Introduction Coding and Programming

  • Format: online
This six-week, self-paced course provides an introductory-level overview of coding and programming. Note: This course is part of the Digital Transformation Certificate Program that offers three online courses available through MU Extension and Engagement: Business Data Analytics, Coding and Programming, and Geographical Information Systems. Individuals will receive a certificate of completion for each completed course, and those who complete all three courses will receive an MU Extension Continuing Education Certificate in Digital Technology.

Course Description

This course provides an introductory-level overview of coding and programming.

This course is part of the Digital Transformation Consortium, which can be reviewed by selecting this link, (Links to an external site.) that offers three online courses available through MU Extension and Engagement: Business Data Analytics, Coding and Programming, and Geographical Information Systems. Individuals will receive a certificate of completion for each completed course, and those who complete all three courses will receive an MU Extension Continuing Education Certificate in Digital Transformation.

Course Organization

It is important to note that the schedule may change should the need arise. However, for the time being, the following schedule can be used as a guide of what subjects will be covered, as well as when they will be covered.

Date/Academic Week

Module Topics
Module Description Assessments

Week 1

Module 0 - Course Introduction, Resources, and FAQs


Module 1 - Programming Basics: Getting Started with Jupyter and Python

In Module 0, we'll go over the functionality of this class and the tools needed to be successful throughout the semester.

In Module 1, You become acclimated with the Jupyter Hub environment for interactive programming. You will learn of the basics of computer programming, including variables, operators, input, and output.

Week 2

Module 2 -  Data Structures in Python

In Module 2, you will continue to develop your basic programming skills with use of data structures, such as lists, tuples, sets, strings and dictionaries.

Week 3

Module 3 -Programming Overview, Flow Control & Functions

In Module 3, you will become familiar with Strings and printing in Python. You will learn to use the dictionary data structure for storing data in memory using key-value pairs.

Week 4

Module 4 - Flow Control Continued and File Processing In Module 4, you will learn about modular and reusable programming using functions.

Week 5

Module 5 - Advanced File Processing

In Module 5, you will learn Python's basic flow control mechanisms, such as decisions and repetition.

Week 6

Module 6 - Packages, Libraries, and Pandas


Module 7 - Course Wrap-up

In Module 6, you will explore the software packages and libraries and specifically advanced uses of Pandas.

In Module 7, we'll wrap up the course and discuss the remaining steps necessary to obtain the MU Extension Continuing Education Certificate in Digital Transformation.


The following objectives are for this six-week course. Each assessment will have a list of objectives that are in line with the following. Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Comprehend simple algorithms with flow control, loops, modular methods, and user interaction.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of basic data structures, operations, and language concepts including lists, string manipulation, and set operations.
  • Exhibit basic proficiency in the Python programming language, including syntax and semantics.


Dr. Grant Scott and Dr. Jim Ries


There should be 1000 total points in the class. Grades are based on the total points earned divided by the total possible points available in the course. Assessments and learning tasks are based on instructor material, demonstrations, and lectures. As is always the case with online courses, you must engage with the material in a reasonable amount of time before the due date and time of the assessment for each module.

  • (40%) Micro Activities: Some modules may include micro activities, i.e., worksheets, quizzes, etc.  Micro activities may support the larger module projects. Micro activities are worth 40% of your overall grade.
  • (30%) Projects: Some modules will contain larger assessments, i.e., projects. Module projects are worth 30% of your overall grade.
  • (30%) Exam: This course has one exam. The exam will be an open-resource exam. The exam is worth 30% of your overall grade.


Percentile Letter Grade GPA
 98.00% A+ 4.0
93.00 - 97.99% A 4.0
90.00% - 92.99% A- 3.7
87.00% - 89.99% B+ 3.3
83.00% - 86.99% B 3
80.00% - 82.99% B- 2.7
77.00% - 79.99% C+ 2.3
73.00% - 76.99% C 2
70.00% - 72.99% C- 1.7
67.00% - 69.99% D+ 1.3
63.00% - 66.99% D 1
60.00% - 62.99% D- 0.7
0% - 59.99% F 0

LATE WORK: This policy applies to all submissions and assessments unless otherwise noted directly on an assessment page/course announcement. Micro activities and projects are due on the specified dates. Late submissions will not be accepted. Makeup assignments will be given only in cases of verified illness or in unusual extenuating circumstances approved beforehand by the instructor/support staff.


To create a welcoming learning environment and a sense of community, ask learners to introduce themselves at the beginning of the course. Give them guidance on when, where and how they should do so. You can ask them to respond to specific questions — such as why they are taking the course, what their strategies for success are, what concerns they have, what they expect to learn, etc. — or let the learners decide what to share. You can also give learners the choice of introducing themselves by written, audio or visual means. Consider starting the process by introducing yourself or providing an example of an introduction, or both.

Implement learner-to-learner interaction wherever possible to foster learner engagement. Provide guidance on how to access discussions, explain discussion requirements, and include a complete schedule of discussion topics and dates. Discussions are designed to capitalize on the asynchronous nature of online.

If discussions are a part of the course, be certain the netiquette section is included in the syllabus.


The purpose of the discussions is to give you an opportunity to learn from each other and explore the topics introduced in the course as a learning community. Sometimes, the act of writing can help us clarify, make connections, and draw implications from our experiences in new ways. 

We acknowledge that everyone's contribution will be unique and particular to their context and experiences. Therefore, we expect and welcome a diversity of contributions and viewpoints. We hope that everyone will bring to the course a posture of curiosity, interest in listening, and willingness to share.

As members of a learning community, writing publicly, in small amounts, and without much time to edit may be the greatest challenge of all in this course.

  • We invite you to err on the side of jumping into discussions with our shared understanding that an online discussion board can never reflect your most robust thinking and writing, and that's not the point in this context.
  • Our goal is to share what comes to mind and is shaping our thinking and actions in this experience together. 

We also expect that participants will bring different prior experiences, interests, and motivations to this course and how the discussions unfold will reflect this range.


For a successful online course experience, clear, thoughtful communication is essential. Discussion forums and course communications are important venues for exchanging ideas and promoting learning. Your instructor and fellow participants wish to foster a safe and inclusive online learning environment. Constructive criticism and questions are encouraged; however, you will be expected to remain professional and courteous in all of your posts. You are encouraged to comment, question or critique an idea, but you are not to attack an individual.

Our differences, some of which are outlined in the University of Missouri's nondiscrimination statement, will add richness to this learning experience. Please consider that sarcasm and humor can be misconstrued in online interactions and generate unintended disruptions. Working as a community of learners, we can build a polite and respectful course atmosphere. As your instructor, I  reserve the right to delete any forum posts or blog entries I deem to be inappropriate for the course. 


We value the voice of every student in this course. We embrace our diversity as a group—in race, gender, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, religion, language, ability, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic and veteran status, —is an asset, resource and strength that is critical to our learning experience.  As a result, we are committed to designing inclusive lessons and assignments that encourage diverse perspectives to be recognized and respected, while providing you with the opportunity to speak and be heard, explore your own understanding, and engage with one another.

Course Completion

Individuals will receive a certificate of completion for completing this course, and those who complete all three courses in this certificate series will receive an MU Extension Continuing Education Certificate in Digital Technology.


We all learn differently, and we want every student to succeed. If you have a learning need or disability, please contact MU Extension ADA Support as soon as possible so we can provide you with appropriate accommodations.  

Technical Requirements

REQUIRED TEXT: There are no required textbooks for this course. Students will be asked to view several provided online videos, articles, graphics, etc. that support the module activities, lectures, and assessments hosted on Canvas. Free and Open-source learning resources will also be linked into relevant modules.

REQUIRED HARDWARE: At a minimum, you will need the following hardware to participate in this course:

  • A stable internet connection with a connection speed no less than 10 Mbps.
  • Although not required, a large and/or multi-monitor display configuration may be useful.

REQUIRED SOFTWARE: At a minimum, you will need the following software to participate in this course:

COURSE ANNOUNCEMENTS, CANVAS INFO, & ONLINE PARTICIPATION: There is a Canvas site dedicated to this class (obviously). This is where grades will be posted, important announcements will be made (pay attention to these), module instructions and assessments are housed, etc. Content and lessons are divided into several modules. Announcements will be posted at the beginning of the week with a summary of what's to come or if there are any time-specific events you should be aware of. Ensure you have notifications turned on for course announcements, or check announcements regularly if doing so manually. It is your responsibility to stay up to date with all course announcements.

See our Getting Started with Canvas page for short tutorial videos to provide an overview of Canvas.  Downloadthe Canvas Student App to access your Canvas course from your mobile device.

For the best user experience, we recommend using  Google Chrome as your browser (Safari for Macintosh). If you don't have Google Chrome installed on your computer, you can download the latest version.

If you have questions or need additional help, please please email Canvas Support. You can find more information on the technical requirements on the Canvas website.