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Teachers and students had to adapt to the virtual world quickly and efficiently. There was no exception for Chris Piech and Mehran Sahami, members of the computer science faculty at Stanford University. Chris and Mehran ended up realizing the need to revamp the methodology of one of the university’s most popular courses, Code in Place.

Code in Place offers a high-quality, no-cost learning experience for those who want to learn introductory coding. Moreover, the course teaches the fundamentals of computer programming through the Phyton programming language.

Students with no experience can take part in this course. The course has been given twice, the first time in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, and the second time this year.

But what makes this course so special in an AI way is who grades it. One volunteer teacher for every 10 students was recruited and trained in order to make the course intensive for the number of teachers and full of teaching and learning. But for homework involving programming, an artificial intelligence tool was built to provide real-time, “constructive” feedback. For over a thousands students, who received more than 15,000 pieces of advice, reception was overwhelmingly positive with no discernible difference from human feedback. The work was covered by the New York Times.

The course has been attended by 2,000 teachers and 20,000 students from all over the world. Plans for an upcoming offering are expected to be out soon. Demand and interest has only grown since the beginning.

Although it was the first faculty course given vitally early in the pandemic, it reflected an ideal class; students interested in learning without the incentive of grades. And experienced faculty or students who wanted to share their knowledge with the world.

Check out the Code in Place showcase with projects from previous offerings.

The podcast “Humans of Code in Place” launched in relation to the course, in which the stories and experiences of some students and educators can be appreciated.

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