Coding exercise anatomy

Learn about the different parts of a coding exercise and how those map to what a learner sees on Campus.

Amy Peterson avatar
Written by Amy Peterson
Updated over a week ago

When building out a DataCamp course, it's important to know what all the different parts of an exercise entail and how a student sees them when they take your course on or what we call on Campus. There are many parts to an exercise and they are each meant for a different part of the student experience; if you lack clarity in one part, you may start building out the wrong thing and delay the progress of your course's development.

View the diagram below of an exercise on Campus and see how the different parts of the finished exercise map to what you build in Teach.

Screenshot of a coding exercise with the title, context, instructions, hint button, script/solution window, console/slides tabs, and console/shell labeled.
  • Exercise title. The exercise title will be available just above the exercise's context block and should clearly convey the objective of the exercise.

Screenshot of coding exercise with exercise title highlighted
  • Context. The context of the exercise should thoroughly contextualize the exercise. The ideal context contains a learning objective, motivation, and expected outcomes.

Screenshot of coding exercise with context highlighted
  • Instructions. The instructions for the exercise are located underneath the context section. Ensure that you do not have portions of the instructions in the context, as this requires students to go back-and-forth between the two sections. Instructions should be short, but should also require students to think about how to approach the problem.

Screenshot of coding exercise with instructions highlighted
  • Hints. Students ask for this when they need help with an answer. Students must click "Show Hint"  or use Ctrl + H   to receive this information. Hints should get students ~50% of the way to the answer. Note: Many instructors confuse hints with SCT feedback messages, which are returned following an incorrect student submission. SCT feedback messages are generated when a student submits an incorrect solution.

Screenshot of coding exercise with hint highlighted
  • Sample code. The sample code appears in the  or script.R  window of an exercise. This is where the student will fill in the code and then submit. The solution submitted from the script window is called the "student submission."

Screenshot of coding exercise with script window highlighted
  • Solution code. This is the expected solution and is available in the SOLUTION.PY  or SOLUTION.R  window to students when they click "Show Answer"  or use Ctrl + H   (students must use this hotkey twice to get the answer; they will first get the hint). Submitting the solution from the solution window will enable a student to complete the exercise, but they won't receive experience points (XP) for that exercise.

Screenshot of coding exercise with solution window highlighted
  • Success message. The success message is returned to a student upon the successful completion of an exercise. An ideal success message focuses on insights, not praise.

Screenshot of a completed coding exercise with success message highlighted
  • Submission Correctness Tests (SCTs). SCTs check whether the student submission is correct. If a student's submission is correct, the success message is returned. If the student submission is incorrect, a feedback message, with the heading "Incorrect Submission" will be returned to the student. This feedback message will include information that directs students to the portion of the exercise that they got wrong and also highlight it in the script window. If there are multiple errors in the code, the SCTs will throw the first error message only.

Screenshot of an incorrect coding exercise submission with SCT feedback highlighted
Did this answer your question?