Classroom Project Resource Guide

This document includes information on utilizing OSC resources in your classroom effectively.

Request a Classroom Project

Classroom projects will not be billed under the Ohio academic fee structure; all fees will be fully discounted at the time of billing.

Please submit a new project request for a classroom project. You will request a $500 budget. If an additional budget is needed or you want to re-use your project code, you can apply through MyOSC or contact us at OSCHelp. We require a class syllabus; this will be uploaded on the last screen before you submit the request. 

During setup, OSC staff test accounts may be added to the project for troubleshooting purposes.


We suggest that students consider connecting to our OnDemand portal to access the HPC resources. All production supercomputing resources can be accessed via that website without having to worry about client configuration. We have a guide for new students to help them figure out the basics of using OSC.

If your class has set up a custom R or Jupyter environment at OSC, please ask the students to connect to


We currently have two production clusters, Pitzer and Owens, with Nvidia GPUs available that may be used for classroom purposes. All systems have "debug" queues that, during typical business hours, allow small jobs of less than one hour to start much quicker than they might otherwise.

If you need to reserve access to particular resources, please contact OSC Help, preferably with at least two weeks lead time, so that we can put in the required reservations to ensure resources are available during lab or class times.


We have a list of supported software, including sample batch scripts, in our documentation. If you have specific needs that we can help with, let OSC Help know.

If you are using Rstudio, please see this webpage

If you are using Jupyter, please see the page Using Jupyter for Classroom.

Account Maintenance

Our classroom project information guide will instruct you on how to get students added to your project using our client portal. For more information, see the documentation. You must also add your username as an authorized user

Homework Submissions

We can provide you with project space to have students submit assignments through our systems. Please ask about this service and see our how-to. We typically grant 1-5 TB for classroom projects. 


Help can be found by contacting OSC Help weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (614-292-1800).
Fill out a request online. 

We update our web pages to show relevant events at the center (including training) and system notices on our main page ( We also provide important information in the “message of the day” (visible when you log in). You also can receive notices by following @HPCNotices on X. 

Helpful Links


Main supercomputing pages:




Documentation Attachment: 

Classroom Guide for Students

Join a Classroom Project

Your classroom instructor will provide you with a project and access code that will allow you to join the classroom project. Visit our user management page for more information. 

Ohio State users only: and are treated as two separate emails in our system. Please provide your professor the appropriate email address. 

All emails will be sent from "" - all folders should be checked, including spam/junk. If they did not receive this email, please contact OSC Help.

Review our classroom project info guide for detailed informatoin.

Account Management

You can manage your OSC account via MyOSC, our client porta. This includes:


If your class uses a custom R or Jupyter environment at OSC, please connect to

If you do not see your class there, we suggest connecting to

You can log into or either using your OSC HPC Credentials or Third-Party Credentials. See this OnDemand page for more information. 

File Transfer

There are a few different ways of transferring files between OSC storage and your local computer. We suggest using OnDemand File App if you are new to Linux and looking to transfer smaller-sized files - measured in MB to several hundred MB. For larger files, please use an SFTP client to connect to  or Globus.

More Information for New Users

We have a guide for new users to help them figure out the basics of using OSC; included are basics on getting connected, HPC system structure, file transfers, and batch systems.


Main Supercomputing pages:


Help can be found by contacting OSC Help weekdays, 9AM to 5PM (614-292-1800).
Fill out a request online. 





Documentation Attachment: 

Using Jupyter for Classroom

OSC provide an isolated and custom Jupyter environment for each classroom project that requires Jupyter Notebook or JupyterLab. 

The instructor must apply for a classroom project that is unique for the course. More details on the classroom project can be found in our classroom project guide. Once we get the information, we will provide you a project ID and a course ID (which is commonly the course ID provided by instructor + school code, e.g. MATH_2530_OU).  The instructor can set up a Jupyter environment for the course using the information (see below). The Jupyter environment will be tied to the project ID.

Set up a Jupyter environment

The instructor can set up a Jupyter environment for the course once the project space is initialized:

  1. Login to Owens or Pitzer as PI account of the classroom project.
  2. Run setup script with the project ID and course ID:
~support/classroom/tools/setup_jupyter_classroom  /fs/ess/project_ID  course_ID

If the Jupyter environment is created successfully, please inform us so we can update you when your class is ready at

Upgrade a Jupyter environment

You may need to upgrade Jupyter kernels to the latest stable version for a security vulnerability or trying out new features. Please run upgrade script with the project ID and course ID:

~support/classroom/tools/upgrade_jupyter_classroom /fs/ess/project_ID course_ID

Manage the Jupyter environment

Install packages

When your class is ready, launch your class session at Then, open a notebook and use the following command to install packages:

pip install --no-cache-dir --ignore-installed [package-name]

Please note that using the --no-cache-dir and --ignore-installed flags can skip using the caches in the home directory, which may cause conflicts when installing classroom packages if you have previously used pip to install packages in multiple Python environments.

Install extensions

Jupyter Notebook

To enable or install nbextension, please use --sys-prefix to install into the classroom Jupyter environment, e.g.

!jupyter contrib nbextension install --sys-prefix

Please do not use --user, which install to your home directory and could mess up the Jupyter environment.


To install labextension, simply click Extension Manager icon at the side bar

Screen Shot 2021-07-27 at 1.30.45 PM.png

Enable local package access (optional)

By default this Jupyter environment is an isolated Python environment. Anyone launches python from this environment can only access packages installed inside unless PYTHONPATH is used. The instructor can change it by setting include-system-site-packages = true in /fs/ess/project_ID/course_ID/jupyter/pyvenv.cfg. This will allows students to access packages in home directory ~/.local/lib/pythonX.X/site-packages ,and install packages via pip install –user


When a class session starts, we create a classroom workspace under the instructor's and students' home space: $HOME/osc_classes/course_ID, and launch Jupyter at the workspace. The root /  will appear in the landing page (Files) but everything can be found in $HOME/osc_classes/course_ID on OSC system.

Shared Access

Share class material

The instructor can upload class material to /fs/ess/project_ID/course_ID/materials . When a student launch a Jupyter session, the diretory will be copied to the student's worksapce $HOME/osc_classes/course_ID . The student will see the directory materials on the landing page. PI can add files to the material source directory. New files will be copied to the destination every time when a new Jupyter session starts. But If PI modifies existing files, the changes won't be copied as the files were copied before. Therefore we recommend renaming the file after the update so that it will be copied

If a large amount of data is added to /materials dir, then students may experience job failures. This is because there is not enough time for the data to be copied to their home dir.

Use data dir for large files

For large files, create a data dir to the classroom and place the large files there.

mkdir /fs/ess/project_ID/course_ID/data

Now the large data will not be copied to each user's home dir when they start a classroom job session. Make sure to reference this data properly in notebooks that will be copied to students home dirs from the /materials dir.

Access student workspace

The instructor and TAs can access a student's workspace with limited permissions. First, the instructor sends us a request with the information including the instructor's and TAs' OSC accounts. After a student launches a class session, you can access known files and directories in the student's workspace. For example, you cannot explore the student's workspace

ls /users/PZS1234/student1/osc_classes/course_ID
ls: cannot open directory /users/PZS1234/student1/osc_classes/course_ID: Permission denied

but you can access a known file or directory in the workspace

ls /users/PZS1234/student1/osc_classes/course_ID/homework

    Using Rstudio for classroom

    OSC provides an isolated and custom R environment for each classroom project that requires Rstudio. The interface can be accessed at Before using this interface, please apply for a classroom project account that is unique for the course.  More details on the classroom project can be found here. The custom R environment for the course will be tied to this project ID. Please inform us if you have additional requirements for the class. Once we get the information, we will provide you a course_ID (which is commonly the course ID provided by instructor + school code, e.g. MATH2530_OU)and add your course to the server with the class module created using the course_ID. After login to the server, you will see several Apps listed. Pick Rstudio server and that will take you to the Rstudio Job submission page. Please pick your course from the drop-down menu under the Class materials and the number of hours needed. 


    Clicking on the Launch will submit the Rstudio job to the scheduler and you will see Connect to Rstudio server option when the resource is ready for the job. Each Rstudio launch will run on 1 core on Owens machine with 4GB of memory. 



    Rstudio will open up in a new tab with a custom and isolated environment that is set through a container-based solution. This will create a folder under $HOME/osc_classes/course_ID for each user. Please note that inside the Rstudio, you won't be able to access any files other than class materials. However, you can access the class directory outside of Rstudio to upload or download files.

    Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 11.32.42 PM.png

    You can quit a Rstudio session by clicking on File from the top tabs then on the Quit. This will only quit the session, but the resource you requested is still held until walltime limit is reached. To release the resource, please click on DELETE in the Rstudio launch page.

    Shared Access

    PI can store and share materials like data, scripts, etc, and R packages with the class. We will set up a  project space for the project ID of the course. This project space will be created under /fs/ess/project_ID. Once the project space is ready, please login to Owens or Pitzer as PI account of the classroom project. Run the following script with the project ID and course ID. This will create a folder with the course_ID  under the project space and then two subfolders 1) Rpkgs 2) materials under it.

    ~support/classroom/tools/setup_rstudio_classroom /fs/ess/project_ID course_ID

    Shared R packages

    Once the class module is ready, PI can access the course at under the Rstudio job submission page. PI can launch the course environment and install R packages for the class. 

    It is important to install R packages for the class only in the class R environment after launching the Rstudio interface for the course. If you install R packages without launching class Rstudio, R will have access to your personnel R libraries at $HOME and could affect the installation process. 

    After launching Rstudio, please run the .libPaths() as follows

    > .libPaths()
    [1] "/users/PZS0680/soottikkal/osc_classes/OSCWORKSHOP/R" "/fs/ess/PZS0687/OSCWORKSHOP/Rpkgs"                  
    [3] "/usr/local/R/gnu/9.1/3.6.3/site/pkgs"                "/usr/local/R/gnu/9.1/3.6.3/lib64/R/library" 

    Here you will see four R library paths. The last two are system R library paths and are accessible for all OSC users. OSC installs a number of popular R packages at the site location. You can check available packages with library() command. The first path is a personal R library of each user in the course environment and is not shared with students. The second lib path is accessible to all students of the course(Eg: /fs/ess/PZS0687/OSCWORKSHOP/Rpkgs). PI should install R packages in this library to share with the class. As a precaution, it is a good idea to eliminate PI's personal R library from .libPaths() before R package installation as follows. Please note that this step is needed to be done only when preparing course materials by PI.

    > .libPaths(.libPaths()[-1])
    > .libPaths()
    [1] "/fs/ess/PZS0687/OSCWORKSHOP/Rpkgs"          "/usr/local/R/gnu/9.1/3.6.3/site/pkgs"      
    [3] "/usr/local/R/gnu/9.1/3.6.3/lib64/R/library"

    Now there is only one writable R library path such that all packages will be installed into this library path and shared for all users.

    PI can install all packages required for the class using install.packages() function. Once the installation is complete, students will have access to all those packages. 

    Please note that students can also install their own packages. Those packages will be installed into their personable library in the class environment i.e., the first path listed under .libPaths()

    Shared materials

    PI can share materials like data, scripts, and rmd files stored in /fs/ess/project_ID/course_ID/materials with students. When a student launch a Rstduio session, the directory will be copied to the student's workspace $HOME/osc_classes/courseID (destination). Please inform us if you want to use a source directory other than  /fs/ess/project_ID/course_ID/materials. The student will see the directory materials on the landing page. PI can add files to the material source directory. New files will be copied to the destination every time when a new Rstudio session starts.  But If PI modifies existing files, the changes won't be copied as the files were copied before. Therefore we recommend renaming the file after the update so that it will be copied. 

    There are several different ways to copy materials manually from a directory to students' workspace. T

    1. On server, click on Files from the top tabs, then on $HOME directory. From the top right, click on Go to and enter the storage path (Eg: /fs/ess/PZS0687/) in the box and press OK. This will open up storage path and users can copy files. Open the class folder from the $HOME tree shown on left and paste files there. All files copied to  $HOME/osc_classes/course_ID will appear in the Rstudio FIle browser.

      Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 11.38.18 PM.png
    2. On server, Click on Clusters from the top tabs, then on Owens Shell Access. This will open up a terminal on Owens where students can enter Unix command for copying. Eg: 

      cp -r /fs/ess/PZS0687/OSCWORKSHOP/materials $HOME/osc_classes/course_ID

      Please note that $HOME/osc_classes/course_ID will be created only after launching Rstudio instance at least once.
    3. Students can also upload material directly to Rstudio using the upload tab located in the File browser of Rstudio from their local computer. This assumes they have already downloaded materials to their computers.


    Checklist for PIs

    • Apply for a classroom project ID that is unique to the course
    • Add yourself, PI, to the project as an authorized user.
    • Inform us about additional requirements such as R version or other software
    • Once the class module is ready, create class materials under the storage path, and install R packages in the class environment.
    • Make a reservation on OSC cluster for the class schedule.
    • Invite students to the project at to give them access to the project ID.

    Please reach out to if you have any questions. 

    Using nbgrader for Classroom

    Using ngbrader in Jupyter

    Install nbgrader

    You can install nbgrader in a notebook:

    1. Launch a Juypter session from
    2. Open a new notebook 
    3. To Install nbgrader, run:
    !pip install nbgrader
    !jupyter nbextension install --sys-prefix --py nbgrader --overwrite 
    !jupyter nbextension enable --sys-prefix --py nbgrader 
    !jupyter serverextension enable --sys-prefix --py nbgrader

    To check the installed extensions, run

    !jupyter nbextension list

    There are six enabled extensionsScreen Shot 2020-08-21 at 11.31.36 PM.png

    Configure nbgrader

    In order to upload and collect assignments, nbgrader requires a exchange directory with write permissions for everyone. For example, to create a directory in project space, run:

    mkdir -p /fs/ess/projectID/courseID/exchange
    chmod a+wx /fs/ess/projectID/courseID/exchange

    Then get your cousre ID for configuratin. In a notebook, run:

    echo $OSC_CLASS_ID

    Finally create the nbgrader configuration at the root of the workspace. In a notebook, run 

    c = get_config()
    c.CourseDirectory.course_id = "courseID"     # it must be the value of $OSC_CLASS_ID
    c.Exchange.root = "/fs/ess/projectID/courseID/exchange"
    c.Exchange.timezone = 'EST'

    Once the file is created, you can launch a new Jupyter session then start creating assignments. For using nbgrader, please refer the nbgrader documents.

    Access assignments

    To let students access the assignments, students need to have the following configuration file in the root of their workspace:

    c = get_config()
    c.Exchange.root = "/fs/ess/projectID/courseID/exchange"