Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Open Channels

I was writing a talk about community building in the Carpentries for the ANDS Tech Talk series, and found myself surprised at how many things we do.

Obviously, workshops are our key community-building activity. They help us reach new learners, give instructors the chance to practise teaching, and draw in new helpers. Many learners and helpers go on to become instructors themselves, which builds further momentum.

Conference tie-in workshops, such as the annual bootcamp for the UQ Winter School attendees in Brisbane, are another building block. People have already been at the conference together so they come to the workshop as a loose group, where they learn tools relevant to their research practice with others from the same discipline. Tie-in workshops help us build out into different academic communities both nationally and internationally, since many go home from our workshops as advocates for Software Carpentry.

Conference-goers can find kindred spirits via our meetups page, and busy Carpenters can stay in touch via our newsletter - you can subscribe here or read issues you might have missed. We also have a number of email lists, such as the discuss list, or regional lists such as Australia/New Zealand. Our blog and our Twitter feed provide other avenues to stay in touch, as does our slack channel. People can catch up with those conversations whenever it suits them.

For those who want to connect more directly, community calls and instructor discussions provide a way to talk in real time. Find those on our community calendar.

We also engage people directly via our lessons on GitHub. People raise all kinds of issues, and discussions can get quite lengthy. But it’s important for us to provide that forum: we’re Software Carpentry - we do what we do in the open.

There is also all the great outreach our mentoring volunteers do - running instructor discussion sessions to debrief instructors after workshops or to help new people prepare to teach for the first time. Teaching demo sessions are another way to build community - connecting the growing trainer group to new instructors coming through from instructor training, another key building block of outreach.

Sprints and hackathons like Data Carpentry’s bug bbq also draw people in, as did our 2015 instructor retreat.

And soon there will be CarpentryCon! Expect to see a blizzard of info about this 2018 event soon.

Dialogue & Discussion

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