Day 9. Distilling how to use Participatory Live Coding in-person and online - Tip 1

By Yanina Bellini Saibene in Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30

May 13, 2024

A group of adults in a room with a projector screen shating and a stand-up teacher.

Picture of Kenny Eliason at Unsplash

In the post The Participatory Live Coding Framework: A Structured Approach for Programming Educators, I explain what participatory live coding is and what pedagogical practices support this technique.

Today, I am starting a series of quick tips on implementing this technique based on the scientific literature and my experience using it in online and in-person classrooms.

Tip 1: Be seen and heard

As learners are coding along, they must clearly see and hear what you are doing. 

In-person Classroom

When teaching, if you are physically able, standing up allows for better engagement and movement, enabling you to interact with your audience effectively and providing space for questions.

When you sit down, you may appear hidden to those sitting in the back rows. It’s beneficial to check the screen for code or outlines occasionally but avoid prolonged focus to maintain connection with the audience.

Consider ergonomic setups like standing desks for comfort, and if teaching for extended periods, using a microphone can greatly assist hearing-impaired individuals, even in small rooms.

Online Classroom

In an online setting, accomplishing this may require more resources in terms of technology and infrastructure, such as a stable internet connection, a widescreen, or a second screen for you and your students.

Before starting, explain to your students how to accommodate their screens.

If they have only one screen (which is the case for most of my students), demonstrate how they can divide the screen into two vertically or horizontally. If they have two screens, show how to split the windows, one with the teacher’s screens and the other with their programming environment. You can have some pictures or videos to show how to accomplish this. Here are beautiful example pictures from R-Ladies Chile instruction for an online workshop.

During live coding:

Share your screen and ask if they see it and if the font size is adequate before coding. Change it if your students request it.

Enlarge your mouse pointer and consider using a pointer highlight (something like this).

Use a program that shows your screen presses, like Screenkey. If you forget to say the shortcut you use aloud, the soft will show this on the screen for your students.

The white background seems better for synchronous classes. The night theme looks better for recorded videos because some students watch them at night and use small devices.

If you can, share your code live as you write it. Antonio Vazquez Brust  explains how to do this using ngrok + RStudio for teaching R. Elio Campitelli explains how they teach R with frictionless live coding in this video. There are other tools for other languages. Naomi Alterman shows us how to live stream your live coding to static web pages for the audience in this talk for CarpentryCon 2022.

This is the first tip in a series of 10. See you tomorrow for the details of the second tip: Go slowly, and don’t teach alone.

Posted on:
May 13, 2024
3 minute read, 493 words
Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30
Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30
See Also:
Proyecto 2 - Las Estrellas del Universo R
Project 2 - The Stars of R-Universe
Project 1 - rOpenSci's Code of Conduct and Code of Conduct Committee