Using github classroom vs student private repositories

One of my colleagues is using github in his course, but he just has students add him as a collaborator to their personal private repository in github for each assignment. Is there a huge advantage to using google classroom vs having students add you as a collaborator to grade their work?

Thanks for any advice and tips.

:wave: Hi @TeacherTalley! I would be happy to discuss this in further detail during your Campus Advisor interview, but for now, I will say that using GitHub Classroom reduces the amount of educator overhead in regards to managing student repositories.

When you use classroom a repository can be created for a student with starter code using a link that you share with your students. You also have the ability to manage admin permissions for the repositories. The other benefit is that instead of searching for student repositories within your own account, the GitHub Classroom interface allows you to manage Classrooms and assignments using a simple dashboard.

I would highly recommend giving GitHub Classroom a try.



The only other thing I would mention besides what @ericdrosado has already stated is that if you are using a Classroom you can use the Classroom Assistant app to download all repositories for an assignment. This has been a tremendous benefit to me since I can now with a few clicks and pasting the assignment URL into the app download all files for each submission. Using separate GitHub private repositories instead of a Classroom I had to download each repository individually.

Whenever you ask students to proactively do something, some percentage can’t or won’t follow through which causes you headaches. If you ask them to create a private repo and share it with you, 1) some of them will make it public by mistake, inviting plagiarism (or confusion about plagiarism) and 2) some will forget to share it with you, and you have no way of knowing that the work was done and you need to grade it. Classroom forces students to “accept the assignment” before they can begin, so all the submission are organized and have the sharing settings that you specify.

There is some momentum behind this workflow; Github created their Classroom Assistant downloader, and individuals have created tools, and all of them work with Classroom but wouldn’t work with ad-hoc setups.

Also the explicit Classroom object serves as a record, outside your personal account, of what work was submitted. This is helpful when multiple instructors are teaching together. And it decreases the “bus factor,” if for some reason you were unable to finish teaching your class, it is at least technically possible for a substitute to pick up where you left off.


Thank you all for your responses. I suspected it was better, but it is good to have responses from users that have experience. I appreciate you taking the time!

I agree about the plagiarism. I teach a beginning series and plagiarism was a challenge for public repositories. Knowing that it is automatically created private is the main selling point I use with my colleagues.

The other big advantage is the forced naming / organization you get with github classroom. Every lab 1 is named consistently so its easy to find for both me and the students. When I’m passing on grader feedback I march down the list that github classroom provides. I don’t have to think about the url.