Computing in Python II: Control Structures

Massive Open Online Course
  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Requirements & Materials

Computing in Python II: Control Structures

Course Description

Building on your prior knowledge of variables and operators, this course gets into the meat of programming. Organized into five chapters, this course starts by covering the fundamentals of what control structures are and what they do, then moves on to four common control structures in Python. Conditionals let you modify what your program does based on the values of incoming variables. Loops let you repeat tasks for multiple values or while certain conditions hold true. Functions let you encapsulate complex reasoning into reusable chunks of code. Error handling lets you intelligently recover from anticipated and unanticipated glitches. By the end of this course, you'll be able to write complex programs in Python that perform useful reasoning.

Course Content


  • The basic role of control structures in general: lines of code that control other lines of code, determining when they execute


  • Building complex reasoning into our code by letting it make decisions based on the changing values of variables, like recommending a raincoat if it's going to rain or issuing a passing grade if a student's average is over 70


  • Building even more complex reasoning with for loops and while loops, both of which repeat certain lines of code over and over for every value in a list or while some condition is true


  • Encapsulating blocks of code into reusable functions that can be called as needed, including specifying their input and dictating their output


  • Reacting gracefully when anticipated or unanticipated errors occur during your program’s execution
Requirements & Materials



  • Certain problems may benefit from experience with algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry, but you can succeed without these.


  • CS1301xI or equivalent knowledge is required.



  • Internet connection (DSL, LAN, or cable connection desirable)


Who Should Attend

This course is designed for anyone interested in taking their first steps in computer science, from high school students to professionals. It is expected that you will have also mastered content from the previous course(s) in the sequence.

What You Will Learn

  • How control structures can affect how other lines of code run
  • Conditionals, including if, else-if, and else, for complex reasoning
  • Loops, including for loops, for-each loops, and while loops for repeated behaviors
  • Functions, for encapsulating code into reusable chunks
  • Error handling, for anticipating and resolving expected errors

How You Will Benefit

  • Understand how code creates simple and complex computer programs.
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