Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry instructor-training in Edinburgh

Author: Giacomo Peru
Posted: 18 May 2016 | 17:13

On the 4th and 5th May 2016, the Software Sustainability Institute hosted a joint Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry instructor-training course here in Edinburgh.

The workshop was led by Steve Crouch, the Institute’s Research Software Group Leader, and Aleksandra Pawlik, the Institute’s Training Leader. The event was attended by 15 participants from a number of UK research organisations, including one from a Spanish university. These newly trained instructors will soon join the impressive UK instructor pool of almost 70 certified Data Carpentry and Software Carpentry instructors.

The Instructor Training course is very interactive and involves several exercises that are done in small groups.

The workshop was hosted by EPCC in a very comfortable teaching suite with plenty of space for the breakout sessions. All participants engaged very well with the exercises, and were ready to challenge the training concepts and techniques presented to them. Several trainees asked for more detailed guidelines to be published with regards to contributing to the Software and Data Carpentry materials. An interesting discussion was had about individual teaching styles and the time it takes for individuals to learn what their own teaching style is.

The Instructor training focuses on educational psychology, showing how selected theories can be put into practice. This translates into offering a set of guidelines on how to teach effectively rather than conveying a fixed way of delivering the workshop materials. A significant emphasis is put on jugyō kenkyū (lesson study) in which small groups of trainees enact brief teaching sessions with each other and on getting feedback from others. This exercise is done with the aid of video recording.

The logistics of the workshop were looked after by myself, the Institute’s Project Officer. I also offered on-site assistance throughout the course. Steve Crouch ran the face-to-face Instructor training for the first time, after his experience leading the online training. With the increasing number of Software and Data Carpentry Partner organisations in the UK, we expect to see more Instructor Training events in 2017.