Samantha Ahern: Steering Committee Nomination
How am I involved with the Carpentries?
I have been involved with Software Carpentry for four years. I participated in a Bootcamp back in 2013 and since then have been a helper for a number of Bootcamps and have taught in three in total - two in the last year.
I am a very newly qualified Instructor, literally completing the sign-off tasks in the last few weeks, but have been involved in Education and this type of learning in particular for a long time.
Who am I?
I am an Educator and Digital Social Scientist, passionate about accessibility - this was noted in the feedback for my HEA Fellowship application. My Fellowship portfolio can be viewed here.
I have produced software for my own research and taught others how to do so.
I am member of the Digital Education team at University College London focusing on learner/learning analytics but also work with Research IT Services on learning design and online learning creation.
Learning analytics refers to the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about the progress of learners and the contexts in which learning takes place.
I have been identifying potential data sources for a learner analytics project and identifying what the issues may be with the data re: matching across systems and some exploratory analysis of relationships between these sources and student success. I am also looking at how data can be used to review learning designs and /or their pedagogic intent.
Additionally, I am in the current cohort of the Mozilla Open Leaders Program, and am trying to build a community for the Digital Literacy Playground project, an Open Education Resource (OER) aimed at 16-24 year olds. The playground zone Data and the Academy will focus on research data management, sharing data and using open data. This overlaps with some of the learning focus in Data Carpentry. The Mozilla Open Leaders Program is a 12-week program where you develop skills in building a community around and leading open projects.
What can I offer?
A different perspective.
Although my academic background is computing (BSc Comp Sci, MSc Intelligent Systems) I am first and foremost an educator, I can bring a wealth of pedagogic knowledge and learning design expertise from across sectors to the committee. This has included teaching ICT at secondary schools for eight and a half years from Year 7 students to Year 13 A-Level. I was an IT Trainer for two years and was the Senior Information Security Officer - Awareness for one year. In addition to being a qualified teacher, PGCE Secondary ICT, I also hold PGDip ICT in Education. This would provide a learning/learner focus to decision making.
It is also important that our materials are accessible to all who may need to benefit from them: to paraphrase Maha Bali - We do not want to be giving apples to people with no teeth. I am able to advise on accessible design and testing of tools for the creation of learning materials.