[IPython-dev] IPython for Education

Doug Blank doug.blank at gmail.com
Fri Mar 21 09:42:53 EDT 2014

On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:20 PM, Clare Sloggett
<claresloggett at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Doug,
> I'm still fairly new to IPython Notebook - is this idea (multiple different
> logins) just talking about something you'd like to see, or are you talking
> about technology which exists?

Doesn't exist yet, something I'd like to see, and something that I can
help build.

> I've been thinking about using IPython Notebook for teaching by having each
> student create a separate notebook, but I'm given pause by
> a) it's very easy for students to mess with one anothers' notebooks, either
> accidentally or on purpose
> b) all students would be based in the same working directory so they could
> easily corrupt one anothers' data files - this would be even more likely to
> happen by accident than (a).
> The best I've come up with so far is to create a set of notebook profiles
> with different passwords, and launch a server instance per student on
> different ports. If there is currently a way of handling multiple users in
> IPython Notebook I'd be interested!

That is probably the best that there is. But it wouldn't be too hard
to imagine automating that, and allowing id + password via a server.

> Of course the other option is to have students run their notebook on
> localhost on their own computer, but sometimes we're in a lab situation
> where I don't have a lot of control over the machines and this is difficult
> to set up. Servers are easier in that situation.

Yes, that will always be an option, but I want to make it really easy
for beginning students to get started.

I believe that the IPython team is planning to turn their energy to a
server this summer. I hope to have something in place for this Fall.


> Cheers,
> Clare
> On 21 March 2014 04:30, Doug Blank <doug.blank at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 1:06 PM, Alessandro Gagliardi
>> <alessandro.gagliardi at glassdoor.com> wrote:
>> > I was thinking about that. But my understanding is that when multiple
>> > people
>> > are logged into the same IPython server, this might cause problems for
>> > the
>> > server. Particularly if they are using the same notebook, it seems like
>> > the
>> > kernel could easily get into an inconsistent state. Were you imagining
>> > that
>> > the students would each be using their own notebook but hosted on a
>> > single
>> > server? Or are there ways to have multiple users working on the same
>> > notebook without it causing problems?
>> I am imagining a Notebook Server where each user logs in with unique
>> ID/password and controls their own kernels/clusters (perhaps similar
>> to how Sage Cloud with IPython works). Students would be members of at
>> least one, maybe more, classes. The server would need to be able to
>> run (or farm out) at least one kernel per student.
>> At that point, one can start to think about sharing, and interacting
>> with students as users. A homework submission could just be a menu
>> option. I guess I am thinking about a multi-user system, perhaps like
>> Drupal/Wordpress built on Tornado for managing users as
>> students/ta's/teachers/graders etc.
>> -Doug
>> > Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 12:17:49 -0400
>> > From: Doug Blank <doug.blank at gmail.com>
>> > Subject: Re: [IPython-dev] IPython for Education
>> > To: IPython developers list <ipython-dev at scipy.org>
>> > Message-ID:
>> > <CAAusYChcc4VHK=HTHhVVHGXSX4rUw9g2wapMZXSVHo7E_xMxyg at mail.gmail.com>
>> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>> >
>> > Alessandro,
>> >
>> > I think you are right that there are many possibilities for using
>> > IPython in the classroom. I think many of these could be explored more
>> > easily if the students were logged in via an IPython server... at
>> > least that is where I will be concentrating my explorations this year.
>> > I could imagine: sharing, commenting, grading, hand-in methods,
>> > testing, quizzes, and clicker-style anonymous polling ("are we all at
>> > the same place? ready to move on?"), etc. It would be great to make a
>> > list of such feature ideas, and prioritize....
>> >
>> > -Doug
>> >
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