Encouraging Digital Literacy in research
*UPDATED: PLEASE SEE BELOW TO REGISTER*
The Digital Institute will host the second Software Carpentry bootcamp at Newcastle University, on 22nd to 23rd October 2012, to improve researchers’ skills in computing and designing software.
The workshop will allow researchers to refine their programming techniques and develop subject-specific systems, to carry out tasks such as data analysis and storage, and to potentially enhance the quality of research.
More workshops will continue to be delivered on campus at Newcastle University, after the first in May generated an encouraging response from attendees, from both Newcastle and other UK research institutions.
Frances Hawkes, a postgraduate researcher at the Natural Resources Institute in Greenwich, shared what she had learned from the previous workshop and how she had applied it to her work:
“I was hugely relieved to find this type of workshop available, especially as it was aimed at researchers. The facilitators were very patient, supportive and generous with their knowledge in helping me and to my surprise; I kept up and was actually able to help one of the other attendees with a bit of Python I knew! By covering a handful of key concepts alongside practical sessions, I was able to see the bigger picture of software development, and have a go at things that could be useful in my own projects.
Version control and testing were a particular revelation. Each of the sessions demystified an area of coding/development and I’ve come away with a better understanding of the resources available to me as a scientist and an appreciation of how to work alongside professional coders. Learning more key lingo from the follow-up tutorials has opened up things like HTML that I had honestly never even thought about using before. I’m no longer quite as daunted when I look at documentation or a new language and I feel I’ve built the confidence to explore coding more on my own.
And I have! I’m using Python extensively in data analysis, writing scripts to do things that I’d wanted to, but wasn’t sure how to, and had a go at making a website. Since the bootcamp, I even attended a hackday for the UK Field Studies Council, in which three friends and I developed an app for the FSC - we’re now helping to develop the software with some other hackers from the event so that the FSC can launch a free educational software tool for field work.”
Dr Stephen McGough, Research Manager for the Digital Institute, was part of the team for bringing Software Carpentry to Newcastle University as part of a drive for digital literacy in the research spectrum. Stephen commented:
“According to recent feedback from research-intensive institutes like Newcastle, there is a growing dependence on digital technologies across the domain. According to feedback, many researchers now spend over 40% of their week trying to solve software coding problems. However, the vast majority of these people have no formal training in computing or how to program.”
The widely acclaimed bootcamps have been delivered globally from the USA to Europe, and most recently at University College London. Newcastle University was the second UK institution to host the workshop in May - and the first taught by UK staff - which has already attracted interest from other universities in need of researchers with software development skills.
To apply, please click on the link below:
Software Carpentry 22nd - 23rd October 2012
The next workshop will be held at Newcastle University on 22nd - 23rd October, 2012. Please apply before 5pm, 5th October, 2012. Due to high demand for these workshops, a shortlisting process will then take place, therefore we cannot guarantee your place until this has been completed. If you have any queries, please contact email@example.com.
Additionally, the Digital Institute is also keen to hear from other institutions that may want to host Software Carpentry bootcamps and are looking for advice on facilitation and content delivery. For further details please contact Dr Stephen McGough, Research Manager .