Hello everyone. I am standing again as a candidate for the Steering Committee, having served on it this year for the first time.
I have been involved with Software Carpentry for about three years. I organised the first workshop in Brisbane in 2014. I certified as an instructor myself in 2015 and taught at two workshops that year. In 2016, I taught at eight workshops, all of which I either organised or helped to organise. During 2016, I and other Queensland instructors have taken Software Carpentry to five cities in Queensland - Brisbane, Townsville, Toowoomba, Gold Coast and Rockhampton - a huge improvement on the number of workshops run in 2015 (three).
I organised Software Carpentry instructor training in Brisbane in 2016, and have since seen our local community of instructors grow to 16. I certified as an instructor trainer myself a week ago - very exciting! I look forward to training new instructors in 2017.
I currently serve as the Software Carpentry admin for half of Australia, with Damien Irving in Hobart taking the other half. This means helping people in other Australian states and territories organise workshops and keeping AMY up to date with what we’ve done.
I was one of the organisers of the very successful 2016 Brisbane Research Bazaar, (ResBaz) a three-day research festival for graduate students and early career researchers. Software Carpentry workshops in R and Python were taught there. I am currently helping to organise the 2017 Brisbane ResBaz, which promises to be huge and which has already attracted a number of sponsors. I will teach Software Carpentry there. I also helped the ResBaz folks in Arizona with ideas for their inaugural ResBaz.
In June 2016, I organised a sprint to update and extend the Library Carpentry material created by Dr James Baker and others in the UK. This was part of the 2-day Mozilla Science Lab Global Sprint. More than 20 people in six countries worked on updating the material, and added a new SQL lesson to the existing four. More lessons are in the works and this has almost become a third ‘Carpentry’ - interest is burgeoning, and it won the British Library Labs award in November. There have been about a dozen workshops run since the sprint. Find out more here. I have taught two full Library Carpentry workshops this year as well as teaching parts of it at other events. The community is very active, with an ongoing chat room. New members are welcome.
I did some ‘guiding’ this year - mentoring recent Software Carpentry instructor trainees through the final stages of checkout. I tried this approach on attendees at the Brisbane instructor training and it was effective in getting people to finish (I think 17 out of 20 certified). I then assisted Anelda van der Walt’s South African instructor trainee cohort - running lesson discussion and practice teaching sessions to help them finish.
I plan to do the same thing to help attendees at the recent online instructor training I taught check out as instructors.
My one disappointment this year has been my inability to take forward work I proposed on improving Software Carpentry communications. I was simply swamped by the tsunami of interest in Library Carpentry (16 requests to teach it, and counting) and that ended up gobbling up a lot of my time. I did promote Software Carpentry tirelessly through tweets, but campaigns I hoped to run did not eventuate. I am still interested in taking that work forward and would be interested to hear from others with experience in that area who might like to participate in it.
I think it is important to have Steering Committee representation from Australia (and the southern hemisphere more generally). Software Carpentry has really taken off here, and I think I have proved to be an effective community builder for it. In 2017, I would like to continue that work, train more instructors, get more partnerships across the line, if possible, and make sure we extend Software Carpentry workshops beyond the capital cities into the regions. I also plan to work in more with colleagues in New Zealand and South Africa on building their communities. I also intend to help Library Carpentry continue to expand, and will be running instructor training for librarians in Portland, Oregon, in May 2017.