Digital Scholarship Resources - Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Scholarship and Communications Office

DiSC GitHub Lessons

A short link to this page is

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.

During the fall of 2021, we are planning to offer the lessons in-person, although it is also possible to participate via Zoom. Advance registration is required to participate remotely. It is recommended, but not required to participate in-person. To register, go to the link at the appropriate schedule below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Zoom session.

Each beginner lesson includes of a series of videos and homework assignments. The live working sessions 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.

Managing websites using GitHub - fall of 2021

Tuesdays from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Central (US) Time (starting Sep 7).

This hands-on series of lessons will quickly get you started creating a free website using GitHub pages. These lessons assume that you have a basic understanding of GitHub. However, those with no background using GitHub are welcome to attend since they can quickly catch up by doing the first two beginner lessons below.

The lessons will be held in-person although remote participation via Zoom is welcome. NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE: Central Library Poetry Room (room 612A).

Please register using this Zoom registration link even if you plan to attend in-person. This will give you the opportunity to participate by Zoom if you can’t make one of the live sessions. Registration link

Prior to the first lesson, you should sign up for a GitHub account if you don’t already have one, and download the GitHub Desktop software for your computer. You also need a text or code editor to use. I recommend Atom because of its Markdown preview, but it’s fine to use a different one if you prefer.

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

Working session date Lesson Topic Lesson web pages
Sep 7 1 Setting up GitHub pages and basic Markdown lesson webpage
Sep 14 2 Choosing a canned theme and HTML elements lesson webpage
Sep 28 3 Using remote themes and modifying the CSS lesson webpage
Oct 5 4 Setting up a custom domain and build-your-website work session lesson webpage

Beginners Lessons - not offered in fall 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

Invite collaborators to share a repo

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

DH fellows:

terms and diagrams presentation

terms text

Setup a GitHub repo

More info on commits, Markdown (review after class)

Invite collaborators to share a repo

Using GitHub to manage projects

Revised 2021-09-30

Questions? Contact us

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