What’s New in PyCharm Edu 3

PyCharm Edu 3 is the third major release of our free, easy and professional tool for learning programming with Python. This release introduces a new, revolutionary approach to learning Python more easily and effectively in a smart way, and focuses on course creation functionality to build your own programming courses.

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The Adaptive Python Course

Thanks to integration with Stepik, a learning management platform, in PyCharm Edu 3 we've added a brand-new experimental Adaptive Python course which is available by default. Long story short, going through this course, PyCharm Edu and Stepik monitor the student's progress and pick the next tasks based on that. A student can give hints to the system if the task feels too easy or difficult for him or her. You can read more about this revolutionary Adaptive Python course on the Stepik course webpage.

Enhanced Task Description Panel

In previous PyCharm Edu versions, as a course author you had to write task descriptions in separate HTML files without being able to preview tasks. In PyCharm Edu 3, we've reworked this so now you can edit your task descriptions right in the task panel, by clicking the special “Edit” icon. PyCharm Edu 3 now supports larger task descriptions, and you can also put code snippets right inside a task description.

Hyperlinks in the Task Descriptions

Now with PyCharm Edu 3 you can add hyperlinks to task descriptions in order to navigate a student to another task. Hyperlinks follow this format:

<a href="#[lesson_name]#[task_name]#">[link name]</a>

This can be especially helpful when you want to refer a student to another topic in your course.

Course Preview from the Сourse Сreation Mode

When creating a course, it's good to view the course from the student's perspective and test it while you're designing. PyCharm Edu 3 makes this task easy with a new action: when designing a course, right-click on the course view and go to Course Creator | Preview Course.

Running and Debugging Custom Tests

The custom tests that you write to verify students' input and solutions can be now run and debugged right from the course creation mode, without having to generate the course or preview it. Right-click the Run button from the test editor and choose the desired action. You can also place breakpoints in your test code right inside the editor and see a nice console output along with the variable viewer.

Automatic Course Dependencies

When designing your course, you'll most likely use some packages and libraries that are not installed on a student's machine. Now you can list all the dependencies in the requirements.txt file when creating your course. When a student opens the course on their computer, PyCharm Edu will create a separate virtual environment based on the default Python interpreter and install all the dependencies required.

Multiple Hints for Subtasks

In an interactive course designed with PyCharm Edu, a task usually consists of a few subtasks, and each of those is represented by special answer placeholders (see the quick start guide), which a student needs to fill on their own. In PyCharm Edu 3, it's now possible to create several textual hints for a single placeholder that can be shown to a student in order to help them solve this part of task.

Python Version Compatibility Information

When you design your course, it's usually very important to specify the Python version the course is compatible with. Now it's easy with Course Creator | Change course info. When a student opens a course on their machine, Pycharm will pick the appropriate interpreter. In case no interpreter is installed on the student's machine, Pycharm will alert them and suggest installing the required version.

A Fix for Raw Input in Debug Mode

Not actually a new feature, but a fix for a bug for the widely used case in teaching and learning programming. You can now safely use the input() function in the debug mode, so when you step over the input() function, you get the command line to proceed with the actual keyboard input.

Enhanced Course View in Course Creation Mode

We've reworked the course view in the course creation mode. The course view now represents a course the same way a student would see it. All system, test and hidden files are displayed in light gray.

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