GitHub expands teacher access to Codespaces in Global Campus

New initiative is intended to expand access to browser and cloud-based computer science education tools for teachers and students.
Written by Nate Delesline III, Staff Writer

Teachers who join GitHub's Global Campus and use GitHub Classroom will now get free access to the browser-based Codespaces integrated development environment, the code hosting platform said in a Monday announcement.

Codespaces allows users to use a Visual Studio Code-backed editor, terminal, and debugger along with GitHub version control in a browser or on a desktop device. 

High school and college students use GitHub's educational tools and platforms. Integrating Codespaces into a GitHub Classroom experience means students can access it on almost any device with a browser, including iPads and Chromebooks.

According to GitHub, using Codespaces can reduce variations between student devices — an advantage for teachers. The cloud-based development platform can standardize students' runtime requirements, hardware specs, and settings. 

Although GitHub Team and GitHub Enterprise users are billed for Codespaces in a pay-as-you-go model, anyone with GitHub Global Campus teacher status will receive 1,250 hours of Codespaces free. 

GitHub values this access at $250 per organization monthly. The no-cost plan should be enough to serve 50 students completing five monthly assignments on a 2-core machine with one Codespace stored per student.

How can teachers access Codespaces?

Teachers can join Global Campus by completing an application. If you're already a verified teacher, GitHub said you will be automatically redirected to Global Campus upon logging in.

Verified Global Campus teachers can manage and organize classes around GitHub's industry-standard tools. For example, if you enable Codespaces in GitHub Classroom assignments, you can manage your students' integrated development environments.

Integrated Development Environments, or IDEs, are applications that allow you to develop code from start to finish. They aid programmers with tools such as debugging aids and autocomplete.

Creating, setting up, and sharing a Codespaces assignment with students will grant students access to a new repository within Codespaces. 

Within Global Campus, GitHub says teachers can also:

  • View recent assignments and student progress.
  • Connect with colleagues using GitHub Discussions.
  • Watch recent Campus TV episodes. Campus TV is created by GitHub and student community leaders and is available live and on-demand. 
  • Participate in student events, like hackathons and in-person and virtual events curated by GitHub Education and student leaders.
  • Request classroom swag, including stickers and cheat sheets.

GitHub said nearly 2 million teachers and students use Global Campus worldwide.

This release comes on the heels of GitHub's two-factor authentication rules launch.

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