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Overview, syllabus, and pre-work for Python Camp

About Python Camp

Learn Python and foundations of programming in this multi-day, non-credit, interactive mini-course. This opportunity is for beginners and does not require any programming experience. No software installation required. 

You’ll learn and practice the basics of programming, such as: data types, loops, functions, working with numeric data, and plotting data. The mini-course introduces basic scientific computing and data plotting concepts through the use of the Python libraries NumPy, Matplotlib, and pandas. The workshop uses as its curriculum “Get Data Off the Ground with Python,” an Open edX course by GW professor Lorena Barba.

Space is limited; participants are expected to attend all four sessions. There will be brief assignments to complete before each session. Participants should plan to spend time outside the workshop to prepare and to complete homework assignments. Those who meet the camp requirements will receive a certificate of completion.

In-class hours: 16

Anticipated out-of-class hours: 8-15

All sessions are free to GW students, faculty, and staff.

The final due date for all homework is January 27, 2023.

Enrolling in the OpenEdX course does not register you for Python Camp; it is a supplementary resource. 

Python Camp is taught by Debbie Bezanson, Ricky Graham, Josh McDonald, Marcus Peerman, and Dolsy Smith. Questions? Please email us at

Pre-work for Day 1

Pre-work for Day 1

Complete by 1pm on Monday, January 9, 2023

  1. Create an account in Open edX and enroll in the course, "Get Data Off the Ground with Python". See video for step-by-step instructions. (Note: signing up for Open edX is not the same as registering for Python Camp. The Open edX site is for accessing curriculum and homework assignments. It's freely available.)
  2. Log into Jupyter Hub and learn your way around: watch the intro video.
  3. You should have received a link to join the GW Coders Slack. Let us know if you haven't. 
  4. Watch Ryan Mitchell, "How Computers Think" from LinkedIn Learning (available free to GW students, faculty, and staff).


Day 1

Day 1

Monday, January 9, 1:00-5:00PM

  1. Welcome and Getting Started
  2. Python as a calculator and data types (notebook code)
  3. Strings & string methods (notebook code)
  4. Lists (notebook code)


Python Camp Cheat Sheet

Pre-work for Day 2

Pre-work for Day 2 

Complete by 1PM on Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Download and try submitting Graded Homework #1. Watch the Homework Notebooks video with instructions. The goal is to learn the process. The full notebook does not need to be completed until TBD.

You can also work on Graded Homework #2 and #3; these are not due until TBD.

Day 2

Day 2

Tuesday, January 10, 1:00-5:00PM

  1. Q&A about yesterday's material
  2. Iteration with for loops (notebook code)
  3. Conditionals (notebook code)
  4. Combining string methods, loops, and conditionals (notebook code)


Bonus Materials for self paced learning:

  1. Strings and lists in action, with text from a web page (notebook code)


Python Camp Cheat Sheet

Pre-work for Day 3

Pre-work for Day 3

Complete by 1PM on Thursday, January 12, 2023

You can also keep working on Graded Homeworks #1, #2, #3, #4.

Day 3

Day 3

Thursday, January 12, 1:00-5:00PM

  1. Dictionaries and functions; working with real-world data (notebook code)


Pre-work for Day 4

Pre-work for Day 4

Friday, January 13, 2023, 1:00-5:00PM

Work on Graded Homeworks #1, #2, #3, #4,  #5. 

Day 4

Day 4

Friday, January 13, 1:00-5:00PM

  1. Data wrangling with pandas (notebook code)
  2. Data visualization with pandas (notebook code)


Requirements for Certificate of Completion

Participants who complete Python Camp will receive a certificate of completion PDF. Requirements for the certificate:

  • Attend the four sessions of the mini-course, 1:00-5:00PM. 
  • Complete the required course homework notebooks by end of the day on January 27, 2023, getting at least 80% correct for each homework. 
  • Contribute to a positive learning environment through respectful and constructive behavior and language. Be familiar with our Code of Conduct below. 

We recognize that these are stressful and uncertain times, so contact us if you need to reschedule to another offering of Python Camp or have concerns about any of the requirements or deadlines. 


The following graded homeworks, found in the Open edX course, are required for the certificate of completion. Video instructions on how to download and submit homeworks

There is no final exam required for Python Camp.

Code of Conduct

In this  workshop, we value everyone’s participation, we strive for transparency and inclusion, and we promote collaboration. We want every learner to have a rewarding, fruitful learning experience. To achieve this, everyone is expected to show courtesy and respect towards each other. The following Code of Conduct is agreed upon by those taking this workshop:


  • All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. 
  • We will not tolerate harassment in the workshop, in person or online. Harassment refers to offensive verbal or written comments in reference to gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion; sexual images in public spaces; deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of class meetings, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other participants.
  • Behave professionally. Avoid jokes that could be interpreted as sexist, racist, or exclusionary. Remember that humor is a social act.
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