Connecting Data 8 Labs and Homework

Now that our JupyterHub has the Data 8 computing environment, it’s time to connect it with the course materials for the class (e.g., lectures, labs, and homeworks). This section covers how to get your own copies of the course labs and homeworks, so that you can modify them and distribute as you wish. We’ll cover how to connect with the Data 8 textbook in the next section.

Distributing course content

This section covers a few tips on how to distribute content for your Data 8 course.

The primary way that material is distributed in Data 8 is via “interact links”. These are links that, when clicked, will automatically pull new material into a students’ file system on your JupyterHub, and then direct them to this new content in a live session.

The tool that you use to do this is called nbgitpuller, which is pre-installed in the Docker image for the course. This means you can create interact links without needing to install anything new. For example, the following link should pull in the Data Science Handbook from Jake van der Plas:

http://<< YOUR-HUB-IP >>/hub/user-redirect/git-pull?repo=https://github.com/jakevdp/PythonDataScienceHandbook&branch=master&subPath=notebooks

In the following sections we’ll cover how interact links can be used with each type of Data 8 content in order to distribute materials to your students.

Course syllabus page

You may use whatever technology you prefer for managing your course and distributing content. However, we recommend setting up a syllabus page that is used for distributing interact links and course materials. For an example, see the structure of the Spring 2018 course syllabus:

[http://data8.org/sp18/]

It has a structure like this:

Date Topic Lecture Reading Assignment
2018-01-09 Cause and Effect Slides, Video Chapter 2 Homework 01
2018-01-22 Tables Demos, Slides, Video Chapter 3  
2018-01-24 Data Types Demos, Slides, Video Chapters 4, 5 Lab 02: Types and Sequences

Each row is a class, and each column is a type of material you can distribute. Links either point to pages on the course textbook (at inferentialthinking.com) or interact links that connect students with the course JupyterHub to distribute homeworks and labs.

Labs

Alongside the textbook are several computational labs that let students interact with the ideas covered in class. They can all be run interactively in the Data 8 environment (the same environment that we’ve used in your JupyterHub).

The latest links to the labs can be found in the course page for the current semester. For example, the Spring 2018 course is found here:

[http://data8.org/sp18/]

These materials are freely available on the semester course repository. There is a new repository created for each semester of the course, as the materials tend to evolve over time. For example, here is the repository for the Spring 2018 course:

[https://github.com/data-8/materials-sp18]

you can find the labs for this repository here:

[https://github.com/data-8/materials-sp18/tree/master/materials/sp18/lab]

Customizing your own copies of the labs

All labs should already be runnable on the environment that the Data 8 Docker image serves. The Data 8 materials are shared by adding “interact links” to the following syllabus page:

[http://data8.org/sp18/]

We recommend forking and customizing your own version of the labs, so that you can ensure the content is the right match for your course. To do this, perform the following steps:

  1. Fork the repository for the course you want to run. (e.g., https://github.com/data-8/materials-sp18/)
  2. Clone your repository to your machine

    git clone https://github.com/<YOUR-USERNAME>/materials-sp18/
    
  3. Make modifications to the labs as you see fit, push them to GitHub
  4. Ensure that you have a JupyterHub running the Data 8 environment (if not, follow these instructions)
  5. Create your interact links so they point to your version of the labs. For example,

    http://<< YOUR-HUB-URL >>/hub/user-redirect/git-sync?repo=https://github.com/<< YOUR-ORG >>/materials-sp18&subPath=materials/sp18/lab/lab02/lab02.ipynb
    

Homework

Homework in Data 8 is used for course grading as well as to guide students through the material. The homework uses a package called OKpy for auto-grading student homework. This can be used in two primary ways:

  1. Grading is performed locally (on the students own computer) in order to give live feedback to the code that students write.
  2. Grading is performed with the OKpy servers. This requires an account with OKpy, and is used by Data 8 to handle “official” grades for the course.

At the moment, we recommend using only #1 for your course.

The latest links to the homeworks can be found in the course page for the current semester. For example, the Spring 2018 course is found here:

[http://data8.org/sp18/]

These materials are freely available on the semester course repository. There is a new repository created for each semester of the course, as the materials tend to evolve over time. For example, here is the repository for the Spring 2018 course:

[https://github.com/data-8/materials-sp18]

you can find the homeworks for this repository here:

[https://github.com/data-8/materials-sp18/tree/master/materials/sp18/hw]

Grading course homework

Grading in Data 8 is performed with the OKpy package. This is a course management tool that allows you to both collect and grade notebooks, take attendance, and manage many other course tasks.

If you prefer a more light-weight solution, we recommend looking into Gofer Grader. This package focuses on auto-grading Jupyter Notebooks only, and is less complex to run.

Gofer Grader works with the same API that OKpy uses, meaning that using one package or another should require no change in the code itself. The only difference is that Gofer Grader will not send any course material to the OKpy servers.

Note: GoferGrader and OKpy should not both be installed at the same time. If one is installed, the other should be uninstalled.

Customizing your own copies of the homework

To customize the Data 8 homework for your course, take the following steps:

  1. Fork and clone the Data 8 materials for the semester of your choice (see above section on labs).
  2. Ensure that you have a JupyterHub running the Data 8 environment (if not, follow these instructions)
  3. Create your interact links so they point to your version of the homeworks. For example,

    http://<< YOUR-HUB-URL >>/hub/user-redirect/git-sync?repo=https://github.com/<< YOUR-USERNAME >>/materials-sp18/materials/sp18/hw/hw07/hw07.ipynb
    

Next step

Now that you’ve prepared materials for your course and JupyterHub, it’s time to connect with the course textbook