Teaching Assistants Facilitate Learning the Basics of Coding in the Python ja Tekoäly program

Teaching assistants Kaisa Kärkkäinen and Markus Toivonen support the participants of the “Python ja tekoäly – koodauksen perusteet” program in online studying and exercises. We asked them about their work in the program.

22.04.2021

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Teaching assistants Kaisa Kärkkäinen and Markus Toivonen support the participants of the Python ja tekoäly – koodauksen perusteet ("Python and Artificial Intelligence – the Fundamentals of Programming") program in online studying and exercises. We asked them about their work in the program.

What does a teaching assistant do in the “Python ja tekoäly – koodauksen perusteet” program?

"As assistants, we help the participants of the program by showing examples, answering questions and helping with exercises in small group sessions. We can also be reached quickly via remote support, so we can help with the exercises of the home and online courses."

What is most rewarding about being a teaching assistant?

"The most rewarding thing about being an assistant is to see the participants experience those "Eureka!" moments in programming, and to see their joy of learning something new. Programming can be challenging to learn at first, but through putting in the work, different structures quickly become routine."

What have previous participants of the program been like?

"Ever since the first execution of the program, there has been a wide range of participants with diverse backgrounds: from recent graduates to near-retirees, from marketing assistants to chief information officers, and everything in between. The program is specifically aimed at people without any prior knowledge of programming, but also includes relevant content for those who already have some preliminary knowledge of the subject."

Why is it worthwhile to participate in programming training?

"Programming is one of the foundations of the infrastructure of modern societies, so it could be considered a fundamental skill. The mere knowledge of the basics of programming will provide help in understanding the operation of complex programs, even if you haven’t written them yourself. In the program offered by Aalto PRO, you can easily get started from scratch with the help of trainers and assistants."

"Assistants make it possible to study in smaller groups during the program, which helps everyone keep up with the course. Assistants can also be reached quickly for help with independent exercises. The Python language learned during the course is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, with almost unlimited applications today. It is used especially in the creation of today's modern machine learning solutions."
What will the participants gain from the program?

"After the program, the participants will have become familiar with the basics of programming in the Python language and will have the ability to solve programming challenges independently at work or everyday life. A good example is the small project done at the end of the course, where you learn to design, deploy and document a programming project on a subject of your own choosing."

"After completing the AI part of the program, the participant will understand the basics of artificial intelligence, the differences between various approaches to and applications of AI, and will be able to apply and increase their knowledge of the subject."

"Examples of previous projects include, for example, predicting the quality of car makes and models, finding the perfect recipe for beer with the help of machine learning and text analysis on the tweets of the President of the United States."

Beliefs, claims and answers about programming

Learning programming requires mathematical ability.

Programming itself does not require any mathematical skills: the operations used in programming are based on the predefined logic and rules of the programming language.

Understanding programming is only important for coders.

Today, almost all of the devices we use are built on programming code, and older services and products are increasingly being converted into electronic form. Especially in working life, understanding programming is useful – even if your own work doesn’t involve any programming, it is good to understand its limitations and opportunities in order to be able to participate in programming-related discussions and understand the concepts.

Learning programming is quite abstract.

Programming could be compared to any handicraft: you can only improve your skills through practice. Programming is very practical, and one of the best things about it is that you can see in concrete terms what you have created.

 

In the biannual “Python ja tekoäly – koodauksen perusteet” program, you will learn the basics of the Python programming language and get a comprehensive overview of its opportunities, applications, and benefits. The program has been designed for people without prior programming experience.

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