Verified Commit 23be802f authored by Erxleben, Fredo (FWCC) - 136987's avatar Erxleben, Fredo (FWCC) - 136987 Committed by Hueser, Christian (FWCC) - 138593
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......@@ -27,8 +27,8 @@ excerpt:
Our first own Software Carpenty workshop was supposed to be a live event.
We intended to take it easy, learn a few lessons and then build upon these.
With these goals in mind we set out to plan an two-day workshop for the 31.
March and 1. April 2020.
With these goals in mind we set out to plan an two-day workshop for the
31st of March and the 1st of April 2020.
In the beginning of March it became clear that the effects of the Covid-19
pandemic would reach us long before this date.
It was unanimously decided to switch the workshop to an online event instead of
......@@ -46,8 +46,8 @@ list and to be worked off in follow-up workshops.
The side effect was that we got a first glimpse of the huge demand for training
opportunities by our scientific staff.
Our initial plan was to split the first workshop day equally between the _shell_
and _git_ lessons and use the complete second day for _python_.
Our initial plan was to split the first workshop day equally between the _Bash_
and _Git_ lessons and use the complete second day for _Python_.
We did however estimate that we might have to cut later episodes from these
lessons, depending on the learners' speed.
......@@ -95,12 +95,18 @@ to an online workshop.
Notably, video-conferencing tools tend to determine one person as _host_ who has
the full management rights for the event.
To reduce the instructors' workload, a seperate person fulfils the role of the
_host_.
Hosts can prepare breakout rooms, organize quick polls, help with time tracking
and manage the shared documents, depending on the chosen tools.
As such the host is less focused on the participants but on the instructor and
helpers, taking note of the lesson progress and anticipating required organizing
actions.
_host_ who can overtake these tasks during the session:
* Prepare and open breakout rooms
* Monitor the chat (together with the helpers)
* Keep an eye on the time
* Observe the participants reactions
* Organize quick polls for feedback or exercises
* Manage shared document and insert exercise questions on demand
In general the host is less focused on the participants but on the instructor
and helpers, taking note of the lesson progress and anticipating required
organizing actions.
## Helper
Helpers are the backbone of a successful workshop.
......@@ -110,18 +116,13 @@ Questions may either be answered by helpers directly or be forwarded to the
instructor in an opportune moment if they are of more general concern.
## The Workshop Team
We split our workshop into the three parts _shell_, _git_ and _python_ between
We split our workshop into the three parts _Bash_, _Git_ and _Python_ between
our three instructors.
The two instructors who were not actively teaching, assumed the roles of host
and helper respectively.
We further expanded our team by two full-time helpers which allowed us to
respond to questions without delay.
Two more complex issues could be solved by the host assigning the participant in
question to a breakout room together with a helper.
This way the lessons could progress for the unaffected participants and the
breakout room was joined back once the issues were resolved.
# The Tools
The choice of tools significantly affects the organizational effort and workshop
......@@ -130,7 +131,8 @@ In the following our selected tools will be shortly introduced.
## Indico
We employed _Indico_ as the event planning and registration tool.
We employed [our self-hosted _Indico_ instance](https://hifis-events.hzdr.de)
as the event planning and registration tool.
It proved to be a good choice to facilitate the registration procedure and
allows to message selected (or all) event participants directly which proved
very useful when switching the workshops to the online version.
......@@ -139,16 +141,24 @@ One drawback was the limited capability to transfer registrations from one event
to another, which had to be done manually, since the provided _export_ and
_import_ features did not support a common data layout.
> [Official Indico Website](https://getindico.io/)
## GitLab
It appeared to be a good idea to extend the _git_-lesson and also give a quick
It appeared to be a good idea to extend the _Git_-lesson and also give a quick
look at _GitLab_ as a web-based application for the knowledge acquired in the
workshop and a good collaborative tool.
As most of our participants were members of the HZDR and we also had the
sufficient administrative rights to allow access for all other participants, we
chose to use the institute-local _GitLab_ [instance](https://gitlab.hzdr.de) for this purpose.
chose to use the [institute-local _GitLab_ instance](https://gitlab.hzdr.de)
for this purpose.
In future workshops with participants from other institutions we might switch to
_gitlab.com_ for this purpose.
[_gitlab.com_](https://www.gitlab.com) for this exercise.
It is worth mentioning that people who signed in via a third-party provider need
to use an access-token when cloning via _https_.
This can also be the case on _gitlab.com_ and forces to organizers to plan some
time to get this set up for all affected participants.
## HackMD
......@@ -166,6 +176,8 @@ Some exercises required the solutions to be put into code blocks or tables which
were either copied and pasted from prepared examples or formatted by the
helpers.
> [Official HackMD Website](https://hackmd.io)
## Zoom
The choice for a video-conferencing tool was probably the most important
......@@ -186,7 +198,7 @@ privacy-friendly way.
## IPython
For teaching the basics of _python_ we went with _IPython_.
For teaching the basics of _Python_ we went with _IPython_.
It offers syntax highlighting to aid the learner.
Since it is an interpreter, the participants get instant feedback if the entered
line is valid python.
......@@ -210,6 +222,12 @@ We enjoyed a mostly stable connection with good quality and the participants
were very cooperative and disciplined, muting themselves if they did not wish to
speak.
To encourage users to use the shared document and signal that they are allowed
and expected to modify it, we included a warm-up exercise which asked the
participants to note down their attendance together with a short statement about
themselves.
"What is your favourite cake?" turned out to be a suitable icebreaker question.
As a consequence of the speed reduction and the spontaneous insertion of a git
collaboration exercise with _GitLab_ the _python_ lesson was postponed by a
quarter of a day to make room for the last part of the _git_ lesson.
......@@ -229,6 +247,22 @@ Particular issues, for example accomodating for the different line ending
encodings, that would arise were also covered by the Carpentries' lecture
materials and could thus quickly be solved.
### Handling More Challenging Problems
{: no_toc}
Two more complex issues could be solved by the host assigning the participant in
question to a breakout room together with a helper.
This way the lessons could progress for the unaffected participants and the
breakout room was joined back once the issues were resolved.
From the experiences made we would reserve such procedures only for the most
dire of problems since the involved learners lose the connection to the workshop
and may have trouble getting back on track.
It is preferrable to try helping in the shared online environment first, to
allow the other participants to either learn something new for themselves or
contribute on their own.
## Feedback, Reactions and Lessons Learned
The post-workshop survey determined that the participants viewed the event in a
......
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