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TEACHING LAB SKILLS FOR
SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING

Who We Are

The Software Carpentry Foundation is a non-profit volunteer organization whose members teach researchers basic software skills.

What is a Research Software Engineer?

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-29

By now, many people in the UK (well, many of the sort who read this blog) will have heard the term Research Software Engineer, but what exactly is an RSE, and what effect will the creation of this title have? To understand, we need to go back to the Software Sustainability Institute's Collaborations Workshop in early 2012 (summarized in these blog posts and others). Those discussions led to this position paper at Digital Research 2012, whose authors argued that:

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June 17-28, 2015: A Lesson on Make, AMY 0.4 Released, Opportunities to Contribute, Practical Tips for Running Workshops, and Appointing a Program Coordinator.

By Anelda van der Walt / 2015-06-28

Vacancies

Highlights

Contribute

Useful Tips

  • Splitting the terminal window allows the instructor to display recent commands while continueing with the lesson at the same time. Read the post by Raniere Silva to see how it's done.
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2015 Post-Workshop Instructor Debriefing, Round 12

By Kate Hertweck / 2015-06-26

The mentoring subcommmittee hosted instructor debriefings on 23 June 2015 to discuss recently completed workshops. We are delighted that so many new instructors are joining us at these sessions as a way to prepare for upcoming workshops, and welcome anyone else interested to attend as well. Below we highlight a few discussion points from our sessions, including issues with lesson pacing and Python installation, as well as tips on using the etherpad and GitHub organizations. A more in-depth synopsis of a recent workshop can be found in this fantastic post on Raniere Silva's blog.

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Training Lessons

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-26

I wrote about our experiments with the format of instructor training back in May. At that time, we had run the class as:

  1. a multi-week online class,
  2. an in-person two- or three-day class, and
  3. a mixed mode with the trainees physically together for two days with the trainer coming in via teleconference.

We have since tried the mixed mode twice with the trainees at three different sites (three universities in Arizona for one run, and universities in Cape Town, Sheffield, and Ann Arbor for the other). We've also gathered a lot of feedback on what people want from instructor training and what its prerequisites should be. Here's what we've learned.

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Workshop at CERN

By Raniere Silva / 2015-06-25

At the beginning of June Rémi Emonet, Kwasi Kwakwa, and Chelsea Chisholm ran a workshop at CERN. Rémi has just posted a review. It went well, and there are a lot of good ideas in his write-up—from using a whiteboard for diagrams to the IPython Notebook's successor (Jupyter) and some semi-improvised intermediate material.

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Using Jekyll for Lessons

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-24

A recurring complaint about our lesson template is that it requires authors to commit generated HTML files to their repositories as well as their Markdown source files. This is necessary because we use Pandoc to convert Markdown to HTML, but GitHub will only run Jekyll.

There were a bunch of reasons for using Pandoc instead of Jekyll, but it is now clear that the simplicity of only committing Markdown—i.e., of using GitHub pages the way they're meant to be used—is more important. We have therefore created a prototype of a Jekyll-based template (which is rendered here). The most important changes are:

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Another Good Workshop in Brazil

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-23

The indefatigable Raniere Silva has just posted a description of a workshop at the University of Ceará that he and Dani Ushizima just finished teaching. It went well, and there are a lot of good ideas in his write-up — please check it out.

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Assessing Our Learners Part I

By Daniel Chen / 2015-06-23

Three weeks ago, Jason Williams, Jeramia Ory, and Daniel Chen met at the New York Public Library to work out an initial survey to assess our learners. Greg Wilson and Katerena Kuksenok joined virtually to provide feedback. The goal was to take the comments from the various initial GitHub issues and create a draft of an assessment survey for everyone to provide input. Our first draft is up, so please provide feedback at https://github.com/swcarpentry/assessment/issues/6.

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Program Coordinator Position Available

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-22

Software Carpentry has grown and grown again since our re-launch in 2010. We are now helping thousands of scientists every year, and while many of our partners and instructors are now organizing workshops on their own, a lot of details still need to be sorted out to keep the whole show on the road.

We therefore wish to hire a Program Coordinator to manage our day-to-day operations. This paid position will initially be part-time, but we expect that it will convert to full-time after a probationary period if funding allows. The successful candidate does not need to be either a programmer or a scientist, but must be well-organized, and can be located anywhere with reliable Internet access. The full description is included below; to apply, please email admin@software-carpentry.org with "Program Coordinator position" in the subject line and a resume (either attached as PDF, or a link to something online). And please help us spread the word: we're a fun bunch to work with, and this would be a chance for someone to help a lot of scientists get more done in less time, and with less pain.

Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Arliss Collins for all her hard work over the past year and a half. She is moving on to other duties now that our relationship with the Mozilla Science Lab has ended, but we couldn't have gotten through the past eighteen months without her. I'd also like to thank Amy Brown, who has come back to keep things going while we search for someone permanent, and welcome Kasia Zaczek, who is about to start handling workshops for us in Europe on behalf of Cyfronet in the same way that Giacomo Peru and Aleksandra Pawlik have been handling them in the UK on behalf of the SSI. Here's hoping that one day, somewhere, we can all get together for a group photo...

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Splitting the Shell Window

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-21

Raniere Silva has written a short post about a trick he found (via Kate Hertweck) for splitting the terminal window when teaching the shell so that recent commands stay visible at the top. It's a clever idea; we would welcome feedback from other instructors who have tried it or similar things. And if you have tricks of your own that you'd like to share, please let us know—we'd be happy to feature them here.

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Our sibling organization Data Carpentry teaches basic concepts, skills, and tools for working more effectively with data.


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