Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Models To Imitate

My father once told me that a week of hard work can sometimes save you an hour of thought. In that spirit, I've been looking for asynchronous online courses to imitate. I previously mentioned MIT's Open Courseware, CMU's Open Learning Initiative, and (closer to my scale) Saleem Khan's Khan Academy. Google Code University's lessons on programming languages are also on my radar—I'll blog more about them once I finish the Python material—but another model that I'm looking at closely is Teaching Open Source, a collaborative effort to get more open source into college and university courses. I first encountered them through POSSE (Professors' Open Source Summer Experience), which they describe as:

...a weeklong bootcamp that will immerse professors in open source projects. Participants spend a week of intensive participation in selected open source projects, led by professors with experience in teaching open source development, in partnership with community members who have deep experience and insight. By the end of the session, participants should have a much better understanding of the workings of open source projects, and a strong network of contacts to lean on as they begin to bring students into the open source world.

I've also been watching in awe (with a small 'a', but awe nonetheless) as half a dozen contributors have pulled together a textbook called Practical Open Source Software Exploration: How to be Productively Lost, the Open Source Way. It's by no means complete, but I have already bookmarked it in a dozen places, and expect to add more. I always hoped that Software Carpentry would become a community project of this kind; here's hoping that Version 4 finally manages to.

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