derek ruths || network dynamics

Workshop teaches street fighting with Python

This past Thursday Mathieu Perreault and Derek held a Python workshop entitled Street Fighting with Python. The workshop material demonstrated how in situations where you have few other resources at hand (such as in a street fight), Python is a versatile and powerful tool. Mathieu and Derek showcased a number of libraries that ship with Python including support for working with SQLite databases, pickling objects, reading and writing CSV files, building well-formed command-line tools, and constructing applications with a full graphical user interface!

This was the second Python workshop organized by members of the Network Dynamics group. Plans are already underway for holding another in November. Materials on the first and second McGill Python Workshops are available online.

Please email us if you’d like to be notified about upcoming workshops!


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      Some US universities are cortbaolaling with each other by offering a few of their courses on-line and creating mechanisms by which students from other universities can also take those courses “live” via the Internet. With high-speed internet connections and the availability of appropriate software, students in remote locations can not only watch the ongoing lectures but they can also send-in their questions which only the instructor would see and may respond to them during the same lecture. We do not need specialized classrooms for the delivery of such courses. What we need is computers with high-speed internet access, which is a common thing these days. This allows universities/departments to not give “all” courses listed in their programs locally and thus allow them to concentrate their efforts and pool their resources in certain other areas of local interest and importance. In the American model, it was suggested to charge around US $415 per credit, with 75% of the revenue going to the university offering the course, 12.5% to the local university, and the remaining 12.5% for running this program. Given our tuition fee differences with the American universities, we should look into setting up a consortium of Canadian universities that can offer high quality courses to Canadian, American, and international students. Such courses can generate a lot of revenue for us.This strategy should work for a large number of courses although it may be somewhat difficult to implement for courses with laboratories. However, the possibility of generating extra revenues for the university and, at the same time, freeing-up financial resources locally in some areas appears to be very attractive. There may be a huge market worldwide, including US, for taking real-time, high-quality “McGill courses” remotely.

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