I did for fun two MIT graduate students labs (operating systems, and distributed system) that complement the lectures.
I found them very challenging and interesting. It took me a few weeks to complete them, and I didn't even do the "project" part which was more open-ended.
The end result is nice little feedback loop of far better understanding of the theory and concepts behind the code that I write feeding into writing better code, which then feeds back into better understanding. So now when I help peers (especially friends still in college), I focus less on the language and more on helping the concept click for them.
I can't say how well this works in practice in a university -- it sure seems to work for MIT -- but I know that in my professional life it has made just about everything I do far easier to reason about and my work is all the better for it.
Yeah, it came across to me that the expectation was that you'd learn to program mostly outside of the course. Or, really, that you already had a reasonable grasp on the basic concepts. Otherwise I think that course would feel to most people like being tossed into the deep end of the pool from a great height.
To be sure, with the campus version of the class there would be recitation sessions and other resources to get help on the programming side. There's also a companion textbook that goes into more Python details. But that's certainly not a class to "learn to program," much less how to work on a command line, use an editor, etc.
That may be reasonable for an MIT CS curriculum but most other majors probably don't have the same degree of implied prerequisites.
There's probably an expectation these days that students have some degree of exposure to computers. When I took an intro to computing course (FORTRAN) it was pretty much no expectations. But times have changed.
And I found 6.001x useful. But then I had a lot of experience with computers even if not programming full-time professionally.
Makes sense, guessing not many high schools even had one computer until the Apple II, which I guess would have been a bit after you graduated.
Side note, I love that it's possible to take a course like that online for ~free now.
I did take a FORTRAN course in college which people would consider very rudimentary today. This was the textbook :-) https://openlibrary.org/works/OL6795090W/A_Fortran_coloring_...
But I didn't really use a computer to speak of (other than as a text editor in grad school) until I was working--and later got into programming as a hobby.