[IPython-dev] [jupyter]News from a French Mooc about Python with ipython

Matthias Bussonnier bussonniermatthias at gmail.com
Tue Mar 31 13:59:29 EDT 2015

Bonjour Benjamin, 

Le 31 mars 2015 à 06:37, Benjamin Ninassi <benjamin.ninassi at inria.fr> a écrit :

> Hi all, 
> Months ago I told you about our purpose to use ipython notebooks on a web plateform (without requiring students to install anything on their computer) in a Mooc about python programming on the governmental french Mooc plateform https://www.france-universite-numerique-mooc.fr/.
> The mooc (https://www.france-universite-numerique-mooc.fr/courses/inria/41001/Trimestre_4_2014/about) took place between november and december 2014, featuring 111 ipython notebooks (+ videos, quizz and other contents).

That's great to hear, and we really appreciate you coming back to us with such information, 
it is a really helpful to know what are the usage of IPython. 

> On this occasion we have developed an application infrastructure around ipython notebooks.
> This infrastructure allows, through a URL containing a student identifier and a notebook name :
> - to dynamically create student accounts on the server
> - to copy the teacher's notebook to the student directory, and create access to some resources (data, media)
> - to dynamically launch an ipython dedicated web server for the student (assuming it's not already running) so that it can use its versions of the notebooks in a mastered context (for security issues)
> Some other features have been developed and integrated (eg deployment management of the teacher notebooks), the possibility to  reset notebook (get the latest version of the teacher), the ability to generate a static html version deployed in the student space, allowing him to share its results with other students (through eg forum), etc. The GUI has also been slightly customized to access these features and limit feasible actions by students who do not know the keyboard shortcuts. A xBlock for OpenEdx was created so as to include these notebooks in the MOOC platform through an iframe to completely integrate the course complements the platform.
> The developments were largely made in php / Symfony2 + some shell scripts, the server-side security was mostly made with AppArmor.
> The MOOC went very well (over 9,000 enrolled students) and feedbacks on the notebooks were extremely positive!
> This application will be reused in a robotics MOOC before this summer, and the python programming MOOC will be replayed next fall.
> We had no time to properly package the developments or write anything on the subject, but as I discover https://developer.rackspace.com/blog/deploying-jupyterhub-for-education/ , I feel JupyterHub was Developed to meet a similar need, any feedback on its use in a Mooc or any massive environnement with hundreds of students at a time would be interesting !

That's awesome, I suppose the decision to not develop that completely in the open is not yours, and I hope that this was not too much re-inventing the same things both on our and your side. 

I don't know how much you can share that, but it would be nice to compare the workflow of your platform and yours too see where we can improve both. Maybe it would be possible to at least share that in private ? Or get thoughts on security or challenges you had ?

As you have probably seen in Jess email, we are going release things relatively soon (though they are already available on github) and we will continue to develop and push things forward. we would really appreciate your contribution, and listen to your needs to get something reusable. 

> Feel free to come back to me with any questions !

Have you talk to / hear of the mood of Lorena Barbara, i think they are also integrating with EDX. 

Any chance you can share some feedback/analytics of how students are using the notebooks ? 
We might develop a extension that  collect some of students behavior like which keyboard shortcut/button they use. 
Would you be interested in using it ? 

Thanks, keep us informed, and looking forward to more collaboration. 

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