It's great they're doing this. Because it helps interested students get back to the roots of this technology and (hopefully) gain a deeper understanding of how it works.
Marvin Minski (father of AI) once responded to the question "What should I be studying if I want to become an AI researcher?" by saying: Hit the basics hard. Because 80% of what you're being taught about AI today will turn out to be wrong
when it's finally worked out.
And therein lies the value of these "bare bones" approaches to learning about computing.
As Don Lancaster (early pioneer of homebrew digital electronics projects) put it: Hands-on is everything
. You need to be able to visualize ones and zeros flowing down those wires before you really "get it." You need to be able to feel
what these circuits do on a gut level
before you can effectively design them.
Glad to see this approach to teaching still lives on.