Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Presentation, Presentation, Presentation

Right now, the Software Carpentry material is basically printed pages on the web. Each lecture is a linear HTML page: bullet point follows bullet point, interrupted only by code snippets, tables, and diagrams. If I'm going to update the content, I'd also like to update the presentation; the question is, "To what?" An audio recording of me talking over the slides would add some value, though I think that typing in what I would say would probably be more useful, since most people can read faster than I can speak, and audio still isn't googleable.

I've also thought about recording screecasts (audio on top of a video recording of my computer desktop). That would allow me to show live coding sessions, which I think many students would find valuable. Flipping that around, I could embed small snippets of video in the HTML pages. Then there are tools like Crunchy that allow you to create tutorials by embedding snippets of Python in web pages. That could help the programming parts of the course, but not with version control, Make (if we stick to Make, which I hope we don't), or many other parts.

So: what's the best online tutorial you've ever seen? What made it the best? Do you know how much effort it took to build the first time? How much effort it would take to build once the authors were experts in [name of tutorial-building technology goes here]? Pointers would be very welcome...

TOOLING

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