course is centered around engaging assignments and includes an optional final project. You won’t receive a grade in the course, and completing the experience doesn’t earn university credit. Instead, the main outcome is that you will have acquired a new and wonderful skill: how to program.

More information:
*as a volunteer:

Please lmk if you have any questions!
CS106A Code In Place Logo
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This seems interesting! Are there plans for this to be ongoing, or is it a one-time thing? Also, 15-20 hours per week sounds heavy, especially with most students still being in (some form of) school.

Yeah I’d say I have to agree. I would be interested, but 20 hours seems like a lot… plus I already know java, but I do want learn Python too

I mean… during build season some people on our team put in 30 hours a week, while keeping up with schoolwork. 15 or 20 is a lot for sure, but it is definitely doable (especially when a lot of people cant even leave their houses.)

One of my friends took a python programming course at Stanford last summer (could be the same one, idk) and his depth of knowledge of python was a testament to the quality of that course. If this course is even remotely similar to that one then this it is an invaluable learning opportunity.

Do you have any info on what days and times the meetings would be? Just to make sure it doesn’t coincide with school classes?

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I’m glad there’s so much interest! That’s a great question!

For now, this is a one time opportunity- mostly as a form of outreach when a lot of current education is being disrupted and a research opportunity to look at ways of expanding what we can think of as "MOOC"s (as this is a fundamentally different experience than a traditional MOOC). However depending on the level of success, there may be plans to put on something similar in the future :).

This class follows Stanford’s introductory programming class CS106A, with a similar workload to it. It is meant to give participants who have never programmed before a strong foundation in CS. Part of the 15-20 hours is that this course is only 5 weeks long, with an assumption that many students now suddenly have more free time. Due to the interactive style, we can also only “accept” so many students into the program, and I expect the professors are also trying to attract students with enough time and dedication to get as much as they can out of this course.

Want to give more students the opportunity to learn CS? Apply to be a volunteer section leader! :slight_smile:

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20 hours for 5 weeks is a lot to just learn python basics - this course is for people who don’t have any CS experience. If you’re interested in just picking up python and already have programming experience, I’d recommend:

  • APPLY TO VOLUNTEER as section leader/TA and help us support more students- more info below
  • Skimming any open resources that will be available from this course (we don’t know exactly what these will look like yet)
  • Checking out . This is a stanford class that is just for learning python and assumes prior programming experience. It goes way more in depth into python that CS106A- Code in Place will. All of the lecture slides are freely available on the website (under “Lecture”) and most of the lectures also have a videos. There are also assignments and labs here. If you have any trouble accessing anything (ex. need a stanford email), just dm me.
  • I also have a massive slideshow summary of python features from the class above that I’m happy to share - just dm me.
  • There are so many other great python resources online too. If you find any great ones- please share them here for others in a similar situation!

While I would ask that you don’t apply for the class if you already have a fair amount of programming experience to save room for beginners - I do encourage you to apply as a volunteer section leader/TA. It would take some self-learning on your own to stay ahead of students (and complete the application) but we do have training for volunteers, and teaching is always the best way to learn something very well.

Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions- either here, to the course email or as a dm!!

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Lectures will be available to watch at any time, given you keep up with the course. Sections will occur at a variety of times throughout the week - enrolled students will have the opportunity to sign up for a consistent weekly time that works for them.

lmk if you have any further questions!