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How to use GitHub Pages to Build Your Open Online Course and Community

 

Pic by Nomadic Lass on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Pic by Nomadic Lass on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Disclaimer: This post will require you to tolerate some techie words and be encouraged to do some technical things.  The level of skill required is ‘click buttons’ not ‘type magic words’.

We are always investigating better ways to help you to create open online learning communities. Part of that means creating a home for your community online, a place where you can put the guidebook to your community. We believe that GitHub Pages is one such tool that can get the job done pretty well.

What is GitHub Pages?
In short it’s a way for you to create websites without installing things, messing with servers or paying loads of money! It actually has two parts to it – Git, the most popular version control software and Jekyll, a static website generator.

Git is a piece of software used around the world to author documents collaboratively. With GitHub Pages, Git is where you store all the files for your website – HTML, JavaScript, CSS, images, etc.

If terms like HTML, JavaScript and CSS make you feel woozy, you’ll like Jekyll!

Using Jekyll you focus on writing your content in Markdown which is a lot easier to learn than HTML and you can get started quickly. If you want to do something special, Jekyll doesn’t get in the way, you can dive into the HTML, CSS and JavaScript!

How We Used it to Built a Learning Community

webmaker-training

We worked with Mozilla to develop 4 courses that are part of the Teach The Web program. You can see the final project here and this is the GitHub repository corresponding to the site. To get an idea of how it came about, have a look at the development history and to see where things are going, see the outstanding issues.

Why use GitHub Pages?

  • You get to use the collaborative tools from Git with an easy interface. No need to email documents and no losing the edits you made. You can review changes, have conversations about them and you get a full history.
  • You’re off to a quick, simple start. We’ve created a template with all the batteries included, you just need to add your content.
  • You get simplicity, but you are not limited by it! If you have some web-fu or you want to tweak and change you can dive into the details and utilize the full power of the web.
  • You get all this for free! But not only that, when things grows bigger, you get to scale up without breaking the bank.

 

We need your help to bring this to a wider audience
We are working on a course to step you through the process of creating your own course using GitHub pages. Things are still evolving and we need your help to steer it in the direction that best suits you.  So why not join the course and strap yourself in for the ride!

I don’t think this is for me
No worries, we understand that we all have different levels of comfortability, interest and time when it comes to them machines. We are dedicated to create tools for open online learning that can be used by just about anyone.



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