Help Articles

Solving Common Issues with Coursera Labs

Each Coursera Lab experience will vary based on the course content needs and configuration. As a first step, please make sure to reference any resources that your instructor may have created for your specific course needs.

NOTE: If your Lab environment includes a “Lab Help” modal on the top right hand corner, this article will help you troubleshoot issues with Coursera Labs. Don’t see the “Lab Help” modal? Scroll down to the bottom of this article to find out why. 

If your course uses Jupyter Notebook assignments (denoted by the label “Notebook” in your course outline), you can follow the instructions in this article for troubleshooting. 

To download your Coursera Labs files locally:

  • If your Ungraded Lab or Programming Assignment is using Jupyter Notebooks, you can take the following steps to download your files:
    1. Click on the Jupyter logo, which will take you to the file tree view.
    2. Select the notebook that you want to download. Note that you’ll need to shut down the notebook if it is running.
    3. Click Download to download the file as a .ipynb file.
  • If you’d like to download the file in a different format (e.g. PDF, HTML), then you can click the Lab Help modal on the top right, and click “switch back to the old lab experience”. From here, you can click File, Download As, and then select your preferred file type.
  • If you'd like to download multiple files at once and you're using a Jupyter Notebook, you can follow these steps. If you’re using a non Jupyter Notebook environment, you may still be able to use these commands if there is a bash terminal. Please follow instructions provided by the course staff to access the terminal for the specific web application. 
    • rm -f ~/workspace.tar.gz && rm  -f ~/work/workspace.tar.gz (this line removes the previous archive, if it exists)
    • tar -czf ~/workspace.tar.gz ~/work (this line creates a zipped archive of your workspace directory)
    • mv ~/workspace.tar.gz ~/work/workspace.tar.gz (this line moves the archive into the workspace directory so you can see it)
    • tar -czf - ~/work | split --bytes=100MB - ~/workspaces.tar.gz
    • mv ~/workspace.tar.gz* ~/work/
    1. Click the Jupyter logo on the top left corner.
    2. You'll see a file view page that lists all Jupyter resources in your current course. Click the New, then select Terminal to open the system command line.
    3. You'll see a shell prompt open. In the shell prompt, type or paste the following statements:
    4. Once the commands run successfully, click on the Jupyter logo again to return to the file view.
    5. In the file view, select workspace.tar.gz, then click Download. Your browser will download the workspace archive, which is yours to keep.
    6. Remove the archive file: rm ~/work/workspace.tar.gz*
    7. Note: If your zip file is larger than 100MB, you will need to split it up into smaller files instead and download each of them, using the following commands:
  • If your Ungraded Lab or Programming Assignment is using Visual Studio Code within a Coursera Lab, you can take the following steps to manage your files between your in-browser and local environments.
    • To download your files locally:  
      • For a single file: Drag and drop this to your local desktop.
      • For a folder: Compress your folder using zip in your VSCode terminal and drag and drop this to your local desktop.
    • To upload local files to your in-browser VSCode Lab:  Drag your files from your local Desktop into your VSCode Lab workspace. 
  • If your Ungraded Lab or Programming Assignment is using RStudio within a Coursera Lab you can take the following steps to manage your files between your in-browser and local environments:
    • To download your files locally: 
  1. Open your RStudio file tree view to the folder where your file is stored.
  2. Select the checkboxes next to the files you’d like to download.
  3. Select “More” in your file tree view toolbar, and then “Export”Courseralabs.png
  4. Provide a final file name for your downloaded file, and select “Download”
    • To upload local files to your in-browser RStudio Lab: 
  1. Select “Upload” from your RStudio file tree view toolbar
  2. Use the “Choose File” option to select the file you’d like to upload
  3. Once you choose your file, select “Ok”. Your file will be added to your current directory in RStudio.
  • If your Ungraded Lab or Programming Assignment is using a different application, please refer to course resources to guide you through this process or reach out on the Discussion Forums. 

To refresh your Lab Workspace:

Each Lab experience will vary based on the course content needs and configuration, so please follow any instructions that your instructors provide to enable file refresh. When you refresh your Lab Workspace, you will be able to obtain the original files and save the latest copy of your files. As a general rule of thumb, there are two methods by which you can refresh your Lab.

  • Method 1: Use ‘Lab Help’ to refresh your Lab
    1. In the upper right corner, select Lab Help
    2. From the sidebar, click Get latest version. You’ll need to rename your Lab or move it to a new folder to obtain the fresh copy of the Lab.
  •  Method 2: Manually refresh your Lab
    1. Rename and save your existing file that you’d like to get a fresh copy of.
    2. In your home Lab workspace, add “?forceRefresh=true” to the end of your Lab URL
    3. Reload the screen
    4. You should see both your old and new files in the Learner Workspace after refresh
    5. Your Lab item should now launch to the fresh lab file

To share your Lab with your instructor:

  • If you need to share your Lab with an instructor or teaching staff, you can do using  your Lab ID. To find your Lab ID, click on ‘Lab Help’. You can find your Lab ID at the bottom of the Lab Help sidebar. 
  • Please note that lab sharing is not supported for RStudio applications.

If you are having trouble launching into your Lab experience, or receive 404 or “not found errors”:

  • Have you changed any of your assessment filenames?
    • Renaming your files can cause your Lab environment to error upon launch, as the launcher cannot find the expected file. You can fix this by modifying the name of your file back to the original filename and relaunching your Lab workspace.
    • If you have renamed your assignment file and cannot remember the original name of the assignment, please use the steps outlined in the “If you’d like to refresh your Lab Workspace to the original files” section of this article.
  • Have you changed your Lab file structure?
    • When working on an assignment that uses Labs, we strongly recommend that you do not alter the file structure of your home Learner Workspace, unless your course instructor has indicated that you should do so.
    • Additionally, we also recommend that you do not delete any original files in your home Learner Workspace. Deleting files or altering the file structure in your home Learner Workspace may impact your ability to submit your Lab assignment(s) appropriately.

If your Lab assessments are running slowly or freezing one you are in the Lab experience: 

  • For Labs that are running slowly: Try closing all assessment files that are running in your workspace and only keep the current Lab assessment file you need open. Note: If the course you are taking is in the data science domain, it is common for certain processes to take longer than others, so please do keep this in mind.
  • If your Lab environment is freezing: Check your lab file size within your browser to see how big it is. All Lab files should be under 10MB. If you have added code which brings these files above 10MB, they will become read-only, which means you won’t be able to edit them anymore. If this occurs, we recommend that you save a copy of your work locally and use the steps outlined in the “If you’d like to refresh your Lab Workspace to the original files” section of this article to receive a fresh copy of your Lab file. 

If certain parts of the Lab are erroring out after your code is run: 

  • Do you see any https or download errors provided within your Lab? If so, please note that Labs do now allow open internet access, aside from preconfigured sites that instructors have identified. Attempting to download or install any external resources outside of the preconfigured learning experience will likely result in an expected error. 
  • Are you using Visual Studio Code and accessing an in-browser web preview for a web development course? If so, please note that web preview is not supported through Safari. We recommend that you try accessing any web preview activities through Chrome or Firefox instead.

If you are unable to submit your Graded Lab from your Lab workspace:

  • Please check that your filename matches the original filename provided for the Lab.
  • Please check to see if you’ve deleted or moved any of your Lab files and restore your files if so.
  • Do you have any files in your Labs workspace that you’ve copied and now have duplicates of? If so, please either migrate your work to a single file in your Lab or save a local copy of your work. Duplicate files can interfere with submission flows, so you’ll want to delete the old duplicate file.
  • If you do not recall what your prior filename or structure looked like, you can use the steps outlined in the “If you’d like to refresh your Lab Workspace to the original files” section of this article to get a fresh copy of your Lab files.

If you are able to submit your Graded Lab from your Lab workspace, but are having issues with your grade or feedback in the Programming Assignment:

  • Please follow the troubleshooting steps listed in this Solve problems with programming assignments Learner Help Center Article
  • If you are enrolled in a MasterTrack or Degree program, please follow any support and troubleshooting routes defined by your instructional team.

If your Lab times out:

  • Depending on the Lab application that you’re using, you may pop up with the message “Need more time to finish your lab?”..
    • To extend your current Lab session, click on Extend in the time out pop-up window. 
  • If your Lab has timed out, you can reopen by the lab by clicking Reopen in the post time out pop-up window.

If you encounter other issues with your Lab:

  • If you encounter other problems with your Lab that cannot be resolved using any of the above steps, you can reboot your Lab server.
  • To reboot your Lab server, click Reboot from the ‘Lab Help’ sidebar. Prior to rebooting, please ensure that you have saved your work. 
  • You can also share your Lab ID with course staff, by following the instructions in the  “If you need to share your Lab with your instructor” section of this article.
  • We also encourage you to peruse Discussion Forums to see if other learners are experiencing similar issues.

Why am I not seeing the “Lab Help” modal?

  • You may not see the “Lab Help” modal if your course is using Jupyter Notebook items (which are denoted by the “Notebook” label in the course outline). For troubleshooting issues related to Jupyter Notebook items, please follow the instructions in this article.
  • If your learning environment has a virtual learning environment and is denoted by the label “Programming Assignment” or “Ungraded Lab”, and you are not seeing the “Lab Help” modal:
    • The “Lab Help” modal is not supported in your browser (e.g. Internet Explorer). We recommend using Google Chrome to access this experience. 
    • Your browser may be blocking third-party cookie tracking. If you’d like to access the “Lab Help” modal for a more convenient experience, you can enable third-party cookie tracking in your browser settings.




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