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Building Online Communities: GitHub Teacher

We talked to the GitHub Training team about the free GitHub courses they offer to both developers and non-developers, as well as about the community that formed around them on Gitter. Check out what they say and enroll in the course!

What is the GitHub Teacher? How did it come about?

The GitHub Training team uses the @GitHubTeacher as the teaching persona for the various courses we offer. The account acts as a shared location for our trainers to create repos, manage collaborators, and their related organizations.

What topics do you cover in your courses? Who are the courses aimed for?

Our courses cover a breadth of job-relevant topics across the Git and GitHub ecosystem. Whether you are an experienced developer trying to find out what GitHub is all about, or a non-developer learning how to use GitHub for your internal documentation, cookbook, home repairs, or data compilation — we have you covered.

We invite anyone to take the Introduction to GitHub course to see how they can use GitHub to make their lives easier. I may sound like I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, but take the class and I’m confident you’ll have ideas on how you could use it in your personal and professional life.

Where do your students and teachers come from?

All over the globe, just like our GitHub community. However, we haven’t (yet) been able to confirm that people have trained on Git or GitHub while visiting the Arctic or Antarctica (❤️ to all the developer polar bears and penguins out there!). It isn’t uncommon for our students to participate in training sessions during the late night / early hours in their local time zone. Our GitHub for Developers class is even offered in EMEA friendly time slots.

Our instructors are distributed around the globe, providing GitHub training for GitHub around-the-clock. The Training Team assists customers wherever they call home.

Git is known to have a steep learning curve. How do you handle that?

While it might be true that Git can take a while to master, our courses employ GitHub Flow and are delivered to enable even Git and GitHub novices to hit the ground running. Our classes focus on the everyday tasks associated with Git and GitHub. During the second day of our GitHub for Developers course, we tackle some of the more advanced Git concepts.

How can GitHub be useful to non-developers? Do you see interest from them in learning about GitHub as well?

GitHub really is for everyone. Though often associated with developers and software, authors, ranging from teachers to researchers, are discovering the ways Git and Markdown aid in authoring and versioning their content. But don’t take our word for it: explore GitHub Showcases to see what our amazing community is up to.

Why do you think the reasons are that Git, and GitHub in particular, encourage a better workflow, over other source-control systems?

GitHub is social. Our community plays a huge role in why GitHub excels over other source-control systems. The GitHub Flow and ease-of-use is welcoming to users that are new to our platform. The distributed nature of Git helps continuity of work in a world that can grind to a halt when internet connectivity is lost.

At the end of the day, we believe in the power of collaboration. GitHub provides a platform that allows anyone to contribute to projects that are near and dear to their heart, which was a lot more difficult to do before we showed up.

What resources do you recommend for those wanting to gain better understanding of Git and the GitHub ecosystem?

GitHub Training offers free courses every month to help anyone get a better understanding of Git and GitHub. In addition to our trainings, we have a metric-ton of videos on both YouTube and Vimeo. If reading books is your cup of tea, we recommend checking out Pro Git.

Did you learn anything new yourself from teaching GitHub to those with little experience using it? Can you give an example?

As a relatively new instructor, I’m most impressed with the workflows that our new users are coming to the platform with. Aside from the different workflows and environments our new users are coming to the table with, I’m amazed at the creativity and inquisitive nature of our learners. I think people intrinsically want to break something when they are trying it out, they throw things at GitHub that would stump their current source control systems and I love being able to identify how to solve their unique problems.

How to sign up for a class? How often do they take place?

Students can sign up for our classes on our Training website. GitHub offers a selection of classes that increase in scope as the student progresses through them. We suggest that anyone new to Git and GitHub enroll in the Introduction to GitHub course (which is currently scheduled for the 15th of August).

After completing Introduction to GitHub, we encourage students to enroll in either GitHub for Everyone, which emphasizes the use of the GitHub Desktop, or GitHub for Developers, which dives right into using GitHub with a command-line interface. Both GitHub for Everyone and GitHub for Developers have classes available in August and September.

Outside of the courses that focus on using GitHub while utilizing Git, we also offer a Git Essentials course which focuses on commonly used Git operations without relying on GitHub.

In addition to our scheduled Open Enrollment courses, students can also take our on-demand training that is always available and can fit well into a busy schedule. The course takes them through the GitHub Flow and gives them an opportunity to work on a community driven project before jumping into the massive world of Open Source projects hosted by GitHub.

Similar to our Open Enrollment courses, we use Gitter to provide students an opportunity to collaborate with fellow learners, as well as pose questions to the Training team.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Moving to Gitter as the chat platform for our courses has strengthened our learning communities. Countless students jump at the opportunity to answer one anothers’ questions every class and it’s something we encourage.

See you in class,

❤️ GitHub Training

P.S. The Training Team developed the answers to all of these questions collaboratively using Issues and Pull Requests.