Digital Education Resources - Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Lab

Digital Lab Python Lessons

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About the lessons

Digital Lab Python lessons are provided by the Digital Lab of the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries at Vanderbilt University. The Digital Lab 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 notebook and homework assignments. The live sessions will demonstrate how to code the practice assignments with the assistance of GitHub Copilot, a generative AI-based plugin for VS Code.

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 Digital Lab also provides lessons for learning R and getting started with GitHub in a similar format.

Archive of past lessons

Beginners Lessons - Fall 2023

Time: Wednesdays from 1:00-2:00 PM Central (US) Time (starting October 25).

Venue: Synchronously on Zoom and in-person in the Digital Lab, 4th floor Central Library. You should complete the Zoom registration even if you plan to attend in person. 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 Jupyter notebooks in the Visual Studio Code (VS Code) environment. Before you come on the first day, you should install the Anaconda environment in order to have VS Code and the Jupyter environment available. At the first lesson, we will enable using Jupyter notebooks in VS Code and will install the GitHub Copilot plugin. Copilot is generally a paid service, however, people with an academic email address have free access. So if you have a email address, you will be able to use this feature for free. Using Copilot is not required, but it makes the coding process much easier.

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)
Oct 25 1 Setting up and using Copilot instructions
Nov 1 2 Programming basics lesson videos (67 min)
Nov 8 3 Code libraries lesson videos (34 min)
Nov 15 4 List and dictionary objects lesson videos (32 min)
Nov 29 5 Loops lesson videos (33 min lessons, 61 min including demos)
Dec 6 6 Conditional execution lesson videos (44 min)

Python Resources

Here’s a page of Python resources

Lesson series on Microcontrollers with CircuitPython

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

Other sources of Python resources on Vanderbilt’s campus

Research IT

Vanderbilt Data Science Institute (DSI)

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

Questions? contact Steve Baskauf

Revised 2023-08-11

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License: CC BY 4.0.
Credit: "Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Lab -"