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December Instructor Training Selection Debrief

By Jonah Duckles / 2015-11-25

Many of you who applied for instructor training in December are undoubtedly receiving disappointing news. We had 250 applicants on 45 teams from a wide range of locations. I'd like to talk through a few things about this process and how it played out as I think it will help the community understand the situation we were in with instructor training demand and our ability to meet demand. more

2015 Software + Data Carpentry Instructor & Helper Retreat

By Tiffany Timbers / 2015-11-24

Software and Data Carpentry recently held their first ever Instructor + Helper Retreat. The aim of this event was to bring instructors and helpers together remotely and at local sites around the world for a day of sharing skills, trying out new lessons and ideas and discussing all things instructor and helper related. This Retreat attempted to meet these goals via 17 local meetups in North America, Europe and Australia, 14 sessions broadcast globally via Google Hangouts on Air, and many people participating remotely by watching and asking questions at the global broadcast sessions. In addition to bringing the community together, the Retreat also has generated additional resources surrounding many more

A New Lesson on Testing

By Greg Wilson / 2015-11-22

Katy Huff has just posted a new lesson on testing and continuous integration with Python drawn in part from the book that she and Anthony Scopatz recently published. There's a lot of useful material in here, all of it tested in the classroom—please check it out. more

The Morea Framework

By Greg Wilson / 2015-11-20

I first met Philip Johnson, a professor of Computer Science at the University of Hawaii, through shared interests in empirical software engineering research and Google Summer of Code. He has recently been developed the Morea Framework for creating structured course websites using GitHub and Jekyll. "Morea" stands for "Modules, Outcomes, Readings, Experiences, and Assessments", which are the five main elements the framework supports. As you can see from the project gallery, it's much more structured than our lessons. It also requires more tooling—Morea Framework sites are built using custom Jekyll plugins, and the source relies much more heavily on include files than our template—and it's geared very strongly toward traditional semester-long courses.

I'm really impressed with the thought that's gone into Morea, and would enjoy hearing what you think. more

Applications for December Instructor Training Are Now Closed

By Greg Wilson / 2015-11-20

Applications to take part in December's two-day instructor training class are now closed. We received more than three dozen applications from four continents, including over 400 people, and will let people know early next week whether they have been selected. Groups that we can't include in this round will be given priority to take part in the new year. more

rOpenSci Announces $2.9M Award from the Helmsley Charitable Trust

By Karthik Ram / 2015-11-19

rOpenSci, whose mission is to develop and maintain sustainable software tools that allow researchers to access, visualize, document, and publish open data on the Web, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of nearly $2.9 million over three years from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The grant, which was awarded through the Trust's Biomedical Research Infrastructure Program, will be used to expand rOpenSci's mission of developing tools and community around open data and reproducible research practices. more

Test-Driven Data Analysis

By Greg Wilson / 2015-11-19

My former colleague Nick Radcliffe has started posting a series of article on test-driven data analysis, in which he explores systematic ways of checking whether one-off data analyses are correct. It'll be really interesting to see how the series unfolds, and comments on the posts would be very welcome. more

A Practical Computing Course

By Steve Haddock / 2015-11-15

While it was not a SWC course, this summer Casey Dunn and I taught a 12-day Practical Computing summer class at Friday Harbor Labs. It was a great group of students—mostly somewhat beginner level—and we covered regular expressions, the shell, Python, R + ggplot, Git, graphics, and bit of electronics. The centerpiece (which the students really got into) was a personal project that was applicable to their own interests and which they solved with some combination of the tools we covered. Many of the students went from zero experience to having a script that actually gave them insight into the real-life research back home. more

Python Lesson Rewrite

By Matt Davis / 2015-11-15

Recent analysis and introspection regarding Software Carpentry's Python lesson has led us to conclude that the lesson would benefit from a complete rewrite. The subcommittee on lesson development met twice to plan much about the new lessons (yes, that's plural). This post will describe our plans for the new lessons.

We're going to write two new Python lessons, one intended for students who are completely new to programming (the "novice" lesson), and another for students with some programming experience in any language (the "intermediate" lesson). Data Carpentry also targets new programmers so we'll be developing the new novice lesson in collaboration with DC, and both DC and SWC will use the lesson. We decided to use Gapminder data for both the novice and intermediate lessons in order to have a consistent experience and approachable, meaningful data (and because some lessons are already using it). more

CourseSource: A(nother) New Hope

By Greg Wilson / 2015-11-15

I came across CourseSource a few weeks ago, and I'm pretty excited:

CourseSource is an open-access journal of peer-reviewed teaching resources for undergraduate biological sciences. We publish articles that are organized around courses in biological disciplines and aligned with learning goals established by professional societies representing those disciplines. more

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