Flash MOOC: First Python Notebook


In response to an outpouring on social media, I plan to host an impromptu live stream of "First Python Notebook," a computer-programming class that teaches the fundamentals of computerized data analysis for news.

How it will work

The class is tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. Pacific on Saturday, March 28.

If you're interested in participating, fill out this form. The class is free. All are welcome. Class size may need to be limited.

You are expected to have your own computer and to do some configuration of its programming tools before class. You will also need to connect to an online meeting using a program like Zoom. If you sign up, I'll be in touch soon about the specifics.

About the class

The six-hour hands-on class will guide students through an investigation of money in politics. The entire tutorial is already scripted out at www.firstpythonnotebook.org. First developed in 2017 as a massive open online course, "First Python Notebook" has been taught at numerous journalism conferences and in university classrooms around the world.

If you join, you will learn just enough of the Python computer programming language to work with the pandas library, a popular open-source tool for analyzing data. The course will teach you how to read, filter, join, group, aggregate and rank structured data.

You will also learn how to record, remix and republish your analysis using the Jupyter notebook, a browser-based application for writing code that is emerging as the standard for sharing reproducible research.

You will also learn how to plot and chart your data inside the notebook using the Altair data visualization library, a cutting-edge tool that offers a simple, structured grammar for generating graphics.

We will work through the standard materials, and, depending on our pace, take several breaks throughout the day.