University of Oregon

Explorations in Computing

An Introduction to Computer Science and Python Programming

by John S. Conery

Explorations in Computing is an introduction to computer science for non-majors and pre-majors. The book presents key concepts in computing and "computational thinking" while introducing programming skills that let students explore those ideas.

The distinguishing feature of this book is its active learning approach. Each chapter includes a step by step tutorial project that gradually introduces Python programming constructs. By the end of the chapter students will see a complete working program and be ready to write similar programs on their own.


2015/07/05:   Tutorial exercises are now available as IPython Notebooks.

2015/01/20:   There is now a one-click PythonLabs installer for Microsoft Windows 7.

2015/01/19:   The book is now available in hardback or as an electronic text.

Lab Software

The exercises in the text use a set of modules called PythonLabs.

The lab modules provide support for a "computational workbench" that allows students to run interactive experiments, including exercises with algorithm animation.

(Linux and Mac OS X)
(Microsoft Windows 7)
(other versions of Microsoft Windows)

See Initial Setup for detailed installation instructions.

Online Lab Manual

The Lab Manual, written with beginning students in mind, contains instructions for installing lab software and running interactive programs. It also includes a reference section for the PythonLabs modules used in each chapter.

Working on Projects

Module Reference Pages

textbook cover


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