Just the Class

A Jekyll template for developing course websites.

See the template live with Data 100 offered at UC Berkeley and CSE 373 offered at the University of Washington.

About Just the Class

Just the Class is a GitHub Pages template developed for the purpose of quickly deploying course websites. In addition to serving plain web pages and files, it provides a boilerplate for:

Just the Class is built on top of Just the Docs, making it easy to extend for your own special use cases while providing sane defaults for most everything else. This means that you also get:

Course Website as a One-Stop Shop

One neat feature is the full-text search capability. I use it to index all of the content in the course, including PDF-based materials such as lecture slides and section handouts. Try searching the CSE 373 course website for terms like “abstract data types” or “TMWLO” and you’ll see it pick up uses from lecture.

If you click through one of the lecture search results, you’ll notice that it brings you briefly to a redirect landing page. When generating the website on the backend, this page is picked up and treated as any other page. When visited by the web browser, the page redirects to the content. Here’s what to do to get this behavior.

Modify the template

  1. In your website repository, create a file _includes/head_custom.html. This will overwrite the blank file provided by the website theme.

  2. Add the following lines to the file.

    {% if page.redirect_to %}
    <style>body { display: none; }</style>
    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url={{ page.redirect_to }}">
    {% endif %}

Add a placeholder content page

  1. If you’re adding a lecture, for example, create a file lectures/01.md.

  2. Add the following front matter to the newly-created file, where the title is whatever you’d like it to be titled and the URL is your redirect.
    title: Welcome to CSE 373
    nav_exclude: true
    redirect_to: &redirect https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1w9sZhSH6MPBh_WB9dcBuz5RSUE32GqBcCXo6jprVQwI/edit#usp=sharing
    canonical_url: *redirect
  3. In the body of the newly-created file, copy and paste in your plain-text content. I use Google Slides for lecture which can be downloaded as a txt.