AAAI Publications, Twenty-Third International FLAIRS Conference

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Python as a Vehicle for Teaching Natural Language Processing
Reva Freedman

Last modified: 2010-05-06


I have taught Introduction to Natural Language Processing several times at Northern Illinois University. Since the students are more interested in the Python code that holds the assignments together than in the NLP content, over time I have cut back on linguistic content and added to the programming content. This year I renamed the course “Introduction to NLP in Python” and spent the first few weeks teaching Python from scratch. This decision has been very successful. The syllabus interweaves Python topics, core NLP topics, and essential computer science topics I feel every student should learn before graduating. In this paper I describe the motivation for teaching the course this way, the syllabus and its rationale, and prospects for expanding the course to two semesters.


AI education; natural language processing

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