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Adding your bio / Practice with git/GitHub

Table of contents

  1. Adding your bio / Practice with git/GitHub
    1. Version Control
      1. What’s the difference between git and GitHub?
      2. Basic git/GitHub references and tutorials
    2. Hands-on with GitHub
      1. Fork the repo
      2. Add your files using the GitHub interface
      3. Add your files using the command line
        1. Clone the (forked) repo
        2. Add the files to your fork
  2. Submit a Pull Request (PR)
  3. Acknowledgement / Contact Me

In this exercise, we’ll practice working with git/GitHub to add and modify files.

In this assignment we ask you submit a recent photo and bio to share with our students. The idea is to help them get to know you better.

Version Control

First, a bit of background.

git and GitHub are two of the currently popular tools to keep track of the changes in text-based files.

What’s the difference between git and GitHub?

A lot of times you’ll hear people use these terms interchangeably but that’s not entirely correct.

git runs locally on your computer and keeps track of the changes that you make to the files on your machine. You won’t be able to share these changes with your teammates using git alone, and that’s where GitHub comes in.

GitHub is a web service, a “cloud” platform that hosts your projects in repositories and allows you to share your repos with the world. There are alternative solutions to GitHub, such as GitLab and BitBucket, but they are all designed to let you push your local changes to the cloud to enable backup, sharing, and collaboration.

Basic git/GitHub references and tutorials

Here’s a GitHub Basics Tutorial - How to Use GitHub to get you started.

You might also find it useful to look over the Git Tutorial: Get Started with Version Control and Command Line Tutorial: Usage in Linux and macOS by Tania Rascia.

These visual guides might also be helpful in exposing what’s going on behind each git command you run:

Hands-on with GitHub

To really see the power of GitHub, you need to work with a team. So, let’s get started!

We will use this course’s repository in order for you to practice the open-source model of collaborating on a PROJECT_REPO. In the open-source model, there is one or more owner and maintainer of the project repository. Typically, you as a contributor do not have a direct access to making changes to the repo – the way you contribute is by submitting your suggestions/modifications via Pull Requests.

In this example, we will be referring to this course’s website as the PROJECT_REPO.

Use the GitHub link in the upper-right corner of this page to navigate to this website’s repo.

Fork the repo

Fork the PROJECT_REPO using the GitHub interface. You can get the PROJECT_REPO URL/address by clicking on the green “Code” button on the GitHub’s website (you’ll likely only need the https URL).

Note that the forked repo will produce a different URL (i.e., web address) for each person who forked this repo. We will refer to it as a PROJECT_REPO_FORK.

At this point, you have two alternative routes that you can take:

  • you can continue adding the files using the GitHub web interface
  • you can continue adding the files using git and the command line

You will need to make the changes to your fork using one of the above options. Then, when you have your picture and bio uploaded, you will need to submit a Pull Request (PR) via the GitHub web interface.

Add your files using the GitHub interface

In this assignment we ask you submit a recent photo and bio to share with our students. The idea is to help them get to know you better.

  • In the browser, open up the PROJECT_REPO_FORK.

  • Navigate to the assets/images folder and select “Upload files” from the “Add file” dropdown.
    • Use an image that shows your face and helps students recognize you.
    • Use a square PNG image (300x300 px max resolution).
    • Use the naming convention XX-YY-FirstName-LastInitial.png, where XX is the course number that you are tutoring for (one of CS08, CS09, CS16, CS24, CS32, CS64, CS90DA, CS130, CS130B, CS148, CS156) and YY is this quarter (e.g., W21, S21)
  • After uploading your image, remember to “Commit changes”.
    • Save the filename for the image that you uploaded.

Now, navigate to the _staffers folder.

  • Select “Create new file” from the “Add file” dropdown.
  • Name your file making sure to substitute your NETID before the .md part.
  • Copy the following template and update the fields accordingly.
    • Leave the opening and closing dashes intact.
    • Update your name
    • Leave the role as Undergraduate Learning Assistant
    • Update the pronouns to only include yours
    • Use the base filename (not the path) for the photo that you uploaded
    • Add your bio - please, do not list your contact information as part of your bio.
name: Your Name
role: Undergraduate Learning Assistant
pronouns: She/her Him/his They/their
photo: image.png

Write your bio and a welcome message (300 to 400 words).
  • Remember to “Commit changes”.

Add your files using the command line

Clone the (forked) repo

Now that you have your own fork PROJECT_REPO_FORK (i.e., copy of the PROJECT_REPO), which is connected to the main PROJECT_REPO, it’s time to clone the fork to your local computer.

You can get the PROJECT_REPO_FORK URL/address by clicking on the green “Code” button on the GitHub’s website.

To quickly check that you are cloning the correct repo (i.e., the fork, not the main project), look at the name of the repo in the top left portion of the website: it should show YOUR_GITHUB_USERNAME / PROJECT_REPO and underneath it should say “forked from” and link to the main PROJECT_REPO address.

To clone PROJECT_REPO_FORK to your computer, open a Terminal window and type:


Note: if you type pwd (i.e., print working directory) it will produce a path to the folder on your computer which now contains a cloned version of your forked repo (PROJECT_REPO_FORK).

You can verify that the new repo is there by running ls -l (Note: these are not ones (1) but “ells” (lowercase Ls)). Once you run the ls command you should see your PROJECT_REPO_FORK folder on the list.

Congrats! You can now switch to that folder by typing


If you run ls you should see the and other files in this repo.

Woohooo! We are done with the setup and are ready to start working with the files.

At this point, check the instructions and requirements above for uploading your picture and the bio. Since you are working on the command line you’ll need to add

  • your picture to the assets/images folder
  • your bio to the _staffers folder

Add the files to your fork

  • Verify that your changes are detected by running git status. It tells you which files you have modified.
  • If the file that you created is “red” in the “Untracked files” category, make git aware that it needs to keep track of it: Add the changes by running git add .gitignore
  • See the difference by running git status and make sure that only the files you intended to change are “green”.
  • Commit your changes git commit -m "Added a profile picture and the bio."
  • Make your change show up on your fork’s github repo website by pushing this commit to the repo using git push (note: not including origin <branchname> after git push defaults to origin master).

This commit and the correspending files now live in your fork and not in the main PROJECT_REPO.

When you are ready for your changes/files to show up on the main website, submit a PR.

Submit a Pull Request (PR)

In order for your changes to be added to the main PROJECT_REPO, you need to issue a Pull Request (usually abbreviated as PR).

Pull Requests (PRs) are typically issued through the GitHub web interface.

To submit a PR go to the PROJECT_FORK_REPO page on GitHub. Click on the “Pull Requests” tab and click on the green “New Pull Request” button.

Important: make sure to select the “compare across forks” link and then set the base and head repositories and branches accordingly.

Fill out the necessary information and then to finalize your PR, click on the green “Create Pull Request”.

If you would like us to add or correct anything, feel free to edit this guide on GitHub and submit a Pull Request from your forked repo.

Acknowledgement / Contact Me

If you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via ykk@ucsb edu (remember to replace a space with a . between the ucsb and edu).

For attribution, please keep the reference to the author:

These materials are released under the CC BY 4.0 by Yekaterina Kharitonova.

Page last updated: Feb 2021