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Patrick EsterJune 24, 20202 min read

Jupyter Notebook Courses and Codio

Codio prides itself on being pedagogically agnostic and flexible enough to meet the needs of any instructor. Jupyter Notebooks are no exception. Instructors who make Jupyter Notebooks a cornerstone of their teaching can combine them with the power and efficiency of Codio.

Note: In 2024, Project Jupyter released "JupyterLab," designed to provide an even more flexible and modular notebook experience. Learn more about using JupyterLab in Codio.


Lorenz system attractor - Jupyter notebook

Code source: 

What are Jupyter Notebooks?

Jupyter Notebooks are interactive coding environments that work with many popular programming languages like Python and LaTeX. These coding notebooks blend executable code with data and narrative text. Interspersing text among the code provides context, which allows for new ways of interacting with and understanding code. 

Many instructors find that Jupyter Notebooks are good for beginners, as they allow users to create and share notebooks, learn keyboard shortcuts, and experience a development environment that allows for deep learning. Beginners can work with a variety of cell types, including markdown cells and code cells, in the Jupyter Notebook interface. 

And, because Project Jupyter is open-source, the web application is free to use.

Instructors can offer inline explanations for the code presented to students. These explanations are in close proximity to the code, which avoids large blocks of code followed by a large block of text. This makes the content less imposing. Moreover, students can be evaluated not just on their code but their thought processes behind the code they submit.

Jupyter Notebooks move beyond a traditional IDE and are growing in popularity for modeling, simulations, machine learning, Computer Science education, and many other domains.

Lorenz System, Python SimulationLorenz System, Python Simulation

Jupyter and Codio

Codio takes a pedagogically agnostic view with regard to content and technology. Instructors can adapt Codio to meet the needs of their class. Because of this, Jupyter Notebooks are first-class citizens. Whether you offer traditional or online Jupyter Notebook classes, Codio can help your students learn.

Codio provides officially supported stacks for Jupyter courses. These templating systems will install the required software for Jupyter Notebooks. The Jupyter server automatically starts when the project is opened, which means double-clicking on a notebook file will render it as expected. 

There is even a stack with nbgrader installed. This means instructors can implement auto-graded assessments in their notebooks. One hassle with nbgrader is distributing the notebooks to students; however, Codio handles the distribution of Jupyter Notebooks online automatically. There is no reason to email students or use Jupyter Hub. 

Codio keeps track of student work and passes the results to the LMS.

Interactive coding, auto-graded assessments, and code visualization are all at an instructor’s fingertips.

Jupyter Notebooks courses provide a unique approach to programming. The inclusion of code, data, and text gives coding projects the ability to offer a narrative that augments the output of the code. Codio remains committed to offering instructors the flexibility they need. 

Jupyter Notebooks seamlessly integrate with Codio, offering instructors the same feature set as the Guide. Interactive coding, auto-graded assessments, and code visualization are all at an instructor's fingertips.

Jupyter Notebooks' rise in popularity in the education sector has brought educators together to author a book on using Jupyter Notebooks in the classroom. There is even a chapter dedicated to pedagogical patterns to improve learning outcomes.

For more information on using Jupyter Notebooks in Codio, see the Hello Codio in Jupyter Notebooks starter packs (you must have an active Codio account).



Patrick Ester

Patrick is Codio's Director of Content. He has spent the last eight years teaching computers and programming to students in K-12 schools.