In Spring 2020, New York University partnered with Microsoft to improve the Live Share feature in Visual Studio Code for new programmers. These are some of the questions that we were asked: How can coding be more accessible for students? What would a “VS Code” for education look like?

Microsoft Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a freeware source-code editor made by Microsoft for Windows, Linux and macOS. Features include support for debugging, syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, snippets, code refactoring, and embedded Git.

Live Share

Live Share helps users to quickly collaborate on the same codebase without the need to synchronize code or to configure the same development tool, settings, or environment. When users share a collaborative session, their teammate sees the context of the workspace in their editor.

The Problem

First and second-year undergraduate students have difficulty with learning how to code, which may be resolved by facilitating a more seamless collaboration with others. We know we are correct when students are able to learn the basics of programming together, measured by their ability to complete assignments or onboarding tasks through Visual Studio Code Live Share.

The Goal

1. Create easy collaboration on the Live Share function to encourage learning together

2. Reduce the number of students who have issues as a result of confusion or mistakes

Surveys

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80 percent of users find Visual Studio Code to not be friendly for new users.

80 percent of users prefer doing research by themselves rather than ask people to help. New coders spend time struggling to know if they are “doing the right thing” and seek validation that they are creating positive work.