Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Three workshops in Brazil

In Brazil, like in many other countries that we are starting to run workshops, there are many open questions that we need to answer such as

  • how do we advertize our workshops?
  • do we charge a registration fee? If yes, how much do we charge?
  • how do we create a local community after the workshop?
  • how do we get new partners after create a local community?

Thanks to the work of many instructors like Anelda van der Walt, Belinda Weaver, Bill Mills, Lex Nederbragt, Selene L. Fernandez-Valverde, and Tiffany Timbers we are getting some hypothesis to the questions above across the world. In terms of Brazil, the three workshops that we ran in May added more data to help answering the questions.

Workshop in Florianópolis

This was the second workshop that we run in Florianópolis with more than one year between each.

Our 20 seats sold out in a few days (we didn’t charge anything) but only four students attended all the sessions making this the workshop in Brazil with the smallest number of attendees. The low number of attendees can be due our workshop running at the same time as others activities of SciPy Latin America 2016 but I believe that the main reason was the missing of a local champion to motivate people to attend the workshop (in 2014 we had Diego Barneche Rosado).

Workshop in Campinas

This was the second workshop that we run in Campinas. The first one was an remote workshop last year.

We had 40 seats available but we sold less than 20. At this workshop we charged R$100.00 (that at the time was something around US$25.00) per seat. A friend complained that the ticket was expensive but the workshops aren’t free of costs and if the host isn’t covering the costs we need to charge the attendees.

Not having a full room helped a lot when we needed to find another one since the reserved room wasn’t available due an strike promoted by the Student Union.

Workshop in São Paulo

This was our forth workshop in São Paulo in the last three years making the place in Brazil with most workshops so far. All this four workshops had the support of The FLOSS Competence Center and I hope they will continue to support us.

The 18 seats for this workshop sold out in a few days and we had a full room on all the sessions. This probably happend because our history of workshop lots of positive feedbacks. At previous events we had a waiting list filled to double the capacity, this time we did not because of less advertisement and the workshop was scheduled during a holiday.

Learners feedback

The feedback that we received on all three workshops were similar. The learners loved the friendly and welcoming learning environment that we provided, acquired and improved skills but also commented that the workshop could be longer than two days and be offer more times over the year.

Pedagogical exchange

In all three workshops we had a amazing team of instructors and helpers. Felipe Bocca, Diego Rabatone Oliveira, Filipe Pires Alvarenga Fernandes, Francisco Palm, Haydee Svab, Kally Chung, Monique Oliveira, Yuri Teixeira mentioned to learn something during the workshop that will help them when teaching the next one.

We are seeking financial sponsors to promote the First Brazilian Software Carpentry workshop for Women in Science and Engineering to be delivery by Kally Chung, Haydee Svab and Monique Chung. We will be grateful for introductions to possible sponsors.

Answers

Coming back to the questions at the begin of this post, some possible answers:

  • how do we advertize our workshops?

    Direct email to people on previous waiting lists works (and they say ‘thanks’ when attending the workshop) and asking help of local champions to invite learners is 100% effective. Messages on social networks can get you more learners. Ask your local host to put some flyers since this is the best way to reach out.

  • do we charge a registration fee? If yes, how much do we charge?

    This is a case by case scenario. Having a basket of biscuits and some coffee and tea outside the room right before the breaks facilitate new collaborations and local community building so if you don’t have a sponsor I suggested that you charge for the cathering.

  • how do we create a local community after the workshop?

    I don’t have a answer for this one yet.

  • how do we get new partners after create a local community?

    I also don’t have a answer for this one yet. And the lack of funding on the current year budget makes this more challenge. But keep in mind that the Software Carpentry Foundation can provide you with letter of support for grant opportunities.

Acknowledge

I’m grateful for the support provided by the Software Sustainability Institute, Centro de Informática e Automação do Estado de Santa Catarina S.A., Espaco de Apoio ao Ensino e Aprendizagem, and FLOSS Competence Center to the workshops.

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