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 Technology 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.





Dr. James Ries and Dr. Grant Scott 

Support Staff

Please contact MU Extension for questions regarding Enrollment, Course Fees, Certificates, etc.: Sarah Rielley and Jonathan Mack



PREREQUISITES: There are no prerequisites for this course. 

COURSE CREDITS: This course is part of the Digital Transformation Consortium, which can be reviewed by selecting this link, which 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.

CLASSROOM LOCATION & TIME: This course is delivered entirely online in a self-paced format. As this course is delivered entirely online in an asynchronous fashion, you must actively participate by visiting Canvas regularly, i.e. at least four times per week. In an online environment, participation and engagement are crucial for success.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course provides an introductory-level overview of coding and programming. In this course, we will use Python via the Jupyter Lab environment. Python is a widely-used general-purpose, high-level programming language. Python supports multiple programming paradigms, including object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming or procedural styles. It features a dynamic type system and automatic memory management and has a large and comprehensive standard library.

Python is an interpreted language, so you can simply write and run: you do not need to compile your code. Additionally, Python environments have a kernel execution giving you a command prompt to type in Python commands. Thanks to the Jupyter Lab environment, you will not need to worry about software installations or library compatibilities. We have taken care of that for you! With this boot camp course, you will read through the modules and work through a series of Python Notebooks. 

COURSE OBJECTIVES: The following objectives are for this self-paced 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.

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. 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.



There are 700 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.

  • (50%) Labs: Some modules may include micro assessments, i.e., labs. Concepts covered in the labs will support the larger module practices. Micro assessments are weighted and worth 50% of your overall grade.
  • (50%) Practices: Some modules will contain larger assessments, i.e., practices. Module practices are weighted and worth 50% 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


COURSE SCHEDULE: Though this is a self-paced course, it is designed to be completed within six to eight weeks based on the schedule below. You can use the schedule below as a reference to help guide you through the course.


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.

Lab: Variables and Operators

Lab: Strings and Printing

Practice: Variables, Operators, and Printing

Week 2

Module 2 -  Data Structures in Python

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

Lab: List, Tuple, and Set

Lab: Strings and Dictionaries

Practice: Data Structures

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.

Lab: Flow Control Structures

Lab: Functions

Week 4

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

Lab: Control Flow

Lab: Parsing and Dictionary Walkthrough

Practice: Loading a File and Counting Things

Week 5

Module 5 - Advanced File Processing

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

Practice: Indexing a Book with Python

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.

Lab: Loading Packages into Python

Lab: Intros to Pandas

Lab: Pandas Revisited

Lab: Pandas and CSV Data Files

Lab: Pandas for Tab Separated Data Files

Lab: Pandas for JSON Data Files

Lab: Pandas for Excel Files

Practice: Basic Data Analysis



The information below also appears in Canvas under “Supports & Policies” > “MU Policies and Expectations,” so that all students in all courses have access to this.

CLASSROOM SAFETY & EMERGENCY PLAN: If you have any classes on campus and there is an active threat in the area I recommend you immediately check your surroundings and take action by running, hiding, or fighting. Learn more by watching Surviving an Active Shooter. Lastly, be sure you are signed up for MU Alert, the University's mass emergency notification system.

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS: The University of Missouri is committed to supporting student well-being through an integrated network of care, with a wide range of services to help students succeed. The MU Counseling Center offers professional mental health care and can help you find the best approach to treatment based on your needs. Call to make an appointment at 573-882-6601. Any student in crisis may call or go to the MU Counseling Center between 8:00 – 5:00 M-F. After-hours phone support is available at 573-882-6601. Visit our website at to take an online mental health screening, find out about workshops and resources that can help you thrive, or learn how to support a friend. Download Sanvello, a phone app that teaches skills and strategies to help you maintain good mental health. Log in with your Mizzou e-mail to unlock all the tools available through Sanvello at no cost to you.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: If you need disability-related accommodations, please email  MU Extension ADA Support.   For technical support, please email   Canvas Support.


Academic integrity is fundamental to the activities and principles of a university. All members of the academic community must be confident that each person’s work has been responsibly and honorably acquired, developed, and presented. Any effort to gain an advantage not given to all students is dishonest whether or not the effort is successful. The academic community regards breaches of the academic integrity rules as extremely serious matters. Sanctions for such a breach may include academic sanctions from the instructor, including failing the course for any violation, to disciplinary sanctions ranging from probation to expulsion. When in doubt about plagiarism, paraphrasing, quoting, collaboration, or any other form of cheating, consult the course instructor or the Office of Academic Integrity.

Students are expected to adhere to this honor pledge on all graded work whether or not they are explicitly asked in advance to do so: “I strive to uphold the University values of respect, responsibility, discovery, and excellence. On my honor, I pledge that I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance on this work.”

NETIQUETTE: We all want to foster a safe online learning environment. All opinions and experiences, no matter how different or controversial they may be perceived, must be respected in the tolerant spirit of academic discourse. 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’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 ambiance.

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY: The University of Missouri does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex* (including gender), pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, and any other status protected by applicable state or federal law. Discrimination includes any form of unequal treatment such as denial of opportunities, harassment, and violence. *Sex discrimination includes rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, unwanted touching, stalking, dating/domestic violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Retaliation for making or supporting a report of discrimination or harassment is also prohibited.

If you experience discrimination or sexual violence, you are encouraged (but not required) to report the incident to the MU Office for Civil Rights & Title IX. Learn more about your rights and options at or call 573-882-3880.  You also may make an anonymous report online. 

If you are a survivor, or someone concerned about a survivor, and need immediate information on what to do, see Both the Office for Civil Rights & Title IX and the RSVP Center can assist students who need help with academics, housing, or other issues.

If you choose to write or speak about having experienced any of these forms of prohibited discrimination or harassment, Mizzou policies require that, as your instructor, I share this information with the MU Office for Civil Rights & Title IX. They will contact you to offer information about resources, as well as your rights and options as a member of our campus community.

INTELLECTUAL PLURALISM: The university community welcomes intellectual diversity and respects student rights. Students who have questions or concerns regarding the atmosphere in this class (including respect for diverse opinions) may contact the departmental chair or divisional director, the Office of Academic Integrity, or the MU Equity Office.

ACADEMIC INQUIRY, COURSE DISCUSSION, & PRIVACY: When students record something that happens in a course (a lecture, class discussions, meetings, etc.) it has an impact on the rights of the people captured in that recording. For example, the instructor and the University may have rights to the intellectual property contained in that recording. At the same time, another student who may have been recorded has the right to privacy. To protect these rights, MU employs a policy (called “Executive Order No. 38”) to govern both situations you may encounter while taking a course – when an instructor allows recordings and when they do not.

In this class, students may not make audio or video recordings of course activity, except students permitted to record as an accommodation under section 240.040 of the Collected Rules. Students who violate this policy are subject to discipline per provisions of section 200.020 of the Collected Rules and Regulations of the University of Missouri about student conduct matters.


*Disclaimer: The instructor reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus, and course schedule during the semester.