Carpentry Clippings, 24 October 2017


Highlights from the Software and Data Carpentry Community Calendar

Community News

Nominate for the Joint Board of the Merged Carpentries

We are seeking nominations from people who want to help direct the Carpentries post-merger, by serving on what will be a new structure - the Board of Directors of the Carpentries - when the merged organization officially begins on 1 January, 2018. The board will include both appointed and elected members in order to balance community engagement with needed expertise in leading a growing non-profit organization. This post has all the details of what the role entails, and who is eligible to nominate and vote.

Mentoring Groups Deadline Extended

Applications for round two of the mentoring groups closed this week, with 18 mentor and 28 mentee applications received. To help those who might have missed out, we are extending the deadline. To volunteer as either mentor or mentee, please fill out the relevant application form (mentor application | mentee application) by 1 November. We are particularly seeking mentors who live in the UK and Singapore.

Assessment Update

During the recent assessment community calls, Kari Jordan (Data Carpentry’s Deputy Director of Assessment) presented the results of the Carpentries Long-Term Feedback Survey. There was rich discussion about learner motivation and confidence, whether or not we should be asking skills-based questions on our surveys, and why we collect demographic data.

A focus group of community members has been reviewing Data Carpentry’s pilot skills-based survey. If you have taught a workshop recently and have feedback from learners about this survey, please submit an issue to the Carpentries assessment repo.

Merger Request for Comment Process - Reportback

Kate Hertweck, the chair of the Software Carpentry Steering Committee, has written a wrap up of the questions and comments received from the community regarding the upcoming Software and Data Carpentry merger through its Request for Comment (RFC) process. Five main themes emerged - compromise, scalability, financial obligations, community involvement and staff. While the official RFC process has closed, issues and questions can still be raised here, and people are welcome to contact Kate (see the post for details) about any concerns they might have.

Tracy at SACNAS 2017

Data Carpentry Director Tracy Teal spoke on Resources and Techniques for Training Students in Computational Skills at the National Diversity in STEM Conference, Salt Lake City, 19-21 October, 2017, organized by SACNAS (Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science).


Subcommittee Activity  

Lesson Maintainer Consultations

Maintainers play a vital role in our community by keeping our lessons working and up-to-date. They also play a role in helping new contributors learn about contribution logistics and community norms. To better understand the many roles Maintainers play in our community and to help facilitate those roles, Christina Koch and Erin Becker are talking individually with Maintainers for each of the Software and Data Carpentry lessons. If you have not yet had a chance to share your experiences, please schedule a meeting or share your thoughts here.


Trainer Applications

We received 39 applications for our new cohort of Trainers, including a number of applications from each of our target geographical regions (Africa, Latin America, and Australia/New Zealand). We are very excited about the level of enthusiasm we have seen from the community and are looking forward to onboarding the new group. Please stay tuned for upcoming announcements about new members of the Trainers team!

Mentoring Committee Adding Extra Discussion Sessions

The instructor discussion sessions have been filling up quickly lately! The Mentorship subcommittee has recently added extra sessions to help accommodate all of our new instructors, including sessions more friendly to time-zones outside the US, Canada and Europe. Sign up now to claim a seat!

What you may have missed on the blog and mailing lists

Nominate a Favorite Tool

We would like to hear from community members willing to help others by describing 'My Favorite Tool and Why I Love it'. This would help others decide whether to put in the time to master the tool. To make things easy for you, we have created a form with some prompts. Just a few short lines are all we need, and we will do the rest. Here is our first contribution from Paula Martinez. We will let you review the post before it goes out. Read more.

Mailing List Threads

Belinda Weaver posted wording for Maintainers, Instructors, and Trainers to re-use and adapt for job, grant or tenure applications to a number of lists, including maintainers. The wording describes each role within the Carpentries and the skills and competencies people gain through this kind of involvement. Comments are welcome by raising an issue here or via PRs on the individual wordings.

Laura Fortunato posted what she did to teach novices about reproducibility in just 30 minutes. This followed on from her earlier call for ideas.

Not sure what the mentoring program is all about? Read Kari Jordan’s recent post on how experienced instructors will help small groups develop confidence in teaching, lesson maintenance, and community building.

Kari has also recently posted about the concrete changes are people implementing in their computational research practices as a result of completing a Carpentries workshop. Read all about the findings of our long term assessment report.

Greg Wilson started a thread about the different kinds of exercises people use to teach programming, and would be grateful for feedback.

Belinda Weaver opened a thread about teaching R, and Leo Browning another one on swapping in the DC Python lesson to replace the Software Carpentry one. This has sparked a very lively discussion - still ongoing - about what are the core components for workshops, and a GitHub issue has been opened as well.



Free Content

Greg Wilson, currently at DataCamp, has advised that their courses are free for use in academic teaching. DataCamp are interested to hear about ways they could improve the experience for learners.

Future Directions for Library Carpentry

The Library Carpentry community discussed future directions in two recent calls. There is interest in merging with The Carpentries once Software and Data Carpentry’s own merger has taken place from January 2018. An interim Library Carpentry Steering Committee will shortly be elected to take discussions forward. The community will also receive a boost when a new two-year position, funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is filled. California Digital Library will administer this posting, and the incumbent will help wrangle workshops and lesson maintenance.


Papers & manuscripts from the community


Daniel S. Katz, Software in Research: Underappreciated and Underrewarded, 2017 eResearch Australasia conference, 20 October 2017.


Community Job Postings

Other places to connect
If you can't get enough Software and Data Carpentry, here are some other places to connect with our community. Have something you’d like to have included in our next newsletter? Please send items to
Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list