25 people attended our monthly (ish) online lab meeting yesterday,
during which we announced and discussed a wide variety of topics.
The detailed summary is below the fold,
but the key action items are:
There's been a flurry of pull requests and comments on lesson material in the past couple of weeks, which is great news for our sustainability. To keep the momentum going, please either send at least one pull request on the teaching materials, or make at least one comment on someone else's pull request, by Monday Oct 14.
In aid of this, please get in touch if you're willing to spend a bit of time in the next couple of weeks helping instructors-in-training learn a bit more about GitHub and pull requests.
Finally, please each introduce us to one new potential bootcamp host: we have a bunch of new instructors, so we're now able to take on more load.
A quick hello from Kaitlin Thaney, Director of the Mozilla Science Lab
MSL launched June 2013
How to push open science/digital research and make them the norm? How can Mozilla help make this happen? There's more to us than Firefox: world-class development team, open source development strategies, deep commitment to open access/open communities, inter-operability and open standards
Please reach out and contact us with project ideas, comments, and anything else
For more on our structure and thinking see these blogposts.
Submitting and reviewing pull requests on the new lesson material
In the last few weeks, a handful of people have started submitting and reviewing GitHub pull requests on the lesson material in the new bc repo
To accelerate this, we've asked people currently going through instructor training to pair up, pick one small topic, and submit PRs on it
Improving and extending the material is one goal
The other is to get us working like a proper open source project, with frequent patches and reviews
And to ensure that newcomers see this happening and start doing it as well
To Do: submit a small pull request, or review one of the ones that is waiting
Creating a "tips and tricks" page
Aron Ahmadia has volunteered to create and maintain a page for little ideas that have worked well in class
E.g., using red/green sticky notes for feedback
Or using Etherpad for note-taking, sharing code snippets, etc.
For the moment, please send him mail if you have things you'd like to share
Once the page is up, please send pull requests
What lesson material should be on the main web site, and why?
We currently have the Version 4 material (video tutorials done in 2010-11) and a link to the older Version 3 material (HTML pages written in 2006-07)
The new material in the 'bc' repo isn't on the main web site (in part because it's still under development)
Most people agree that text is better than video for most learning situations...
...and when we look at server logs, it seems that most people who use the site watch a little bit of a few videos, but mostly read or search through our text...
...but the videos do impress people, and are useful to people using flipped classrooms...
...but are very expensive to maintain (in fact, there hasn't been any real maintenance in two years)
Karin Lagesen suggested that we have a few very polished lessons with videos on the web site as advertising, then link to the rendered versions of the stuff in the 'bc' repo (not to the repo itself, which would scare newcomers)
A related suggestion is to have short (one minute?) video intros to lessons, but keep the bulk of the material in text
Another suggestion is to use extracts from videos recorded at conferences and bootcamps of people presenting this material (e.g., Katy Huff and Matt Davis's lessons at SciPy)
If someone would like volunteer to do this, we'd be happy to host it on the site
In the short term, the answer is, "Check with Greg," but we'll revisit the rules when we have more data
Looking for volunteers to help with:
Sys admin tasks: Jon Pipitone has done a great job moving us over to our new hosting service, but we need another volunteer to give us a couple of hours a week to keep things going
David Rio has volunteered; more volunteers would be welcome
We're close to being able to issue PDF certificates to people who've attended bootcamps, along with badges, but the template for the certificate needs some graphic design work, and then the script that fills it in and produces the PDF needs to be polished (see #4 and #92)
Maintaining our Windows installation tools and instructions: Anaconda plus the little Nano installer that Ethan White wrote is working well, but we need someone to maintain it and extend it
We'd like someone to create a template for nbconvert (the IPython Notebook's notebook-to-HTML conversion tool) so that we can render notebooks in the same style as our web site pages (see #119)