This class requires programming in Python (check if still true for your quarter). Use a graphical debugger such as in an Integrated Development Environment. The free 'IDLE' may not be adequate. Better options include ActiveState Komodo and Eclipse.
For folks planning to use Python :
Please take the time to get familiar with numpy . It is very useful for matrix computations, constructing confusion matrices and computing accuracy. The numpy example list is a very useful resource. The functions numpy.zeros((x,y)), array.sum, array.trace are particularly useful.
Also learning to profile python code using "python -m cProfile myscript.py" can be extremely useful when you have severe performance issues and want to quickly narrow down the offending function/method that is badly affecting the performance.