Preparing for Your First Workshop: A Recap of the First AU NZ Carpentries Community Call

Carpentries community members across the Tasman discussed tips and tricks for preparing for your first Carpentries workshop.
A person at a computer with another person giving them instructions

On 18 April, Liz Stokes (ARDC) and Nisha Ghatak (NeSI) hosted the first discussion in a series of online gatherings scheduled for Carpentries community members in Australia and New Zealand. 

The aim of the event was to bring together members of both communities across the Tasman to discuss tips and tricks on “Preparing for your first workshop – putting training into practice”. The discussion was spearheaded by two guest speakers, Dr Murray Cadzow (University of Otago) and Dr Valentina Hurtado-McCormick (CSIRO). 

Preparing - list of tips on preapring for a Carpentries workshop. 
Make a teaching account
who are your learners - pre workshop survey
run through installation instructions
learning objective and key points
Instructors notes/view
Run through all the code yourself
Transition points
Identify 'crunch points'  there is never enough time for everything!
Send an email with all links for workshop
Dr Murray Cadzow’s desk set-up and key points for preparing to teach

Dr Cadzow’s presentation focused on new instructors getting to know and consider the practicalities of their workshop and he spoke about the importance of knowing how their teaching team’s strengths in determining the roles and distribution of responsibilities while co-teaching a workshop. He pointed to how useful the Carpentries Handbook can be for templates and checklists for running and hosting workshops. 

Valentina's reasons for joining The Carpentries community:
- not knowing how to deal with genomics data brought me to The Carpentries - including the reason, place, method, hook, key. Valentina's experience evolved from helper to certified instructor to LPGC co-chair to maintainer.
Factors that converged to Dr Valentina Hurtado-McCormick joining the Carpentries community

Dr Hurtado-McCormick spoke about her own experience as a recent doctoral graduate who benefited from the Carpentries training. She expanded on her research in genomics and the role Carpentries played in equipping her with the coding skills she needed when it became apparent that a spreadsheet program was not powerful enough to handle her analyses. Having joined the Carpentries community in Australia as a doctoral student, Dr Hurtado-McCormick has gone on to become a Maintainer and a Co-chair for the Lesson Program Governance Committees (LPGC). The presentations brought to light the blockers faced by newly minted instructors in both communities and attendees took some time to bounce ideas off each other in breakout sessions. 

Moving Forward

Thank you to everyone who joined us on this call! We appreciated the ideas that were shared, the challenges addressed and the solutions put forth. Please feel free to check the notes from this session. Find upcoming Carpentries workshops in your local area, or within an agreeable timezone.

Our next AU NZ Carpentries Community Call is scheduled for Thursday, 18 May 2pm NZDT, 10am Perth, 12pm Sydney, 2am UTC (see in your timezone) Vini Salazar, University of Melbourne and Community Lead for Carpentries Maintainers will be talking about what it’s like to be a lesson maintainer, what’s involved, and how to join the community. Register now >