Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Help Wanted

Burma 2015

Software Carpentry is an open project. Like all such projects, it needs your help to grow:

  • Our core lessons have outstanding issues; fixes are very welcome. Please note that if you're proposing an addition, we'd be grateful if you could suggest something to take out to make room.

  • You can also help improve the templates for our workshop websites and lessons (see the example lesson for documentation). Both include validation tools to check conformance, and improvements to those are always useful.

  • We are building a web-based tool for managing workshops. It's now in daily use, but there's still a lot to do to make it easier to drive.

  • We'd like to support translations into other languages. Lots of open source projects have wrestled with this issue before; what we need is someone with lots of personal experience to guide us.

  • We'd like some tools to automate the creation of Google Forms surveys and Eventbrite registration pages. If you've scripted either in the past, please give us a shout.

  • A group of volunteers is working to overhaul our pre- and post-workshop assessment questionnaires so that they'll be faster to fill in and provide more useful information. If you have a background in survey design, they could use a hand.

  • We need more material on quality assurance for the average scientific coder. We now have one that talks about testing and continuous integration, but we would like at least half a dozen examples like Ian Hawke's. This is a big job—it will take many days of writing and revising, spread out over weeks—but would immediately help thousands of scientists.

  • Similarly, we need someone to lead development of a lesson on scientific publishing in the 21st Century. We discussed this earlier this year; now we need to turn that into some teachable walkthroughs of particular systems. (I suspect that this lesson will also include an introduction to Make or something like it, since one of the goals for a modern publishing pipeline is single-button reproducibility.) This is also a big job, but would also help thousands of people.

  • We'd like to re-use the multiple choice questions that participants in the instructor training course have created over the past four years. They're all in the training course repository, but we've pulled a couple of hundred out into a separate repository to make them easier to find. Submitting them as pull requests to the appropriate lesson repositories could be done in bits and pieces provided there was some way to avoid double-dipping.

  • Our website needs periodic overhauls. This isn't a small job, nor one for a novice: at a guess, we need at least a week (probably two) from a professional web designer.

  • ipythonblocks and skimage.novice will let us adopt a media-first approach to teaching programming in Python. Enhancements to either of these are very welcome.

  • Several of our team are experimenting with a pure HTML replacement for screencasts called Browsercast. We are already using it in some of our slideshows, but we think it has much wider application.

  • A groups of students have built a diff-and-merge tool for the Jupyter Notebook. Polishing this would help everyone in the IPython community, not just us.

  • I will mow your lawn, walk your dog, and wash your dishes if you'll improve Jekyll's error messages Are line numbers really too much to ask for?

Dialogue & Discussion

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