The Web Science course at the Uni of Southampton does exactly what you suggest. I only know this from the student perceptive, but basically all the students from various backgrounds have one module teaching them basic coding skills, computation in general, and Python specifically. Students are providing with a RPi to work with, and building a Twitter app was the coursework. Having done this as a student, I can say that it was a very good learning experience, and everyone was quite enthusiastic about it – both teachers and students!
Something I’m a bit curious about; does anyone use Raspberry Pis or other similar microcomputers in their teaching or research? I’ve had one for a couple of years and have recently got another, but have only ever used them for non-work stuff - running one headless as a home server for a Facebook bot as well as other bits and bobs of scheduled jobs, and the other for code development (some of which is for work in a roundabout way) and games etc...but I’ve always been intrigued about the possibility to use them as a research tool, for things like scheduling web scraping/data collection tasks and so on. And equally, since RPis are designed for teaching purposes, I can see a potential for using them in the classroom as platforms for students to pick up some programming and Linux/bash. It’s the kind of thing that is already very well provided for in computer science training – in my experience, CS departments have tonnes of these things just lying around that students can pick up and use for coursework and in class. So is it something we should be considering as a way of supporting social science students working with digital data etc?
I guess I’m asking about this for two reasons really: 1) if anybody has any experience using RPis in research and teaching, I’d love to hear about it, and 2) to gauge if there’s any interest in the idea and to figure out what to do from there (whether that’s developing resources to support research and teaching, or getting in touch with the RPi Foundation to get on their radar, or whatever).