Digital Scholarship Resources - Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Scholarship and Communications Office

DiSC Python Lessons

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About the lessons

DiSC Python lessons are provided by the Digital Scholarship and Communications Office (DiSC) of the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries at Vanderbilt University. The DiSC office provides regular lessons for Python beginners with a variety of followup intermediate and advanced lessons. There is no cost associated with the lessons.

The beginners lessons are generally offered at least once per semester. See the schedule below for session details.

Each lesson includes of a series of videos with a practice Jupyter/Colab notebook and homework assignments. The live working sessions provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions about the lesson videos and homework, or to work on the homework with assistance.

The lessons are part of a free, online learning system called CodeGraf. You are welcome to work through these lessons or any of the other lesson modules available in CodeGraf on your own at any time (no registration required). To explore all of the lesson modules that are available, visit the CodeGraf landing page.

The DiSC office also provides lessons for learning R and getting started with GitHub in a similar format.

Archive of past lessons

Beginners Lessons - Spring 2023

Time: Wednesdays from 1:00-2:00 PM Central (US) Time (starting February 1).

Venue: Virtually via Zoom. Registration link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Zoom session.

Instructor: Steve Baskauf. Email to arrange a time to talk.

I will be presenting the lessons using Colab notebooks. They behave very similarly to the popular Jupyter notebooks but do not require any installation. They do require you to have a Google account. Before the first lesson, you should go through the Colab quickstart lesson if you haven’t used Colab before. It includes 14 minutes of videos.

You are welcome to use desktop Jupyter notebook if you already have it installed, but we will not be spending time going over the installation process. There are some installation videos that you are welcome to watch if you want to do an installation yourself. The practice notebooks are also available as downloadable Jupyter notebooks.

If you have never programmed before, I recommend that you work through two optional lessons on your own: terminology (18 min) and programming environments (50 min). I will assume that you are familiar with the concepts and terms covered in these lessons as we work through the actual Python lessons.

Working session date Lesson Topic Web page (times are total video length)
Feb 1 1 Programming basics lesson videos (67 min)
Feb 8 2 Code libraries lesson videos (34 min)
Feb 15 3 List and dictionary objects lesson videos (32 min)
Feb 22 4 Loops lesson videos (33 min lessons, 61 min including demos)
Mar 1 5 Conditional execution lesson videos (44 min)

Python Resources

Here’s a page of Python resources

O’Reilly for Higher Education books and videos (Vanderbilt sign-in required)

Other sources of Python resources on Vanderbilt’s campus

Research IT

Digital Humanities (DH) Center

Vanderbilt Data Science Institute (DSI)

For more information on all DSI events, visit the DSI workshops page. For registration, visit this registration link.

Software Carpentries

Co-sponsored by DiSC, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Research IT, ACCRE, and the Data Science Institute


Questions? contact Steve Baskauf

Revised 2023-01-12

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License: CC BY 4.0.
Credit: "Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Scholarship and Communications -"