These are chat archives for weaverbel/LibraryCarpentry

25th
Mar 2017
Belinda Weaver
@weaverbel
Mar 25 2017 00:06
Hey @jezcope @ostephens I was talking to @brendam about the python lesson this week and she said it was too ambitious and needs to be cut down by half. Maybe that is another good sprint project, along with fixing the SQL lesson and getting modules like @timtomch's web scraper lesson into the data-lessons repo. Shall we aim to have a video catch up soon to talk about the sprint and what we want to achieve (realistically)? MSL are announcing the call for projects on their blog next week so time's a tickin' and I won't be around much in May now I am swanking about North America ;-). It would be good to assign leads to each area of work, e.g. SQL, Python. Thoughts?
I am happy to create a zoom session which tends to work better than hangouts.
If people are on board for an online chat, I will create a whenisgood poll to find a good time.
Owen Stephens
@ostephens
Mar 25 2017 06:09
Definitely up for a call to discuss
James Baker
@drjwbaker
Mar 25 2017 07:29
I'm rubbish at Python, so happy to join the chat and be a guinea pig
Jez Cope
@jezcope
Mar 25 2017 07:49
@ostephens Thanks, it was a really fun couple of days! I'm so pleased with all the positive feedback we've had.
@weaverbel @ostephens @brendam @drjwbaker Just sitting here talking to my wife about what would be a realistic and valuable amount of Python to teach. Unlike me, she's a real librarian!
Jez Cope
@jezcope
Mar 25 2017 07:56
Beth explicitly set out to cover about half of the material in the Python lesson and still didn't get through all of that.
(Just realised that I might be creating confusion — my wife is Elly, who co-organised the workshop with me, Beth is my colleague who led the Python session)
@weaverbel Yes to a call — I have a little list of possible projects too inspired by things learned from instructor training with @mkuzak last week.
Brenda Moon
@brendam
Mar 25 2017 08:07
@c-martinez and @mkuzak have been thinking about how to improve the python lesson, getting their latest ideas would be a useful place to start. My feeling is that the focus has to change from teaching programming in a Software Carpentry style to introducing it as a tool - more like open refine, with some specific examples of things you can do & that the participants might be able to repurpose for their own data.
Jez Cope
@jezcope
Mar 25 2017 08:20
@brendam Yes! I think this is consistent with the role I see LC playing in inspiring people and demystifying the tools. Perhaps the focus should be on bridging the gap between where people are and where existing material starts, including SWC, DC and various other courses and self-led tutorials on the web.
Elly's suggestion with all the material has been to go back to where we think the beginning is, then take two steps further back, and then another one.
Librarians know they need these skills now, but don't have the right prior experience to get them to the point where most learning material even starts.
Brenda Moon
@brendam
Mar 25 2017 08:25
I was thinking pick a useful example for the target audience, show it at the start of the lesson and then spend rest of time building understanding of how it works. Maybe it’s scraping a website or reading in some data and doing something with it… whatever is a useful but simple example.
That’s what I meant by like a tool - the open refine lesson quickly shows that it is useful and usable and then goes into how to use it
Jez Cope
@jezcope
Mar 25 2017 08:28
She feels we need to start off the Python lesson by demystifying the job that a programming language does for us as a tool, and explaining some concepts like the role of different languages. For example, one thing that confused quite a lot of people was the concept of installing modules like pandas and matplotlib, because the role of modules isn't explained in the lesson.
Brenda Moon
@brendam
Mar 25 2017 08:28
I agree on where you have to start explaining - most of the audience for the two workshops I ran didn’t have any background knowledge of programming (except perhaps I belief it was hard)
Jez Cope
@jezcope
Mar 25 2017 08:31
Yes, that seems like a useful approach — a single script that does something useful but fits on one screen.
That is definitely the starting point — the only reasonable assumption that we can make about this audience is that they see programming as something that is too hard to figure out on their own. There will be some with a little bit of experience, but for the majority that will be true.
Jez Cope
@jezcope
Mar 25 2017 08:37
Ok, so maybe there's a need for two (or even three?) lessons, each with that structure but introducing a small number of new concepts (e.g. web scraping, RESTful APIs, plotting), but the first one has to be the one that makes programming itself an achievable goal.
Owen Stephens
@ostephens
Mar 25 2017 09:41
@jezcope the issue with 2-3 lessons is that it means you start to have prerequisites- see my comments above
Owen Stephens
@ostephens
Mar 25 2017 09:51
Would basing the lesson around Jupyter Notebooks provide a more ‘tool’ like approach?
Jez Cope
@jezcope
Mar 25 2017 10:03
Yes, I'd been having similar thoughts about Jupyter
Or maybe Spyder, which I'd only come across recently.