Thousands of teachers use GitHub to host their courses, distribute assignments, and get insight into student progress. Many teachers open source their materials, so other teachers can use them. Between Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and custom lessons from individual teachers, there’s plenty of materials for new teachers to adapt and reuse in their classrooms.
After seeing the growth of educational repositories on GitHub, we put together a list of some of the most popular courses. Courses were selected based on forks (repository copies) and stars (bookmarks that indicate interest). You’ll also find documentation for each of the repositories to guide you through the course materials.
If we missed a course, or if you’d like yours included in a more extensive list, let us know in the GitHub Education Community.
1. Ada Developers Academy’s Jump Start Curriculum (223 stars)
ADA’s Jump Start Curriculum helps prospective students become familiar with the tools, concepts, and vocabulary they’ll need to be successful in the larger program. Each lesson begins with stating learning goals, so students can be sure they’re retaining what they need to prior to entering the program.
2. React From Zero (207 stars)
React From Zero is a straightforward introduction to React that is broken into 17 parts. Each part of the tutorial is in the code for that lesson, using comments to explain concepts in React and examples right in the editor. Each lesson also links to a preview of how the code renders in a browser, so you can follow along and immediately see the outcome of code while you’re learning.
3. Hear Me Code’s Python Lessons (199 stars)
Hear Me Code, based in Washington, D.C., is an organization that offers free, beginner-friendly classes to women. This repository has a “Start Here” guide for those who’ve never installed or run Python before. The lessons are broken into 16 sections, each covering a different concept. Hear Me Code’s slides are also hosted on GitHub, so it’s easy for you to follow this curriculum on your own.
4. Ada Developers Academy’s Textbook Curriculum (154 stars)
This repository is an 11-week prep course for programming competitions, but it can be used to practice algorithm challenges for interviews or improve algorithmic thinking. Prior programming knowledge and familiarity with data structures will help students who want to get started with this advanced course.
1. Stanford TensorFlow Tutorials (2,452 forks)
These tutorials go along with Stanford’s TensorFlow for Deep Learning Research course. The syllabus, slides, and lecture notes are all available on the website, and each week’s assignments and examples are available in this repository.
2. Deep Learning Specialization on Coursera (1,133 forks)
This student-created repository includes all work from Coursera’s Deep Learning Specialization programming assignments. While this repository itself is not a curriculum, it’s a helpful guide for self-teaching and reading more about the concepts and solutions from this deep learning series of courses.
3. Creative Applications of Deep Learning with Tensorflow (591 forks)
This repository is comprised of assignments and lecture transcripts for Kadenze Academy’s Creative Applications of Deep Learning with TensorFlow curriculum. There are a total of five courses, and the repository also contains extensive documentation on setup and getting started with the tools students will need.
4. Practical RL: A course in reinforcement learning in the wild (401 forks)
This course is taught on-campus in Russian at the Higher School of Economics, but its online version is available to both English and Russian speakers. The entire course is nine weeks long, and the repository also contains bonus materials for students to explore after completing the curriculum.
5. Data Science Coursera (152 forks)
Michael Galarnyk, a Data Science M.A. student, decided to document his journey through Johns Hopkins’ Coursera Data Science curriculum as a supplement to his program at UC San Diego. Along with a directory for each course and its assignments, there’s also a link to a blog post reviewing each course week-by-week, so prospective students can get an idea of what to expect each week.
For teachers who want to explore more courses, we posted a more extensive list in the GitHub Education Community. You’ll find tips, tricks, and scripts from teachers around the world who are passionate about computer science education.
Nearly every conversation the GitHub Education team had with teachers at SIGCSE 2018 (Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education) touched on the themes of communication, iteration, and real-world tools. This year at SIGCSE we had two special sessions on those themes: three teachers walked through their GitHub workflows, and four students shared their experiences outside the classroom.
Git has a learning curve for students (and teachers)! In this series of talks, teachers shared why they choose to use Git and GitHub and how it benefits their classroom.
Or skip to a specific section:
Hear students speak about using GitHub and the benefits of GitHub Education on their campuses.
Or skip to a specific section:
Once a month we’ll pass along tips and tricks for implementing Git and GitHub in your classroom.
Like professional developers working together on code, students can use GitHub Classroom to collaborate on group projects in a shared repository. In this post, we’ll walk you through how teachers can work with GitHub teams and use GitHub Classroom to create group exercises, assign teams, and reuse existing student teams.
Before you create a group exercise, you’ll need the following:
A GitHub organization with a discount for private repositories and access to GitHub Classroom
An exercise (a repository that you have access to, which contains documentation, starter code, tests, or anything else your students need to begin work on an assignment)
A list of students, or unique identifiers like their email addresses
To get started, log in to GitHub Classroom, choose one of your classrooms, then click the New assignment button followed by Create group assignment. This brings you to the “New group assignment” page where you can provide the details of an assignment. If you don’t see your classroom listed, double check that you’ve granted that organization access to GitHub Classroom.
Then set up your group assignment just like you’d setup an individual assignment. Pick a name for your exercise, a starter repository to share, and a deadline.
When creating a new exercise, you can choose whether to reuse a set of groups from a previous assignment or name a set of new groups. If you’re reusing existing groups, then select a set of teams from the “Choose an existing set of groups” drop-down list.
If your students are going to form a new set of teams, enter a name for the set of teams in the “Create a new set of teams” field. It’s helpful to name your set of teams after their intended duration. For example, if you want to use a set of teams for one assignment, name it after that assignment. If you’d like to reuse a set of teams for a whole semester, name it after the semester or course.
When you’ve completed the form, click the “Create Assignment” button. Now it’s time to invite your students to the assignment.
On the assignment page, you’ll find a unique invitation link. Share this link with your students through your learning management system, course homepage, or however you distribute assignments. Keep in mind that anyone with the link can use it, so be careful where you share it.
If you’re using a new set of groups for this exercise, and you’d like to assign students to specific group, give your students a list of people who should join each group, along with the group’s name.
Once your students have clicked the link, they may be asked to join a group (if you’re not reusing an existing set of groups). It looks like this:
There are three common cases when organizing students into teams:
When students join their group in Classroom, a team is created on GitHub.com in your GitHub organization. Teams have pretty nifty functionality, including threaded comments and emoji support.
If you create a team for your students on GitHub.com, that team will not appear in Classroom. If you’d like to use Classroom to distribute shared repositories, then use group assignments in Classroom, not teams on GitHub.com.
When you use group assignments in Classroom, each team of students will get access to one shared repository for the exercise. Every student will be able to push and pull to their team’s repository. We recommend assigning one student per team to act as project manager to resolve conflicts or merge pull requests. If your students are new to resolving conflicting changes, they can check out our documentation to learn to manage merge conflicts.
Once your students are sorted into teams, they can start collaborating on the assignment like they would in any other repository: by pushing commits and branches, opening and reviewing pull requests, or using issues. Similarly, all of their commit history is available for you to review.
As students finish up their assignments, you can see the work they’ve done in two ways. Examine the current state of the files to see the finished product or look through the repository’s history to see how students worked together. GitHub’s “Insights” tab provides you with a picture of how your students worked together. For example, “Pulse” data gives you a timeline of your students’ pull requests, issues, and conversations, while “Contributors” graphs visualize your students’ additions and deletions.
Once students complete their projects, there are a few ways to deliver feedback, including:
If you chose to use private repositories for your assignment, your feedback will be confidential, so only you and the students in the group will see it.
Ready to give a group assignment? Get started right away in GitHub Classroom. Or check out this discussion in the GitHub Education Community on how student groups can work with GitHub teams in Classroom.
To support teachers who want to master GitHub, we’ve launched Campus Advisors—a training program built to help you commit with confidence and teach your students with real-world tools.
Our inspiration for the training comes from the teachers in the Education Community who innovate in their courses, help each other with recommendations, and contribute to open source projects.
The teachers out there never fail to amaze us. We’ve seen Taichi Furuhashi build a GIS course support Red Cross relief efforts, Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel use open source to nurture reproducible research, Dan Wallach contribute scripts back to the community, and so many more examples of teachers doing impactful work. We’ve worked with hundreds of these passionate educators to create the curriculum for GitHub Campus Advisors.
Over the past few years we’ve seen version control take hold in statistics, biology, ecology, libraries, and journalism departments, in addition to a becoming a standard in computer science and engineering courses.
One of the most common questions we hear from these teachers is “How do I use Git and GitHub?” We’ve seen the magical things that teachers do with GitHub, and we want to help.
The Campus Advisors training directly addresses classroom use and the needs of teachers in four modules:
All of these modules are online and available fo you to take at your own pace. Once you complete the last exercise, you can apply to become a certified GitHub Campus Advisor.
As a GitHub Campus Advisor, you’re not only an expert in Git and GitHub. You also champion the use of real-world tools at your school and help teachers new to GitHub use version control.
If you’re passionate about implementing new technologies at your school, or active in your continuing education community, get certified as a GitHub Campus Advisor and we’ll equip you with workshop materials, and custom goodies to show the world your expertise.
Special thanks to all of the teachers who weighed in with the 2017 classroom survey, the folks who gave feedback at GitHub Universe: Teacher Day, and the teachers and librarians at Duke University who tested the curriculum in-person.
In the third programming course in the computer science major, Dan Wallach wants students to master programming in Java with a high degree of rigor and at a large scale. This past semester in his Comp215 course, he chose to use Java8, IntelliJ, and GitHub to implement a test-driven development workflow.
Wallach sees three supporting “ladders” at work in his curricula: Java programming, software design, and tools like Checkstyle, Error Prone, Gradle, and GitHub.
Wallach encourages his students to focus less on specific tools and more on their fundamentals. “I want to teach ideas and concepts that’ll have a long shelf life. So 10 years from now, is IntelliJ going to be the thing? Is Java even going to be the thing? Probably not,” he said. “But mapping a function over a list to get another list, that will be there 10 years from now.”
Dan was looking for a scalable, reliable solution for his course: In 2015 the peak loads from his students’ work crashed their campus Subversion server, forcing them to extend their deadlines and ultimately run a private server, requiring significant assistance from Rice’s IT group.
He decided to move to GitHub and use GitHub Classroom in the fall of 2017.
I had confidence that GitHub would make sure their service would be up and available. Their commercial business depends on high uptime.
Dan used GitHub Classroom, a teacher-facing tool that enables the GitHub workflow for courses, to distribute assignments, and Travis CI to run unit tests.
I was initially worried that the complexity of Git would be a pain point for my students. As an example, I was afraid of having to explain to a student what a “detached HEAD state” might be. In practice, this was never an issue. We steered students to using IntelliJ’s front-end for Git, keeping them from getting into too much trouble. It’s a nice bonus that students can visit the web page for their repo and double-check that everything was correctly pushed.
An example of distributing an assignment through GitHub Classroom and tests through Travis CI.
As the semester progresses, his students get better at “filling in holes,” Wallach said. Initially, Wallach provides his students with code that has missing pieces.
After they fill in those holes with their own code, he introduces a more complex activity: Build an application from the library of code they’ve previously helped build.
“Every week builds on the previous week. I give you a bunch of code including a correct implementation of the prior week’s project, you write tests and add missing features, and then you submit it,” he explained.
Wallach has what he calls a “controversial” position on pair programming: He doesn’t use it in his classroom. He sees pairing as only one path to collaboration.
“Learning to use Git, from scratch, is hard enough without collaboration,” he said. He’d seen his students try to pair while learning Git:
“Hey, you didn’t push your changes.” “What? Yes, I did.” “Okay, now I’ve got a merge conflict.”
While that back and forth is a kind of collaboration, Wallach wants to set students up for success.
There’s plenty enough to learn about version control systems in a solo environment. Comp215 is many of our students’ first experience using development tools on their own computer, as opposed to in a browser. Partner-based collaboration with Git requires a more sophisticated understanding to deal with merge conflicts, pull requests, and so forth.
By having his students work by themselves first, Wallach prepares them with the habits and mental models for subsequent classes in the curriculum where they work in teams.
Wallach built several scripts to help with his class workflow and shared them with the GitHub Education community. For example, Git takes its commit times from the clock on the students’ computers. When Wallach spotted a student attempting to use this to submit after a deadline—using his Travis CI/GitHub workflow which logs the time on Travis and cannot be forged by a student—he made a tool to produce a nice table with a given student’s commit times and GitHub’s push time.
Wallach encourages collaboration through his GitHub contributions and his classroom. And his groundwork has paid off. He often hears from past students that his class prepared them for a workplace environment. By teaching skills that have a long shelf life, Wallach’s students feel ready to collaborate in the long term.
Here are some of Wallach’s helpful contributions to the GitHub Classroom community of tools: