What’s the difference between Codio and Coding Rooms? Which one is better for your needs? In this article, we’ll examine both platforms to see how they compare.

But first, what is Coding Rooms? Coding Rooms is a comprehensive, all-in-one integrated real-time platform for teaching programming online and in-person. Coding Rooms enables you to connect with each student, see their work, and engage with their code instantly. Codio, on the other hand, is a cloud-based learning platform used by instructors to deliver courses in computing and programming. It allows teachers to design coding assignments and track student performance.

Both Codio and Coding Rooms have a suite of educational tools not found in your typical IDE; however, a number of unique features set Coding Rooms apart from Codio. Let’s unpack some of these differences:

1. Browser-based IDE that supports a single, real-time Student Workspace Dashboard

Although both Codio and Coding Rooms include built-in IDEs, a key differentiator of Coding Rooms’ real-time platform is the one-of-a-kind Student Workspace Dashboard. This feature can be found in the Live Classroom, where teachers can view all of their students’ IDE workspaces live at the same time on one web page.

While Codio also provides a Teacher Dashboard for accessing students’ code editors, it requires educators to open them separately and spend time switching among a multitude of tabs. The dashboard that Coding Rooms offers within its free tier removes that hassle. Coding Rooms’ Student Workspace Dashboard allows instructors to view all of their students’ code editors in real time within a single workspace. This saves extra time and clicks necessary for teachers to engage with their students' work, so they can direct their focus on teaching.

To further monitor student engagement, Coding Rooms offers the additional functionality of an activity monitor to track when students are last active in class or when they’ve made an error in their workspace. This allows teachers to immediately jump in and help students exactly when they need it most, preventing the buildup of frustration that often causes students to disengage. Coding Rooms’ direct and group messaging capabilities also make it easy for students to ask for help, collaborate with each other, or participate in class discussion. What’s more, Coding Rooms offers professional IDE integrations with VS Code and Jupyter Notebook, giving teachers flexibility around their classroom IDE of choice. Thus, although both Codio and Coding Rooms grant access to student workspaces, the consolidated, real-time Student Workspace Dashboard is truly unique to Coding Rooms. 

2. Audio, Video and Breakout Room Functionalities

Both Codio and Coding Rooms support audio, video and chat functionalities, on top of real-time cursor presence; however, the scope varies across the two platforms. In Codio, these functionalities can only be accessed from a single collaborative workspace. Coding Rooms supports conferencing capabilities in its free tier Live Classroom with up to 50 collaborative workspaces within the same webpage. This makes it easier to broadcast messages to the entire class, and still have the option to assist students individually with ease.

3. IDE Functionalities: Code Playback and Comments on Code

Both Coding Rooms and Codio offer code playback features. Coding Rooms’ code playback feature is provided to users for free up to a certain number of keystrokes, and unlimited through the premium tier. The option to trace back keystroke by keystroke is not only helpful for plagiarism detection, but also allows teachers to better understand their students’ thinking process and problem-solving skills.

The ability to directly comment on student workspaces is available on both platforms and is now available in Coding Rooms’ free tier as well. “Hover-over commenting” on code makes feedback effective and easy to reference at a later time. It also allows teachers to conveniently engage with students’ code while giving them space to tackle problems themselves.

4. Content marketplace for teachers to share and collaborate on course curriculum

Coding Rooms has built a content marketplace for teachers to share and collaborate in real-time on course curriculum. All content shared in the marketplace can be easily integrated into the Coding Rooms platform, making teaching programming much easier. Experienced teachers can lend their expertise to the broader CS teacher community, who gain efficiency by minimizing time and effort spent reinventing the wheel. Codio also has a library of curriculum content that is integrated with their code editor; however, it exists in a closed ecosystem, without the ability for teachers to share their creations with the community. Codio teachers can only build upon or customize Codio’s course content for their own use. For those looking to source new and exciting teaching materials for class, Coding Rooms offers the broadest possibility of finding it.

Conclusion

More than just a course facilitator, Coding Rooms offers teachers and students the ability to deeply engage with one another and is optimized for real-time learning. While both platforms support a large variety of coding languages and IDE functionalities, Coding Rooms’ real-time interactivity with students and access to a variety of premium features within its free tier truly makes it more effective for instructors looking for a more efficient, engaging, and collaborative programming classroom.