I am not a staff member. The below mentioned details are MY OPINIONS on how one should start/take the course. Moreover the description is for edx version only. Some other ways through which you can take the course are here. If you are dealing with the course to gain only knowledge and not a certificate then you can take the course the way you want, else continue reading.
Welcome, This is cs50x, a Harvard College's introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming for majors and non-majors alike, with or without prior programming experience. This is a self-paced course and can be started any time. In 2014, about 73% of the students had no prior programming experience, so you need not to fear from keeping yourself in the less comfortable zone, but what really matters is :
what ultimately matters in this course is not so much where you end up relative to your classmates but where you, in Week 12, end up relative to yourself in Week 0.
Although the course expects no prior knowledge to computers or programming, but imo you should be slightly acquainted with :
Besides this one is supposed to get cs50 appliance installed on vmware/virtualbox to take the course. If you don't wish to get cs50 appliance, then read this.
Let David Sir give you the overview of the course.
This is the syllabus for cs50. By the end of the course(this year 31st Dec), one is expected to watch all the lectures, submit nine problem sets, and implement a final project being within the limits of academic honesty mentioned everywhere necessary.
Not mandatory, but the following books are suggested for self-assigned readings:
- Absolute Beginner's Guide to C, Second Edition
Sams Publishing, 1994
- Programming in C, Third Edition
Sams Publishing, 2004
- How Computers Work, Ninth Edition
Que Publishing, 2007
- Hacker's Delight
Henry S. Warren Jr.
Not everyone should read each of the book. Look at the syllabus page if you wish to see which one suits you. Click here to know how to get recommended books.
Schedule and Estimated Effort
Although the course is self-paced and there is not tight bound of deadlines, you are expected to submit the 9 problem sets and the final project before 31st December in any order you wish, but if you feel psychologically comfortable working under the pressure of deadlines, have a look at suggested schedule. You are free to submit problem sets in any order rather than starting from first to last but its better to follow the expected sequence.
How to start
This link has a good description on exactly how to proceed further from the courseware page. One is supposed to watch "Lectures"(1 or 2 lectures of 40+ minutes each). "Walkthroughs" are a detailed version of the lectures on programming examples at a slower pace. "Sections" provide you a review of the course's material. Both sections and walkthroughs are optional. "Shorts" are small videos(generally not less than 7 minutes) that explain a particular topic in detail. If you are among the more comfortable zone and have a prior knowledge of programming, then you should at least watch shorts(even if you have watched lectures in fast forward fashion).
At the end, One is supposed to solve pset which itself has additional walkthroughs elaborating what exactly is to be done in that pset and also includes some hints. Pset shall be graded within 2 weeks(generally) after submission. This is how psets are graded. The obtained score can be seen on CS50 Gradebook(see in mentioned links below). If you get less score, then you can submit the pset again. But this should be done before course's deadline, in fact a month before the deadline(to ensure backup time for the case when you don't get promising score).
If you have any doubt in the middle of the course, then feel free to use cs50.stackexchange.com to clear them. Have a look at this too.
I haven't used Reddit, Twitter, Linkedin, or Google+ for this purpose, but facebook has over 45k+ members(including David Sir and other staff members) to answer you.
Hope you love the CS50 song by CS50 2014 students.
Hope CS50 changes your life. Wish you Best of luck.