Configuring nbgrader

The nbgrader package will be installed with the reference deployment.

To run nbgrader’s formgrade application or use its notebook extensions, additional steps are needed.

Deploy formgrade

First, edit the deploy_formgrade.yml file with the information for each course you want to start formgrade for. Each course should have a unique nbgrader_course_id and nbgrader_port.

Second, make sure that each main instructor (the nbgrader_owner for each course) has logged into JuptyerHub at least once. This ensures that their home directory has been created. The home directory of the main instructor is used for the main nbgrader course files. It is assumed that the main instructor will be running the nbgrader command line programs.

Third, run the ansible-playbook to deploy formgrade:

$ ansible-playbook -i hosts deploy_formgrade.yml

Fourth, SSH into the JupyterHub server:

$ ssh {user}@{hostname}

Finally, restart jupyterhub and nbgrader by doing:

$ supervisorctl reload

Configuration notes

  • To limit the deployment to certain hosts, add the -l hostname to the commands:

    $ ansible-playbook -i hosts -l hostname deploy.yml
  • The logs for jupyterhub are in /var/log/jupyterhub.

  • The logs for nbgrader are in /var/log/nbgrader.

  • If you are not using GitHub OAuth, you will need to manually create users using adduser:

    $ adduser --gecos "" username
  • Change the ansible configuration by editing ./ansible_cfg.

  • To manage the jupyterhub and nbgrader services by SSH to the server and run:

    $ supervisorctl jupyterhub { start, stop, restart }

Troubleshooting: Saving and restoring users

In some situations, you may remount your user’s home directories into a new instance that doesn’t have their user accounts, but has their home directories. When recreating the same users it is important that they all have the same uids so the new users have ownership of the home directories.

This is only relevant when using GitHub OAuth for users and authentication.

To save the list of usernames and uids in {{homedir}}/saved_users.txt:

$ ansible-playbook -i hosts saveusers.yml

Then, when you run deploy.yml, it will look for this file and if it exists, will create those users with those exact uids and home directories.

You can also manually create the users by running:

$ python3

in the home directory.