Computer Science 101

Stanford University on edX

Introduction to Computer Science for a zero-prior-experience audience. Play with little phrases of code to understand what computers are all about.

About this course

CS101 is a self-paced course that teaches the essential ideas of Computer Science for a zero-prior-experience audience. Computers can appear very complicated, but in reality, computers work within just a few, simple patterns. CS101 demystifies and brings those patterns to life, which is useful for anyone using computers today.

In Stanford’s CS101 computer science course, participants play and experiment with short bits of “computer code” to bring to life to the power and limitations of computers. Everything works within the browser, so there is no extra software to download or install. CS101 also provides a general background on computers today: what is a computer, what is hardware, what is software, what is the internet. Anyone who has the ability to use a web browser may be successful in this course. No previous computer science experience is required.



Short Course
Experience Level
6 weeks

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a short course?

With a short course, you’ll typically deep-dive into a specific area of interest within a broader topic.

Short courses are typically between 1 and 12 hours in duration, and in the case of guided courses (i.e. with live instructors), are sometimes spread over a number of days or weeks. Most short courses are self-paced, which means you progress through a series of videos and projects at your own pace.

Depending on the institution and the platform, you may also get a certificate of completion that you can add to your LinkedIn profile.

Is this really 100% online?

This course is completely online, so you can study from anywhere! All you’ll need is a device with an internet connection, such as a computer or a smartphone. If the course has any live, instructor-led sessions, you may need a microphone and possibly a webcam to fully participate. The instructor will make you aware of this beforehand.