All About CodeRunner

CodeRunner is a free open-source question-type plug-in for Moodle. It can run program code in answer to programming questions. This is possible in many different languages.

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It is intended primarily for use in computer programming courses although it can be used to grade any question for which the answer is text. Hence, it is normally used in Moodle’s adaptive quiz mode.

What is CodeRunner

Coderunner is a slick, great-looking editor that lets you compose and test code in just about any language you can throw at it. Whether you favor python, ruby, or C++, you’ll be able to see and test what you’re working on and tackle problems with ease.

The app’s innovative “breakpoint” feature lets you divide up your work into manageable sections. This in turn lets you isolate and test particular sections that you are unsure about. In addition to this, multiple tabs make it easy to do side-by-side comparisons for version control. You can even work in custom languages.

How It Works

Basically, CodeRunner uses your GPS location and connects it with a real map to put you and your iPhone in the middle of a conspiracy tale complete with spies, puzzles, and all sorts of wild twists and turns. The app is quite ingenious in how it inserts you in the middle of things.

The team uses Google Maps to set up real-world locations for you to hunt down in your own neighborhood and very cleverly combines some vague video to convince you that what is happening on your phone is actually happening in the real world around you.

Getting Started

The app’s main page lets you shift effortlessly between programming languages. Just click the “language” menu and select from over a dozen pre-loaded options.

If you would rather not specify yet, you can always use Plain Text. If you would like to work on multiple projects at once, you can add tabs with the “+” button on the right-hand side of the screen.

Running code

Each window can be assigned a language of its own, making tagging between languages. Running code is easy. Just copy and paste the code you’d like to try out into the app’s main window.

When you are ready to run it, click the button marked “run.” If at any point you need to stop the code, press the “stop” button. If you need to enter variables or values, you can do so in the lower portion of the code window.


Breakpoints make editing code even easier. These dividers allow you to run through code in sections, helping you determine whether a problem is local or structural.

You can introduce breakpoints by clicking on the line numbers to the left of the composition window. Once you have enabled them, you will be able to run the code from break point to break point. This will help you pinpoint where problems are arising. Problem solved? Get rid of unneeded breakpoints by clicking them again.

Endless customization

While the app comes loaded with all the usual suspects, it is not limited to those languages. You can update its preferences to accommodate any third-party, hybrid, or self-scripted language you like.

To add a language, open “Preferences” and click to the “Language” tab. Press the “+” button under the list of languages to add one of your own, then use the menus at right to enter its specifications.

Wrapping Up

CodeRunner is a Moodle question type that allows teachers to run a program in order to grade a student’s answer. By far the most common use of CodeRunner is in programming courses where students are asked to write program code to some specification and that code is then graded by running it in a series of tests.

CodeRunner questions have also been used in other areas of computer science and engineering to grade questions in which many different correct answers are possible and a program must be used to assess correctness. However, the focus throughout most of this document will be on programming questions, where the students’ code is being graded.

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