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Data & Digital Scholarship Tutorials

Workshop Description

Data Scripting: Introduction to Python Jupyter Notebooks Using Google Colab

This workshop will cover the fundamentals of Python scripting using Jupyter Notebooks on Google's Colaboratory platform.
Participants will work through a series of exercises in the following:

  1. Introduction to Python, Jupyter Notebooks, and Google's Colab platrform
  2. Hands-on introduction to 12 fundamental Python features/commands: print, variable types, operators, input, Python indentation syntax, if conditions, reading text files, loops, lists, dictionaries, concatenations, and functions.

Python I Workshop

(1) Take Workshops, (2) Pass Quizzes, (3) Become a Data Scholar

Interested in becoming a Data Scholar?


Takes only six workshops!

Pick any Two Categories Below, Take at Least Two Workshops from Each of Those Categories: (Total of 4)


  • Data Visualization
  • Text Data Mining
  • Python Data Scripting
Pick any One Category Below, Take at Least Two Workshops from That Category:


(Total of 2)

  • Research Data Management
  • Finding Secondary Data


* Workshops are offered every semester. No need to fit all 6 in one semester. Become a Data Scholar at your own pace.

* Becoming a Data Scholar is not mandatory. Take any workshop you like.

Head to Google Colaboratory

  • Sign in

Click New Python 3 Notebook


If you do not have this popup, click File/New Python 3 Notebook

Rename the Notebook to Howdy, World

In the first cell, type:

print('Hello, World')


Then run the snippet

Create a new Text snippet above our code snippet

Double-click the new text snippet.

Jupyter Notebooks use a syntax called Markdown (here is a good guide)


Let's use Header 2 and type Learning Python

Then a new line and type the date in bold.


Click in the code snippet to run the markdown

Click Tools/Settings


Features to note:

  • Site:
    • Light/Dark theme
  • Editor:
    • Indentation Length
    • Line Numbers


Covered in this section:

  • Print
  • Variables

Create a new text snippet below and using H2 format, type Programmer Practice


Then create a new code snippet blow that

Note the difference between printing a variable in quotes as a string and a variable not in quotes.
Incorporate the following additions to number our lines


Covered in this section:

  • Variable types
  • Concatenations
  • Expressions
  • Input

Create a new Text snippet below


In H2, type Number Adder


Then create a Code snippet below

Add 5 and 2 together

Change x and y to accept inputs from the user.


Run the snippet, but beware for any issues!

Adjust so that x and y are numeric values
QUIZ: Adjust so that the values are divided.  


Covered in this section:

  • If condition

Create an entirely new Python 3 Notebook

Name the Notebook Document Size Guesser


# My First Script

Josh Been, 11/15/2019

Print three document choices and input for a selection





print('(1) Document 1')
print('(2) Document 2')
print('(3) Document 3')
doc=input('Please select document: ')
if doc=='1':
    print('Doc 1')
elif doc=='2':
    print('Doc 2')
elif doc=='3':
    print('Doc 3')
    print('Try again')


Covered in this Section:

  • Uploading to Colab
  • Reading and writing text files
  • Line break
  • Counting characters in a string
Download & Unzip Documents

Upload to Colab

 - Click the little tab on the left

 - Click Files and upload the three files

Read a File


# open read connection - change to 'w' to write - change to 'a' to append


# read file and pass to variable

# write: f.write(string)

# close read connection


In a new code cell, read and print the contents of document 2


Count the number of line breaks.


Don't forget to add +1 to include the last line!

In previous code cell (with the condition statement), replace the print(Doc #) with the four lines needed to read the file and count the number of lines.


If you would like, the next tab has code you can copy/paste



Implement if and input statements to give a user two guesses


Try on your own!


Copy/paste the code to the right

print('(1) Document 1')
print('(2) Document 2')
print('(3) Document 3')
doc=input('Please select document: ')
if doc=='1':
    lines_count = contents.count('\n')+1
elif doc=='2':
    lines_count = contents.count('\n')+1
elif doc=='3':
    lines_count = contents.count('\n')+1
    print('Try again')

first_guess=float(input('How many lines do you guess?'))
if first_guess == lines_count:
    if first_guess<lines_count:
        print('Too Low')
        print('Too High')
    second_guess=float(input('How many lines do you guess? '))
    if second_guess == lines_count:
        print('Sorry, You Lose! ')


Covered in this Section:

  • Functions

A function is a reusable piece of code that can repeatedly accept variables and return variables.


To define a function, use:

def function_name(variable_name):

    do something with variable_name

    return a_variable


To call a function, use:


Let's create a function that accepts a number, and returns the number +1

Adjust the function to accept two numbers and return the product (multiply) of these two numbers.


Covered in this Section:

  • Lists
  • For Loops

A List is a simple list of values. Lists are denoted using the square brackets.


Items can be added to lists using the append command.


my_list=['red', 'orange', 'yellow', 'green', 'blue', 'indigo']

A list indexes items beginning with 0 and can be called using its index.
Items in a list can be iterated, or looped through using the for loop.


Covered in this Section:

  • While Loops

Different from for loops, while loops will run indefinitely while the expression is true.


Careful! - It is possible to create infinite loops using while

We can now easily add unlimited attempts to our document line size guesser

line_count = 1000
guess = 0  # needed to intialize guess

while guess!=line_count:
    guess=float(input('Guess? '))
    if guess<line_count:
        print('Too Low!')
    elif guess>line_count:
        print('Too High!')

print('You guessed it in', attempts, 'guesses!')



Create a notebook that will allow users to enter two numbers, decide whether the numbers should be added, subtracted, multiplied, or divided, and then print the solution.




  • Use If statements
  • Use Inputs
  • Multiply: *
  • Divide: /

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