I need your help to write an email that may bring my school to GitHub

(ItsPugle) #1

Hey, All,

I’m not sure if you guys remember me - I was a contributor a few weeks/months ago, but now I’ve kind of gone in and out.

I really wanted to reach out to this awesome community about this though. I was given the opportunity to present GitHub Classroom to my schools IT Co-ordinator. The thing is though, that I don’t know that much about GitHub Classroom.

I want this thread to be used to spill everything that I should include in the email and more!

Things to note:

  • Our school would be using it for:
  • Front-end website development (HTML, CSS and JavaScript etc)
  • Python
  • Java
  • We would be coming from an FTP-based system.
  • It would be a good idea to link to ideas like students can work on their projects at any time from anywhere.
  • With the current system, it replaces the whole directory, not just a single file, so talking about collaboration might be good, as well.

Thank you all so much!


(Vanessa) #2

That’s very exciting @ItsPugle! I’m including a full overview of the features for students and teachers, and helpful resources. More collateral forthcoming in the next few months…

Please do take a look at posts from other teachers in this category for their recommendations, and I’ve included two cases studies that directly pertain to GitHub Classroom.

Let us know how it goes, and if you need other info :sparkle:

GitHub Classroom

##The workflow developers use, whether you have 5 students or 500.

Developers rarely work all by themselves, on a deadline, or ship something they’ll only use once (with no idea whether it actually works).

Wouldn’t students be better served by showing versions of their work, iterating, checking in on milestones and showing off the final product?

With GitHub Classroom you can set up the industry-standard workflow and free up your time to focus on teaching.

Classroom will automatically create student repositories, track assignments in your dashboard and integrate third-party tools like automated testing.

With Classroom, you can spin up your course on GitHub and move on to the good stuff.

Why try Classroom?

Spend more time with students, less on setup. Students accept an assignment with one link, so you can get straight to the material.

Bootstrap group assignments in a snap. Invite students to a shared repository, and cap the number of students per group. Use the same groups over and over again, or create new ones.

More insight into student work than ever before. See when students accept the assignment, and access their work from the moment they start. With version control, catch when they get stuck and help them rewind.

You are in control. Students can work individually or in groups, in public or in private. Set permissions for teaching assistants or graders.

Scales for large courses with ease. If you have a small course, Classroom will make your life easier and save you time. f you have hundreds of students, we have your covered: as many repositories as you need, and webhooks to integrate automated testing tools.

Works with your Learning Management System (LMS). Students submit a link to their assignment repository to your learning management system. Give feedback through comments in GitHub, but keep grades in your LMS.

You’re not alone. The experts on the GitHub Education team are here to answer any of your questions, and we’ve got docs, best practices, and a strong community of educators to help you migrate to Classroom.

Are you super-advanced? Do you want to build your own tools? GitHub Classroom is open source, and we :sparkling_heart: contributions.

Getting started with GitHub Classroom

Check out these blog posts on different implementations:

Check out these blog posts on different implementations:

(Smhanes15) #3


It is slightly worrisome that your IT Director makes the decision of whether or not to adopt processes and systems that are both integral to a teacher’s duty and real-world development standards.

Aside from all the great reasons to switch to GitHub Classroom or an alternative (not sure if any are better from services offered plus cost), there are these from two different, but related categories: 1) IT Administration and 2) FERPA regulations.

  1. IT Administration
  • Installing, Maintaining, Upgrading, and Securing local servers is time consuming and costly, but many old-school IT Admins mistakenly think keeping things in-house creates job-security.
  • On top of having the servers themselves, you now have to worry about in-house storage systems which are also costly in terms of money and time.
  • Outsourcing leverages the resources of extraordinary engineers, programmers, and administrators, but still requires someone on-site to act as liaison, and to maintain how the external system interfaces with the internal system. This frees up IT to focus on upgrading / maintaining local resources that cannot be outsourced, such as the internal network (wired & wifi), faculty/staff/classroom systems, and to possibly even begin providing great opportunities to students by way of growing student clubs or a maker space.
  • Probably one of the single greatest arguments for outsourcing (to some degree): “What do you do when your IT Administrator is hit by a car?”
  1. FERPA Regulations
  • FTP… seriously? Even if this FTP connection is only allowed while connected on the school network, it is inherently insecure and a single abuse could cost more than it’s worth. More than likely, the abuse would originate from someone affiliated with the school anyway.
  • If the FTP is only accessible from inside, this seriously undermines student ability to complete assignments and do what every master of every topic knows: it takes hours of doing something to get really good at it. Those hours should not be spent fiddling around with FTP, manual version control, lack of collaboration, etc. GitHub is at the very least accessible from anywhere and secured.
  • Setting up FTP users and passwords, which are sent plaintext over the internet, opens up the process to too many potential mistakes that take time to fix. Not to mention, people tend to use the same or similar passwords for every account, making these something that should never be sent plaintext.

Let’s assume your IT Director does not want to switch. You can – though it might require an ethical conversation – work around the decision. This would at least give your students all the benefits of GitHub Classroom, GitHub, Git, and the real-world. It does nothing to address FERPA concerns.

Set your students up to use GitHub and GitHub Classroom, you and your students do all your work from there, and if the FTP server is checked for utilization, use webhooks behind the scenes to pull from GitHub and push into the FTP.

(Chris Cannon) #4

Hey Tim,

The biggest benefit I can think of with using GitHub over an FTP server (besides the fact that it’s 2017) is that GitHub is a platform for both remote hosting and collaboration. Mainly, collaboration between student and instructors. With tools like Issues and Pull Requests, instructors can meet the students exactly where they are with tips, instructions, and other feedback. These conversations can take place with deep context and all the tools that Markdown has to offer, which greatly improves their effectiveness.

Best of luck,