Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsWelcome to Begin Programming. It's great to see you. I'm Karsten Lundquist, and several years ago I had the idea for this course. It was actually the first course that we did here at Reading. And it has been fantastic to be here involved in it. When I came to university, the lecturers taught me how to programme using a very simple programme, and then build up the knowledge from there. But that's actually not how I learned to programme the first time I learnt it. That was in the 80s. In the 80s, we got other people's code. We looked at it. We didn't understand the whole thing. But we found things that we understood. And we changed it.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsAnd we saw how it changed the whole programme. And that's actually how I learnt to programme. Joining me is Professor Richard Mitchell. I've known him since the first year at university, because he taught me. He'll explain some of the thinking behind the course. Hello, as Karsten said, I've been programming for many years. In fact, longer than Karsten has himself. And I know from my own experience that when you write a programme, you rarely start with a blank canvas. Instead you bring together ideas that you've met before. Quite often from seeing other people's code. And that concept is very much influenced our thinking behind this course. We will show you a little bit of a programme. Hopefully you'll understand it.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 secondsAnd then you'll add to it. But you'll have the advantage compared with Karsten and I. In that you will be part of a bigger community who is helping you to do the learning. So that if you don't understand something, look on the web page, you'll find there could be someone's already asked that question. Before we can start coding the games, we need a development environment. And that's what we concentrate on in this Week. So let's get started and I hope you enjoy the course.

Welcome to Week 1

Welcome to ‘Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game’ a free online course produced by the Department of Computer Science at the University of Reading.

In this video you’ll meet Richard and Karsten, who’ll introduce you to the topics you’ll be covering over the next five weeks in this beginners course. You may find it challenging at times, but we hope it’ll be fun too. If you’re new to FutureLearn, you may find it useful to familiarise yourself with the platform’s How it works section.

In the next few Steps we’ll provide links to the software you’ll need to download, as well as tips on installing and setting it up. It’s worth taking time to work through each of these Steps slowly and carefully. Do persevere if you get stuck and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. The aim of this week is to get yourself set up and ready to go so you can move onto the real fun stuff in Weeks 2-5; programming your own version of the mobile game.

If you need help, check the comments. You may find that your question has already been answered. If not, leave a comment and someone will try to help you. You can also look at our Begin Programming FAQs at the end of this week which will be updated regularly throughout the course.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand some of the words or terms used in the course. We’ll be explaining what these mean, and have produced a glossary which you can refer to and can be found at the beginning of each Week.

Please note

This course includes video content and other visual teaching methods. As such, blind and visually impaired learners may need a helper to work through the course.

Meet the team

You may find you come up against some difficulties in the course. By following the educators and mentor team you’ll be able to find advice they may have given in response to queries that are similar to yours.

Follow the educators for this course by clicking through to their profiles. To see their comments on the course, just filter by ‘Following’.

Richard Mitchell Professor of Cybernetics
Karsten Lundqvist Former Teaching Fellow and Doctoral candidate at the University of Reading
Varun Ojha Machine Learning and Computational Intelligence researcher

You can also follow our mentors’ profiles. Rhian Taylor and Sam Malpass are both students at the University of Reading, and will be on hand to help support the discussions. They’ll answer questions where they can, but we can’t promise that they’ll be able to respond to everyone.


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1. Unlimited access to the course

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To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible.

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This video is from the free online course:

Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game

University of Reading