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June 29 - July 06, 2015: Research Software Engineers, Not Changing Lesson Build Tools, and Moving to Python3.

By Anelda van der Walt / 2015-07-06


  • Do you know what a Research Software Engineer is or why we desperately need to recognise the role RSEs are playing in research? Read about the history of RSEs and a fellowship programme available for RSEs in the UK.
  • Version 5.4 of our lessons will be released at the end of November, rather than mid-August, and lesson build tools will remain unchanged until then. Most importantly we'll be changing the Python lessons to run on Python 3.


  • Are you looking for other ways to contribute to Software Carpentry? Visit our Projects page to see an exciting list of opportunities for you to get involved. more

Pushing Back

By Greg Wilson / 2015-07-01

A week ago, we posted a proposal to use Jekyll to build our lessons rather than Pandoc. The immediate reaction was almost uniformly positive, but in the days since, people have pushed back on two fronts: more

What is a Research Software Engineer?

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-29

By now, many people in the UK (well, many of the sort who read this blog) will have heard the term Research Software Engineer, but what exactly is an RSE, and what effect will the creation of this title have? To understand, we need to go back to the Software Sustainability Institute's Collaborations Workshop in early 2012 (summarized in these blog posts and others). Those discussions led to this position paper at Digital Research 2012, whose authors argued that: more

June 17-28, 2015: A Lesson on Make, AMY 0.4 Released, Opportunities to Contribute, Practical Tips for Running Workshops, and Appointing a Program Coordinator.

By Anelda van der Walt / 2015-06-28




Useful Tips

  • Splitting the terminal window allows the instructor to display recent commands while continueing with the lesson at the same time. Read the post by Raniere Silva to see how it's done. more

2015 Post-Workshop Instructor Debriefing, Round 12

By Kate Hertweck / 2015-06-26

The mentoring subcommmittee hosted instructor debriefings on 23 June 2015 to discuss recently completed workshops. We are delighted that so many new instructors are joining us at these sessions as a way to prepare for upcoming workshops, and welcome anyone else interested to attend as well. Below we highlight a few discussion points from our sessions, including issues with lesson pacing and Python installation, as well as tips on using the etherpad and GitHub organizations. A more in-depth synopsis of a recent workshop can be found in this fantastic post on Raniere Silva's blog. more

Training Lessons

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-26

I wrote about our experiments with the format of instructor training back in May. At that time, we had run the class as:

  1. a multi-week online class,
  2. an in-person two- or three-day class, and
  3. a mixed mode with the trainees physically together for two days with the trainer coming in via teleconference.

We have since tried the mixed mode twice with the trainees at three different sites (three universities in Arizona for one run, and universities in Cape Town, Sheffield, and Ann Arbor for the other). We've also gathered a lot of feedback on what people want from instructor training and what its prerequisites should be. Here's what we've learned. more

Workshop at CERN

By Raniere Silva / 2015-06-25

At the beginning of June Rémi Emonet, Kwasi Kwakwa, and Chelsea Chisholm ran a workshop at CERN. Rémi has just posted a review. It went well, and there are a lot of good ideas in his write-up—from using a whiteboard for diagrams to the IPython Notebook's successor (Jupyter) and some semi-improvised intermediate material. more

Using Jekyll for Lessons

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-24

A recurring complaint about our lesson template is that it requires authors to commit generated HTML files to their repositories as well as their Markdown source files. This is necessary because we use Pandoc to convert Markdown to HTML, but GitHub will only run Jekyll.

There were a bunch of reasons for using Pandoc instead of Jekyll, but it is now clear that the simplicity of only committing Markdown—i.e., of using GitHub pages the way they're meant to be used—is more important. We have therefore created a prototype of a Jekyll-based template (which is rendered here). The most important changes are: more

Another Good Workshop in Brazil

By Greg Wilson / 2015-06-23

The indefatigable Raniere Silva has just posted a description of a workshop at the University of Ceará that he and Dani Ushizima just finished teaching. It went well, and there are a lot of good ideas in his write-up — please check it out. more

Assessing Our Learners Part I

By Daniel Chen / 2015-06-23

Three weeks ago, Jason Williams, Jeramia Ory, and Daniel Chen met at the New York Public Library to work out an initial survey to assess our learners. Greg Wilson and Katerena Kuksenok joined virtually to provide feedback. The goal was to take the comments from the various initial GitHub issues and create a draft of an assessment survey for everyone to provide input. Our first draft is up, so please provide feedback at more

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