Open Instructor Training
(Originally posted on the Data Carpentry blog.)
After workshops and conferences, we frequently get questions from people who are interested in teaching with the Carpentries. We’re overjoyed by this interest and excited to bring more committed and enthusiastic instructors into our community. Unfortunately, until recently, we haven’t had the resources to open up our instructor training program, and have been holding training events primarily with Partnering institutions.
In response to this sustained community interest, Data and Software Carpentry re-opened applications in July for anyone interested in instructor training, regardless of affiliation. This two-day intensive training covers aspects of pedagogy critical for teaching our target audience, including creating useful formative assessments, motivating learners, dealing with cognitive load, and understanding how subject-matter expertise is developed. We also teach signature Carpentry instructional practices, including live coding and the use of sticky notes to track learner progress.
Within three weeks of calling for applicants we received 169 applications for 60 available seats. Applications came in from 22 countries spread across all continents except Antarctica. The Carpentry team reviewed applications on the basis of applicant’s previous involvement with the Carpentries, previous teaching experience and/or formal pedagogical training, and commitment to teaching workshops. In addition to these criteria, we looked for applicants from locations outside of our already established communities or with training in domains that are underrepresented among our current instructor pool, such as the social sciences and digital humanities.
We were able to make offers to applicants from 13 countries representing the full geographical breadth of those who applied. Two training sessions have now been held, a third is taking place this week, and the fourth is scheduled for the second week of December. The feedback from the first two sessions has been very positive: we have had to adapt some of our exercises to account for the fact that the trainees are participating online rather than being physically co-located, but other than a few web conferencing glitches, things have gone surprisingly smoothly.
If you were not selected for this round of instructor training, don’t lose heart: we have kept everyone’s application in queue, and hope to revisit our offerings in the new year. If you also have colleagues who are interested in teaching for the Carpentries, consider asking your institution to Partner with us! Partnering institutions receive multiple benefits, including reserved seats in instructor training events and discounted workshops.
We are very grateful to everyone who applied, and hope that you will continue to be involved in the community. We welcome contributions to our lessons, which are all developed collaboratively by our community, and encourage you to help at our host a Carpentry workshop at your institution.