A. Čižmešija, Z. Stapić, G. Bubaš

University of Zagreb (CROATIA)
Novel trends in software engineering affect the academic learning environment. Teaching methods should be adapted to support the development of needed skills for the changing ICT labor market. Agile methods like Scrum often imply the use of collaborative software platforms that are used in the IT industry such as GitHub. The use of GitHub in academic programming courses is often related to team project tasks. Results of previous research and case studies of the use of GitHub in the context of teaching programming and software engineering indicate that the use of this collaborative platform and code management tool positively affects the finalization of students’ projects in accordance with requirements, including software quality and communication of team members. Furthermore, GitHub enables continuous monitoring of all project team member activities in all stages of application development that the students are involved in.

Use of GitHub as a collaborative social coding platform is specific within each university course and its role for developing students’ programming skills needs to be thoroughly planned and evaluated. There is a lack of research that analyze GitHub platform in the context of technology acceptance models and our study aims to fill this gap. The main goal of our paper is to provide insight into the use and acceptance of GitHub in the context of one software engineering course by using the framework of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT).

Our research aims to:
(1) describe in detail the context of this software engineering course and the purpose for using GitHub;
(2) investigate the motives and benefits of using GitHub for teaching activities within the course;
(3) check the validity and reliability of the developed instruments for measuring GitHub acceptance by the students;
(4) reveal the associations between the UTAUT constructs and predictors of students’ use and acceptance of GitHub.

A pilot study has been conducted on a convenience sample of undergraduate students enrolled in a software engineering course at a Middle-European university. The measurement instrument was a questionnaire with scales designed according to the UTAUT model, as well as those related to collaborative learning and learning satisfaction. Results of our pilot study identify the advantages, disadvantages and challenges of using and a collaborative GitHub platform in the context of software engineering university education.