Upgrading Student Projects

The Configuration tab of a .course file allows you to upgrade students’ course projects in two ways, indicated by the checkboxes in the image below:

student pay vs institute pays, choices for upgrading student projects

Students Pay For Upgrades

You can request that the students pay a for CoCalc resources needed for the course. You can also set exactly which resources are needed, as well as the start and end dates for those resources.

Note that, as of August, 2023, students in a course must buy the license specified for that course. Upgrading the student project in some other way is not sufficient.

1. Instructor Configures Student-Pay

In the course Configuration tab, if you click “Students pay directly” and then “Start and end dates and upgrades…”, another dialog opens: “Require Students to Upgrade their Project”:

student pay, step 1

student pay, step 1

You will see options for amount of disk space, RAM, etc. You can also set the “Require that students upgrade by” deadline to be as late as you want, even after the class is over. The latter effectively makes payment optional.

2. Student Opens Project and Sees Payment Banner

When the student opens their project for the course, they will see a banner at the top:

student pay, step 2

student pay, step 2

3. Student Clicks Banner and Can Make Payment

After clicking the banner, they will see a button allowing them to pay for the course:

student pay, step 3

student pay, step 3

Can we mix free and upgraded student projects?

Yes. As noted above, set the due date by which the students have to pay to be at the end of the course. Give them the opportunity to pay for an upgrade for the first few weeks (say), then just unclick the student pay checkbox and thus no longer requiring them to pay at all. In short, whether they have to pay or not is something you can change at any time. They have a grace period before being required to pay, and you can change any of these settings at any time.

Teacher or institution pays for upgrades

This section describes adding upgrades to student projects if you are using a CoCalc license. Please see Upgrading Student Projects (legacy version) if you need to upgrade student projects with one of the older upgrade packages.

We assume you have created an instructor project and a course file in that project, and have added students under the Students tab in the course file. You do not need the instructor project licensed at this time. See step 4 below if you plan to use your course license to upgrade the instructor project as well as student projects.

1. Obtain a license key.

Obtain a license, if you haven’t already. See Buy a license….

Your license key is a hexadecimal uuid string. It looks like this:


2. Install your license(s) in the course file.

  • Open the course file and click “Configuration.”

  • Check the box for “You or your institute will pay for this course”.

  • Click “Upgrade using a license key…”.

  • Paste in your license key and click “Save”. You will see additional text where you entered the license key, indicating which upgrades will be applied and the maximum number of simultaneous running projects that can use this license.

Adding a license key in course configuration.
  • You can apply more than one license. After you install the first license, a new button will appear, “Add another license key (more students or better upgrades)”. Click this to add more licenses, one at a time.

3. License strategy (multiple licenses only)

If you have applied two or more licenses to a course, a dialog appears for choosing how those licenses are combined. The two options are:

  • Maximize number of covered students: apply one license to each project associated to this course (e.g., you bought a license to handle a few more students who added your course). This is the default.

  • Maximize upgrades to each project: apply all licenses to all projects associated to this course (e.g., you bought a license to increase the RAM or CPU for all students).

maximize no. of covered students vs. upgrades to each project

4. Apply course license to instructor project. (Optional)

If you want, you can use the same license that you’re using for the students to upgrade the instructor project. This will count against the maximum number of running projects (run limit) for the license. With this option, if you have 10 students and plan to run your instructor project at the same time as all 10 students, your course license should allow for at least 11 projects.

If you already have upgraded your instructor project from another CoCalc product, or want to use a different license than your students, then you will want to disable this option.

enable/disable upgrading instructor project

5. Restart the instructor project

If you enabled “Upgrade instructor project” in the previous step, then open project Settings (wrench icon) and restart your project so that the license will be applied. Click “Restart Project…” then click “Yes, restart project” in the confirmation dialog.

restarting instructor project after license change

license entered in course Configuration; about to restart instructor project

In project Settings, within a few seconds you will see that the instructor project is being upgraded. The warnings about running on an unpaid server will be gone, and you will see your license upgrades applied to the instructor project, including Member Hosting and Internet Access.

confirm member hosting and internet access applied to instructor project

project settings after restarting instructor project

6. Adding capacity

After you have courses up and running, you may discover that you need to provide for more students, or increase computing resources on student projects. You can do either of those by obtaining additional licenses and applying them as shown above. If you need more flexibility than the available strategies offer, contact CoCalc support at help@cocalc.com.

7. Problems adding a license

If after adding license(s) under course Configuration, a license does not seem correctly applied a student project, first check that the student project has been restarted since adding the license. If there is still a problem, see License Error Messages.

What the student sees

Here is what a student will see upon opening the student project for the course.

First, this is what is seen if the instructor has not yet applied a license for the course. Note the red banner warning that the project is not upgraded.

Student project quotas before applying course license.

Second, this is what is seen if the instructor has added a license in the course Configuration tab. The exact resource amounts will vary depending on the license.

Student project quotas after applying course license.

Charges for GPT-4 (and GPT-3.5-16k)

See GPT4 with Courses.