[IPython-dev] Developing a MOOC with IPython notebooks

Anton Akhmerov anton.akhmerov at gmail.com
Tue Dec 23 06:59:16 EST 2014

On Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 12:55 PM, Wes Turner <wes.turner at gmail.com> wrote:
> There was a thread a few days ago about "[IPython-dev] Making custom
> converter/template with nbconvert"
> specifically in regards to generating edX OLX:
> http://mail.scipy.org/pipermail/ipython-dev/2014-December/015576.html

Right, that's another one of us; my questions are about other
features. It seems the converter is going to be working fine


> On Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 8:32 AM, Anton Akhmerov <anton.akhmerov at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi everyone,
>> I am a part of the team developing an EdX online course on topology in
>> condensed matter (see http://tiny.cc/topocm), and I'd like to ask
>> several IPython notebook questions.
>> We decided to develop the course predominantly using IPython/Jupyter
>> notebooks for several reasons. First and foremost, the notebooks are
>> really awesome; thanks to the team and community for developing this
>> great tool.
>> On a smaller scale, the notebooks allow to share content with people
>> not willing to register on EdX, to tightly integrate the programming
>> elements of the course with the rest of the content, and finally to
>> decouple the course development from the EdX studio.
>> We intend to develop all of the course as a bunch of IPython notebooks
>> and develop a custom tool that uses nbconvert to generate EdX folder +
>> xml + content course structure.
>> The reason why that last part is an advantage is because there is no
>> notion of version control in the studio, and it's a relatively
>> rudimentary tool with a heavy GUI.
>> In a longer term perspective we could also run a jupyterhub instance
>> to relieve the course users from the need to setup their own
>> programming environment (this doesn't seem to be an option right now
>> due to the time constraints).
>> So here go the questions:
>> * Is the rough release date for v3.0 known? There are several
>> important modifications to the notebook format that make this change
>> relevant for us. I also hear that the release is planned soon, so do
>> you aim for a release some time in January?
>> * What are the best practices for keeping notebooks in git? We've
>> found nbdiff, but it seems limited: for example it doesn't do anything
>> to diff markdown cells. Is there a better way?
>> * What are the current options for creating rich graphic content that
>> doesn't rely on having a live kernel? I know of mpld3, ipywidgets, and
>> bokeh. For us ipywidgets seem like the best solution so far, but it's
>> a pet project of Jake Vanderplas that didn't see any action in around
>> half a year. So I wonder if there is anything more alive in that
>> respect, that'd be great. Perhaps in v3?
>> * In general, do you have any further advice?
>> Thanks,
>> Anton Akhmerov
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