Skip to content
Python tools for instructors working with GitHub Classroom
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
LICENSE initial commit May 21, 2019
example_completion.png updated README Aug 30, 2019 added parallel fetches from GitHub servers -- fast! Oct 16, 2019 added parallel fetches from GitHub servers -- fast! Oct 16, 2019 bugfixes when dealing with weird repos Oct 28, 2019 added logic to detect students who exist in multiple repos Nov 14, 2019 added paging to github_event_times, other refactoring to clean things up May 22, 2019 first crack at generating graphs with matplotlib Aug 30, 2019 fixed crazy bug with repo scanning / better error reporting Jun 4, 2019 bugfix Oct 28, 2019

GitHub Classroom Utils

This repository contains a number of utilities that I've written (and rewritten) over the years to help with GitHub Classroom. Most recently (Oct 2019), I revamped the code to launch multiple, concurrent requests to the GitHub servers whenever possible. These tools now run significantly faster.


I typically have an administrative repository, private to just the instructors, where I keep grades, slides, and other materials related to running my classroom. I'll copy these utilities to that directory and configure them to operate on the student repositories for just that class.

Installation & Configuration

  1. If you haven't already done this, you'll first need to pip3 install iso8601 pandas matplotlib requests aiohttp for necessary libraries. (Everything here requires Python3 and is tested with Python 3.7.2. Earlier versions of Python3 might or might not work.)

  2. Copy all the py files here into your class administrative repository.

  3. Get a GitHub token with all the "Repo" privileges. You do this on the GitHub website (instructions).

  4. Edit the file. In this file you can save values that every tool here will use. These parameters can be specified on the command-line for every tool here, but it's nice to save them so you're not typing them over and over again.


All of these tools use a common library to interact with GitHub that tries to avoid rescanning student repositories unless something has changed. These scans can take a while to run and also burn through your available GitHub API request limit, so it's important to cache the results. (You'll see a multi-megabyte JSON file written out as a dot-file in the current directory.)

The cache uses the ETag headers generated by GitHub to try to avoid repeated downloads of identical lists of all the student repositories. GitHub's implementation of ETag seems to be unreliable, so you'll be wanting to manually delete the cache if you know that your students have created new repositories. You do this by removing the cache file, which has a name like .github-classroom-utils.RiceComp427-Spring2019.json). This forces a rescan of the students' repositories the next time you run one of the tools here.

Tool usage. Each tool below let's you run it with a --help argument which will summarize the command-line arguments.


You often want to get a local copy of every repo beginning with a common prefix, e.g., comp215-week06 for the week6 projects. Run python3 --prefix comp215-week06 --out codedump-week06 and it will create the directory codedump-week06 and will check out all of the matching repos into the desired directory.

An optional flag, --safe, creates repositories that do not have your API token embedded in them. This means that remote Git actions that require the token might not work, but the repos are safer to share. By default, the API token is embedded in the cloned Git repos.


If you keep running these tools, you'll eventually hit the wall with GitHub's rate limits. This tool tells you how many requests you have left and when the timer will reset.


If you checked the wrong box when setting up GitHub Classroom, and all your students' repositories are public, when you meant them to be private, you can go back into GitHub Classroom's settings and make sure that future cloned repositories will be private, but what about the existing ones? This tool will tell GitHub to make private all the matching repositories. (I've needed this twice in so many years, so I figure others might need this as well.)


You tell the students that they're required to have a partner, or to have a minimum group size. How do you detect the missing students? This script does all that. It scans all the projects, extracts the teams, and lets you know about any project with fewer than the minimum number of members. Likewise, if there are students in your database who aren't attached to any GitHub projects, you get their information as well.


If you're using GitHub Classroom, one of the things you may need to do is assign student submissions to graders. This project does this as a random mapping, printing a document that you might share with your graders on Piazza or whatever forum, with grader names and student project hyperlinks.

First, create a list of GitHub IDs that correspond to your graders and place that in the default_grader_list in This tells the tool who your graders are, and also any repos that they might have cloned for their own benefit will be ignored. If you want to ignore any other names, such as the professors, you can add them to default_grader_ignore_list.

Our graders need to know how to go from GitHub identifiers to our internal NetIDs, emails, and so forth. The tool will read in a CSV file with all this specified (by default, student-data.csv). To the extent anything is standard in the CSV universe, the first row should be a list of strings giving the names of each column. We use a GitHubID column for GitHub user ids, and then Name for their printable name, Email for their full university email address, and NetID for their university unique "network" identifier (which is often, but not always, their email address).

For group projects, github_graders still does the assignments at random, but it cannot print all this per-user information, since the user names aren't always in the project name. We make our students edit the file to include this information.

Typical usage: python3 --prefix comp215-week06 will print out everything you need, assuming your assignment repos are named comp215-week06 with the students' names afterward.

A new feature, --teams is useful when students are working as teams with GitHub Classroom. This will use GitHub's APIs to identify the names of each student associated with each repo and will adjust its printed output appropriately.

Another new feature, --ignore lets you specify a substring of a repo name to ignore when assigning grading. We tell our graders, when they want to check out a repo to play with it, to add the word STAFF in the name. This helps us skip those so they don't get assigned to be graded.

The output of this tool is in Markdown format, which Piazza has recently added. Select the Markdown button before cutting-and-pasting. We post this on Piazza, visible only to the graders, and we ask the graders to edit the post to mark the students as "done" when they're done with their grading session. (This helps us see what graders haven't finished their work and, if necessary, assign other graders to pick up the slack.)


This program uses the GitHub "Events" API to print all of the push times for each commit, with its output in LaTeX "tabular" format. This might be useful if you have a student who you suspect of falsifying commit times around a deadline and you need to document what happened.

Lets say you want to get the commit times for a series of repos with names like assignment3-student1 and assignment3-student2, you run python3 assignment3-student1 assignment3-student2 and it will print a table with the commit IDs (7 digit prefix, same as reported on GitHub's list of commits), the commit string, and the time at which that commit was pushed to GitHub, converted to your local timezone (from the UTC times reported by GitHub).

Note that GitHub only retains the underlying event data for a small amount of time, maybe three months. If you see something unusual, capture this output while it's still available.


This reads all the available CI data for every commit in every repo and produces a plot over time of how many students have passed all the tests and gotten a green checkmark. Here's an example from my own students, showing work in progress toward a deadline on 2019-09-01; you can see roughly 100 of 170 students have completed the work on the evening of 2019-08-30.

Example completion graph

The timezone used to render the chart is set from the default_timezone setting in

See also

You can’t perform that action at this time.