Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

The First Software Carpentry in Korea

Last week, xwMOOC xwMOOC ran the first Software Carpentry workshop in Seoul. The workshop delivered not only an introduction to Unix Shell, Git and GitHub, Python and SQL but also computer science unplugged, rur-ple, python for informatics and cloud basics. Listening to attendees feedback, attendees concerns such as software business, all about what start-ups should know, how software business environment looks like and so on are provided during three days workshops.

Due to lack of instructors, Victor did teach all the lessons. Unfortunately, Dave, who is supposed to be a helper, could attend the first workshop such that one of attendees, Mr. Seo, became a volunteer and did a wonderful job. Even though there were some software installation problems, Mr. Seo and Victor could overcome some technical difficulties. The Software Carpentry Installer has been tried initially, but the installer under the Windows 7 could not install all the software.

Initially we want to start small, but we had some concerns about churn rates. Therefore, we initially limit the number of attendees up to 23. Because the first Software Carpentry workshop was free, the registration has been closed two weeks ago. The final attendees have been check by RAPA(host) and the number was 17. Because the lesson contents of Software Carpentry are quite new, sort of advanced to Korean, and tailered to science and engineering, from the beginning Victor and RAPA paid special attentions to retention rates. Finally, we kept 12 attendees, which is over 70%. Our retention goal was 50%, 8 attendees.

Software Carpentry Korea

CJK problems in software

We encountered a number of software difficulties, mostly CJK problems.

  • Nano editor: Korean characters are not recognized. Short-cut keys are not properly typed.
  • The Software Carpentry installers did not install all the Software Carpentry tools, nano and IPython. Therefore, manually check what has been installed and not installed, and then install not-installed ones.
  • IPython notebook did not understand shell command "!", but DOS command works. We don't know why.

What we learned

The start of the first day we forgot gathering feedback (via sticky notes), but we explained how to use sticky notes and have got the feedback the end of the first day. Besides, we performed pre-workshop questionnaire and post-workshop questionnaire through Google Survey, but survey responses are all Korean. A selection of the attendees' comments (random orders) are translated as follows:

Good points Bad points
It was good to know various tools and concepts When coding lively, typing was so fast!!! It's hard to catch up.
It was good to cover both theoretical and practical aspects of software based on software carpentry lessons and instructor's experiences After the workshop... it will be great to set up a Facebook group. We can share bugs, questions, and comments
Instead of one-side software lectures, practices and coding were really fun and a valuable experience. If pros and cons about programming languages like Java and C are discussed, that will be great.
There are people from various background. It was a good time to make a social network. Low resolution beam projector and small and dim font size
Too hot afternoon.
Easy and lucid board explanations. Too difficult for absolute novice :-(

Move to the Next...

We lost 40% registors, but 10 attendees finished the workshop. The next workshop's date has not yet been set, but it will have more helpers and the Korean Software Carpenters are going to share Software Carpentry values widely and deeply. Moreover, $100 computers pre-installed with Software Carpentry and xwMOOC tools are under development. We look forwards to a second workshop.

WORKSHOPS · KOREA · SEOUL · RAPA · XWMOOC

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