Profile Picture for Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes

How to Use Fastpages (2)

This is part two of a series. If you haven’t read part one, you should do so now. Click here to read part one.OK them welcome back. Let’s begin by reviewing what we’ve done in part one, because it’s not obvious. First, we created a repository on GitHub…

How to Use Fastpages

This is a really interesting project that allows you to write posts in markdown, MS Word or Jupyter notebooks and publish them in a blog using GitHub pages. No website needed!

But the instructions are far from clear, so here’s a step-by-step version.

  1. Login to GitHub. If you don’t have a GitHub account, register for one, then login to it
  2. Click this link: 
    This gives you an option to create a new repository in your own GitHub account. My account is called ‘Downes’ and I just called the new repository ‘fastpages’.
  3. Wait a minute or so. Then reload your repository page. This will review a new automatically created pull request. You can see it here:


  4. Click on ‘Pull Requests’


  5. Click on ‘Initial Setup’. This will show you some instructions.
  6. Create an SSH Key Pair. Click on this link: (there’s a popup advertisement you should just dismiss to get to this screen):

    Select: RSA and 4096 and leave Passphrase blank. Click the blue button Generate-SSH-Keys. The screen will display a public key and a private key.

  7. Create a Secret. Click on the link in the instructions:

    This link is specific to your repository. For me, it’s the following link: but for you it will use your repository name.

    Click on ‘Add a new Secret’ and a text field will open up:

    Type SSH_DEPLOY_KEY into the ‘Name’ field and paste the Private key from step 6 above into the ‘Value’ field (be sure to copy the entire public key; you will have so scroll as you copy).

    Then click the green ‘Add secret’ button.

  8. Add a Deploy Key. Click on the link in the instructions:

    Just like before, this link is specific to your repository. For me, it’s the following link: but for you it will use your repository name.

    Click the ‘Add deploy key’ button.

    Paste your Public Key from step 6 into the Key box. In the Title, name the key anything you want, for example fastpages-key. Finally, make sure you click the checkbox next to Allow write access (pictured below), and click Add key to save the key.

    Then click on ‘Add Key’.

  9. Merge the Pull Request. Scroll down to the bottom of the ‘Initial Setup’ page (where the instructions are): 

    Click on the green ‘Merge pull request’ button. 

  10. Wait for a few minutes. GitHub Pages will automatically create your website, but it takes some time. This will happen every time you push new content to the master branch of your repository (more on that below). Note: when I installed Fastpages, there was a second pull request (Bump nokogiri from 1.10.7 to 1.10.8) that had to be completed, in order to address a security vulnerability. If you get this, open the second pull request, scroll to the bottom, then click ‘Merge Pull Request’.   

Yes, there’s more! Go to Part Two.

    How to Learn Using Technology

    Learning with technology is different from learning with textbooks or learning with classroom instruction. In these, the focus is on understanding and remembering. It is content based. The learning objective is defined as mastery of this body of knowle…

    Flying to Conferences

    I just want to take a few moments to consider Bryan Alexander’s comments about flying to conferences. As most readers know, I have flown to hundreds of academic conferences over the years. So I guess I would be considered a prime offender in this regar…

    Linda Nanan Vallee at eLearning Africa

    Summary of a talk by Linda Nanan Vallee at eLearning Africa.I felt close to something Jef said earlier, about the mission we have on Earth. So I just wanted to share some very personal things, because I fel like we are a family.When I was young I wante…

    Mahid Abdulkarim at eLearning Africa.

    Summary of a talk by Mahid Abdulkarim at eLearning Africa.I want to tell you a story. We ll learn from stories. I hope it will show why technology means so much for a student like me.My country, Sudan, went through a revolution. We overthrew a presiden…

    The Electricity of Learning

    Summary of a talk at eLearning Africa given by Jef Staes.I’m going to tell a story of why education is failing. We have a design error.1.This is a battle of two groups of people. There was an information shortage. So industry started schools. But today…

    Martin Dougiamas, e_learning Africa

    Summary of talk by Martin Dougiamas at e_learning Africa.I’m just going to focus on open ed-tech. We had a conference about Moodle in this room yesterday.Our mission at Moodle is to improve the world, and we’re doing this by making an open source platf…

    Efosa Ojomo, Christensen Institute

    Summary of a talk by Efosa Ojomo, Christensen Institute, at eLearning Africa in Abidjan.The four Ps of education: purpose, problem, practicality, promise.The porpose: not simply to get people in a classroom, but to improve the human capital of society …