We started running an online training course for Software Carpentry instructors last fall. It's been going pretty well:

  • 72 people signed up for the four rounds we ran between September 2012 and March 2013; 41 of them completed.
  • 39 enrolled in the fifth round that started in May 2013; we expect one third to complete it over the next couple of weeks.
  • 23 enrolled in the sixth round that started this month.

An average completion rate of 40% is pretty low compared to most university courses, but it compares favorably with the 5-10% completion rates of most MOOCs, and 9 of the 29 who dropped out of the first four rounds re-enrolled in a later round. Almost everyone who tells us why they dropped out blames real life getting in the way, but there's undoubtedly sampling bias in that: some people just disappear and stop responding to email.

The curriculum is now pretty stable (though we'll continue to tweak it based on feedback from learners and lab meetings), and feedback from people who've gone through it has mostly been positive. If you'd like to take part in a future round, please get in touch.

This post originally appeared in the Software Carpentry blog.