Digital Scholarship Resources - Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Scholarship and Communications Office

DiSC GitHub Lessons

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About the lessons

DiSC GitHub lessons are provided by the Digital Scholarship and Communications Office (DiSC) of the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries at Vanderbilt University. The DiSC office provides regular lessons for GitHub beginners with a variety of followup intermediate lessons. There is no cost associated with the lessons.

The beginners lessons generally cycle once per year, although they may be offered more frequently depending on demand. See the schedule below for session details. Advance registration and a Zoom login are required to attend the live working sessions. To register, go to the link at the schedule below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Each lesson includes of a series of videos and homework assignments. The live Zoom working sessions are not class sessions. Rather, they provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions about the lesson videos and homework, or to work on the homework with assistance.

The lessons are part of a free, online learning system called CodeGraf. You are welcome to work through these lessons or any of the other lesson modules available in CodeGraf on your own at any time (no registration required). To explore all of the lesson modules that are available, visit the CodeGraf landing page.

The DiSC office also provides lessons for learning Python and learning R in a similar format.

Before starting the lessons, you need to create a free GitHub account. To open an account, go to and follow the directions.

Beginners Lessons - not offered in spring of 2021

Instructor (Steve Baskauf) office hours information, or email to arrange another time to talk.

Working session date Lesson Topic Pre-lesson web pages
  1 Introduction and Desktop Client installation background information videos (17 min) / setup (16 min)
  2 Markdown basics, commits, pull from/push to GitHub lesson videos (28 min)
  3 The work cycle lesson videos (43 min)
  4 Using GitHub to recover from disasters lesson videos (18 min)

GitHub resources

The following pages provide information for developing basic skills with GitHub. The first five pages should be studied in order. The last two are optional extensions. Note: these pages repeat content found in the lessons above.

Ways to use GitHub

Introduction to Git and GitHub

Cloning to your local computer and the GitHub desktop client

Branching and the Shared Repository model

Using GitHub to manage projects

Forking a repo and the Open Source model

Managing a website with GitHub Pages

Revised 2021-01-07

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License: CC BY 4.0.
Credit: "Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Scholarship and Communications -"