Training taster sessions at the British Science Festival

Posted by a.pawlik on 16 September 2015 - 1:11am

By Aleksandra Pawlik, Training Lead.

Last week the Institute ran workshops on Data Visualisation and Manipulation at the British Science Festival. The workshops were based on Software and Data Carpentry, providing an introduction to the computational lab skills and tools essential for modern research.

The Data Visualisation session focused on using Jupyter Notebook and Python together with two of its very popular scientific libraries: NumPy and matplotlib for analysing and plotting data. The training materials were from the Software Carpentry Python Novice materials. The afternoon session covered structured data manipulation using SQL. For this session we used the Data Carpentry materials Structured data - SQL for ecology. All of these materials are available for reuse under the CC-BY licence.

The sessions were held as a part of the British Science Festival which this year was hosted at the University of Bradford. Thanks to the organisers, the sessions were run in a top-notch computer laboratory (although the lack of a projector caused some problems for this kind of hands-on workshop).

I ran the training on the first day, whilst the day two sessions were run by two Software Carpentry volunteers: Anthony Harrison and Dave Jones. Anthony has already completed Software Carpentry Instructor Training. Dave is planning to do so as soon as possible. Both of them were looking for an opportunity to practice teaching in the Carpentry model (hands-on, live coding). Whilst Anthony was teaching Data Visualisation, he was interrupted by the smoke alarm! The interruption was unfortunate because we were only allowed back into the building after his session was scheduled to end. Fortunately, Dave's afternoon session on SQL remained uninterrupted. The event was very successful with many participants keen to learn more and asking information about upcoming workshops.

These taster sessions are a good opportunity for new Software and Data Carpentry instructors to gain experience, and provide the perfect opportunity to tell new audiences about the importance of software and data techniques.

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