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Course Description

[As described below, this is Part B of a 3-part course. Participants should complete Part A first -- Part B "dives right in" and refers often to material from Part A.]

This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of programming languages, with a strong emphasis on functional programming. The course uses the languages ML, Racket, and Ruby as vehicles for teaching the concepts, but the real intent is to teach enough about how any language “fits together” to make you more effective programming in any language -- and in learning new ones.

This course is neither particularly theoretical nor just about programming specifics -- it will give you a framework for understanding how to use language constructs effectively and how to design correct and elegant programs. By using different languages, you will learn to think more deeply than in terms of the particular syntax of one language. The emphasis on functional programming is essential for learning how to write robust, reusable, composable, and elegant programs. Indeed, many of the most important ideas in modern languages have their roots in functional programming. Get ready to learn a fresh and beautiful way to look at software and how to have fun building it.

The course assumes some prior experience with programming, as described in more detail in the first module of Part A. Part B assumes successful completion of Part A.

The course is divided into three Coursera courses: Part A, Part B, and Part C. As explained in more detail in the first module of Part A, the overall course is a substantial amount of challenging material, so the three-part format provides two intermediate milestones and opportunities for a pause before continuing. The three parts are designed to be completed in order and set up to motivate you to continue through to the end of Part C.

Week 1 of Part A has a more detailed list of topics for all three parts of the course, but it is expected that most course participants will not (yet!) know what all these topics mean.

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I recently completed Programming languages - Part B, by Dan Grossman on coursera ( The homework in Racket was a very similar problem. Needless to say it was mindbending and to get the final interpreter work with all those expressions(nested) / lambdas was so satisfying!
The Coursera course Programming Languages (Part A and B) by Dan Grossman teaches FP (and more) using SML and Racket. I enjoyed this course a lot. I would not recommend it for kids, but it should be great for students with some limited programming experience.



May 10, 2020 · nikofeyn on Racket is 25
as others have said, the little schemer (for functions) and also the little mler (for types) are purpose built to thinking about functions and types recursively.

also, the coursera course programming languages by dan grossman is an excellent course on doing things recursively. in part a, you learn sml, and in part b, you learn racket and build a simple interpreter.

I actually finished that course when it first came out (and was a single course as opposed to a 3 part breakdown) way back, like 4-5 years ago.

Thanks all for the suggestions! :)

This is Part B, but there's also parts A and C. While I recommend the whole course, you don't need to take it all if you just want the interpreter project.

The networking course was discontinued, but these are the videos:

The videos aren't terrible, but the homework was worthless.

Thank you.
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