Teach with Renkulab

One of the bottlenecks in teaching analysis and programming skills is that often a large portion of the session is spent installing software. A few reasons for this are the following:

  • the software dependencies themselves might take a long time to install
  • bugs! students might have different operating systems than the instructors and the versions might not be the same or might not exist at all, in some cases

Renkulab bypasses the struggle by allowing instructors to create templates as starting points for students to interact with the instructional material:

  • the instructor creates a new project and writes the dependencies in one place (e.g. a Dockerfile and/or requirements.txt and/or install.R)
  • students “fork” (make a copy) of the project to use as a starting point
  • students can launch interactive environments (e.g. JupyterLab and/or RStudio) where these dependencies are pre-installed.

From their copy of the starter project that the instructor creates, students can then independently build on the project from inside the interactive environment by adding and modifying code, extra software dependencies, etc., which they can then save (by git commit & git push) back to Renkulab.

FAQ

Privacy & Group Settings: If I create a project on the public instance of Renkulab, who will be able to access it?

Updates: If I make an update to the course material, how can I ensure that students will receive these updates?