Feedback from UC Berkeley

Posted 2013-04-16 by Justin Kitzes in University of California - Berkeley.

Last weekend we held a boot camp at the University of California, Berkeley, that was targeted for environmental scientists and ecologists. We had a great group of attendees (31 registered, 28 at start, and 24 at end) and instructors/helpers, and, as a major bonus, had no major technical or logistical emergencies to deal with (but see below for some minor ones).

Before the workshop, we had participants fill out a brief pre-workshop survey that we set up on Google Drive. The idea was to gather some initial impressions that would help us tailor the workshop content. We learned a few particularly useful tidbits from this exercise. First, about half the attendees had tried Python before and half had never used it. Second, nearly a third had used some form of version control before (big surprise), and half of these had used Git. Third, the most requested topics, by far, were related to importing and manipulating different types of data and to integrating Python with R and/or ArcGIS.

As for feedback, we once again had the students use the Etherpad at the end of each day. On the first day, we asked three questions: What was Good, What was Bad, and What Lingering Questions were left. This last question turned out to be very useful, as the instructors and helpers dutifully wrote lengthy responses to all of these questions on the morning of the second day. You can see how this played out on the raw text archive of the Etherpad. We then repeated the Good and Bad questions at the end of the second day. Below is the feedback summarized across both days. We asked each attendee to try hard to come up with a unique comment each day, and to also add +1 to other comments that they agreed with.

The Good

The Bad or Confusing

Thanks to instructors Karthik Ram and Geoff Oxberry and helpers Matthew Brett and Jessica Hamrick.

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