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Assessing Assessment

By Rayna Harris / 2015-10-10

Jason Williams and I met with two consultants at the University of Texas at the end of September to get feedback on Software Carpentry's post-workshop survey. They gave us detailed suggestions for improving six of the questions, and felt the rest were OK as they are. The feedback is given below; even without the whole questionnaire (which we will post shortly), we hope it's helpful. more

A Summary of Debriefing Feedback on Our Python Lesson

By Alistair Walsh / 2015-10-08

Last month, we discussed results from a survey of how our instructors are teaching Python. We now have a summary of the feedback we've received in our bi-weekly debriefing meetings. The recurring themes are:

  1. A greater choice of exercises and multiple choice questions would allow instructors to select domain specific examples and cater to varying levels of learner.

  2. Some instructors added an explanation of the Jupyter notebook or Spyder IDE environments.

  3. Some instructors added an explanation of basic Python datatypes before presenting the lessons.

  4. Comments that there is too much material to fit into a workshop and that some sections seem rushed.

  5. Request for a better explanation of the advantages of the Anaconda Distribution at the start of workshops and resources for post workshop learning.

  6. Comments on presenters style were positive for funny and entertaining examples and negative for highly mathematical examples. more

Data Management Plans: A Role for Software and Data Carpentry

By Rayna Harris / 2015-10-07

I spent the better part of the last three weeks working on an NSF-IOS Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) proposal. Pretty much daily, I consulted this list of publically available grant proposals in the biological sciences to look at other people's proposals. It's an awesome resource if you want to see how people write their project description, but there are no links to example data management plans, facilities, summaries, etc. Where does one go for examples of or advice on these supplementary documents?

At least part of the answer is "here". The last page of NSF's information about Data Management Plan requirements, updated on October 1, urges readers to check out Data Carpentry and Software Carpentry for resources and training. This is a huge shout-out (see these tweets), so how can SWC and Data Carpentry do more? more

A Workshop in Brisbane

By Belinda Weaver / 2015-10-07

A sea of green stickies: that really sums up the 28-29 September Brisbane Software Carpentry bootcamp—it ran extremely smoothly. We had 40 people signed up (with a waitlist of six) but lost one at the last minute to acute appendicitis—ouch—and another to project deadlines. The remaining 38 comprised post docs (7), Master's candidates (2), PhD candidates (19), research technical support (4), and four people from industry (one from an NGO and three from a virtual lab). We also had one undergrad (a first for us) and one very bright high school student. more

More About Jonah Duckles

By Jonah Duckles / 2015-10-06

I'm thrilled to be stepping into the role of Executive Director of the Software Carpentry Foundation. I come to you as an experienced instructional community member excited to share my administrative, grant writing and professional background to help the Software Carpentry Foundation become sustainable and reach exciting new goals. more

September 20 - October 4, 2015: A New Executive Director, Instructor and Helper Retreat, Data Visualisation Lesson, Teaching, and Lesson Citations

By Anelda van der Walt / 2015-10-04



  • Read about the new lesson on Data Visualisation with D3 and the pros of interactive data visualisation in Isabell Kiral-Kornek and Robert Kerr's post.


  • We're actively revising our teaching practice and lesson design. The latest feedback from people who've taught the Python lessons is summarised and there's another opportunity for you to add your thoughts via a short survey or longer discussion. We'd love to hear from you!
  • We're still talking about the citation format for our lessons. You can follow the latest discussion and contribute your suggestions at the blog post. more

A Case for Online Data Visualization

By Isabell Kiral-Kornek and Robert Kerr / 2015-10-02

This article originally appeared in The Research Bazaar.

Thorough data analysis is only one part of good research. Equally important is communicating the outcome well and accessibly. And visible research is accessible research.

Our main motivations for publishing our research results are:

  • making them openly accessible to the public,

  • informing fellow researchers about new outcomes that will help them in their research, and

  • strengthening our professional profiles. more

Please Welcome Our New Executive Director

By Greg Wilson / 2015-10-01

We are very pleased to announce that Jonah Duckles has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Software Carpentry Foundation, and will start on Monday, October 5, 2015. Jonah was most recently the Director of Informatics and Innovation at the University of Oklahoma where he partnered with researchers to improve their computational workflows while developing maker spaces for the campus. He holds a BS in Physics and an MS in Forestry and Natural Resources, both from Purdue, and has been a very active contributor to Software Carpentry for several years. more

Citation Format

By Greg Wilson / 2015-09-30

Earlier this month, we published our lessons by giving them DOIs through Zenodo. As we said in an earlier post, though, we've been struggling to figure out (a) how to cite them in text and (b) how to express their metadata in standard bibliographic formats to produce those human-readable citations. more

Thinking About Teaching

By Greg Wilson / 2015-09-28

A little over a year ago, we blogged about jugyokenkyu, or "lesson study", a bucket of practices that Japanese teachers use to hone their craft, from observing each other at work to discussing the lesson afterward to studying curriculum materials with colleagues. Getting the Software Carpentry Foundation up and running almost immediately pushed that aside, but now that the SCF is up and running, it's time to return to the subject. Discussion of how teaching practices are transferred is part of that; so are two other developments this week. more

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