Day 14: Distilling how to use Participatory Live Coding in-person and online - Tip 7 and 8

By Yanina Bellini Saibene in Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30

May 19, 2024

three person pointing a silver laptop computer screen

Foto de John Schnobrich en Unsplash

Today, we have two more tips about this teaching technique for programming. We will focus on our lesson plan, when and how we can improvise to avoid losing track, and how to use diagrams. 

Tip #7. Stick to the lesson material.

Stick fairly closely to the lesson plan and practice your participatory live coding technique, especially if this is the first time you teach the lesson. Add notes to your printouts of the lesson material or make them readily available on the second screen or device (tablet or laptop) if you use one.

You can find well-tested lessons from  The Carpentries and Data  Science in a Boxor my  list of courses.

Once you are more familiar with the material, you can and should start improvising based on your learners' backgrounds, their questions in class, and what is most interesting to teach them based on the learning objectives.

If a question or a “what if?” comes, but you don’t want to disrupt the flow of the lesson, or you know it will take more time than the one you have, or you need some time to sort through, ask learners to add them to a shared online document or ask your helper to collect them (you can use the sticky notes). Then, you can think about these while learners are doing exercises and answer them afterward or in the next class.

Consider using a timer for exercises. Videoconference tools provide a way to program how much time the breakout room will be open to work on teams. It would help you be honest about the time you give your learners to work on an exercise. Usually, exercise time is too long for the teacher and too short for the students. 

Ask your student if the time for exercise was enough and start to adjust how much time you give for each exercise. 

Tip #8. Use illustrations—Even better, draw them.

Diagrams and concept maps may help learners understand the lesson’s stages and organize the material. 

If you have the time, generate the illustrations instead of showing a finished diagram as you progress through the material, making them increasingly complex in parallel with the material you teach. Presenting complementary information using visual and verbal representations helps to learn (so-called “dual coding”).

There are several tools to do this online (Miro, Jamboard,,, and excalidraw, among others). You can use it with your mouse or a tablet (I use the Wacom One, which is great).

Drawing the diagrams together with the students is also a good idea. For example, I used to draw a concept map for flow control code with my students to discuss essential concepts before doing the live coding. 

I also draw a map of the execution order of an SQL sentence to explain the outcome of a query or why we should use one function and not another after the participatory live coding.

For online teaching, some tools allow you to write and draw over your shared screen. This can be helpful for marking part of the code and annotating the value of a variable while you execute a piece of code or the steps and order of execution of a sentence.

Posted on:
May 19, 2024
3 minute read, 539 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