Written by: Louis Sobel
July 27, 2012
What do the funny looking words 'doncheezy', 'pilas', 'darkhunt', and 'dzidzor' have in common?
Though they sound like they could be, they are not Ghanian fruits. They are all Github usernames of our students. Github, if you don't know, is a website that allows people to easily share and modify their own and other people's code. Jovana and I have been using it this summer to distribute programming labs and assignments to our students.
We have an organization, aiti-ghana-2012, through which we make code and instructions available in a number of different repositories (folders). At the beginning of the summer, we had every student make an account. To complete a lab, they would copy the repository for that lab from the aiti-ghana-2012 organization to their own account, download it, and get to work.
There are over 20 repositories up there; most of them were for just one day's work. Some of them, however, are for projects. The repository 'django-blog-project' contains a 6-part lab that guides the students through creating a working blogging web application (using Django, a web-framework) and launching it on Heroku.
Heroku is a website that makes it very easy for developers to launch their own websites. It was a part of our web curriculum from the very beginning. The experience of working on a website in the morning and having it on the World Wide Web before lunch's Fufu has even settled in your stomach allows you to really understand the powerful ability to build and prototype ideas that tools like Django give you.
The Django blog project ended with a contest, judged on design, functionality, and quality of implementation. Interested students were asked to submit the url of their website on heroku and the name of their Github repository. This allowed us to judge both their code and the final result. One of the prize categories was "People's Choice", where students could vote for their favorite. A list of all the submissions is here. What's your favorite? Feel free to submit a vote. We'll be announcing winners next week.