Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

2016 Post-Workshop Instructor Debriefing, Round 03

On Tuesday, February 9th, we ran the 3rd round of Post-Workshop Instructor Debriefing Sessions. Rayna and Raniere hosted the morning debriefing session. The even session was cancelled due to low attendance.

New lesson materials

  • Blogging as a Collaborative Git Exercise. The SFU group created a new Git exercise in which pairs of learners wrote guest blog posts for the others site. Then learners experienced conflict resolution with a controlled lesson where paid edited the same line of the guest blog post. This was an engaging exercise that allowed learned to see successful collaboration and conflict resolution. Stay tuned for a dedicate blog post from Bruno Grande about the exercise.

What worked well

  • A 5-day Hybrid Data / Software Carpentry Workshop. The 2016-01-25-Utrecht group covered a lot of material in this 5 day workshop (Spredsheets, OpenRefine, Python 3, Unix, SQL, Git, Make, and HPC)! While most of the materials were used as is, updates to the Data Carpentry Python lesson have already been pushed and merged.

  • Integrating SQL and Python. The 2016-01-25-Utrecht group used a very large dataset to demo the loading of files in SQL and queerying the database from Python. Examples like this are very useful for groups who are interested in showing how to integrate tools from different programs.

  • Domain Specific Python Lessons. The 2016-02-06-uguelph workshop substituted the Numpy and Matplotlib sections with material taught by John Simpson. Mateusz referred us to Library Carpentry for lessons tailored for librarians and similiar domain scientists.

  • Practical Use Cases. When instructors take the time to provide real work examples and practical applications, it helps learned better understand the power of these computational tools.

What could have gone better

Without access to campus wifi, the 2016-02-06-uguelph workshop had to use Eduroam for the internet, which was incompatible with Ubuntu laptops. What is the best way to ensure that the institution provide wifi? If you know, please share.

Installation problems

  • Gitbash doesn’t have Make, so that was an issue for the 2016-01-25-Utrecht workshop.
  • Nano setup on Windows was problematic, so the 2016-02-02-SFU instructors had the learners use Notepad++.
  • 3 people out of 32 had some fatal error between terminal/anaconda package. The mercurial install failed for everyone, but this was irrelevant since they were using Git.


We are grateful to the following instructors who attended this debriefing session. By taking the time to share their experiences and listen, they are truly making the Software and Data Carpentry community even more awesome!

Dialogue & Discussion

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