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The Carpentries training workshop 2024
20 June, 2024

Empowering HASS research through The Carpentries training

AARNet and ARDC recently collaborated to host a global Carpentries Instructor Training workshop to provide HASS researchers with essential coding and data science skills, further enhancing the LDaCA project.

In a continued effort to improve research capabilities across the country, AARNet is working with the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) to support the Australian Carpentries partnership. Recently, AARNet’s Training and Engagement Lead, Dr Sara King, hosted an engaging Carpentries Instructor Training online workshop alongside ARDC Research Data Specialist, Matthias Liffers and Brac University Senior Lecturer Annajiat Rasel in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Carpentries, an international organisation dedicated to teaching foundational coding and data science skills to researchers worldwide, held a workshop in May that attracted participants from across Australia, USA, Canada and Kenya. The Australian participants came from Curtin University, The University of Technology Sydney (UTS), The University of Western Australia (UWA), and the Language Data Commons of Australia (LDaCA) project.

The ARDC-supported LDaCA project launched in 2021 with AARNet as a key technical partner and steering committee member. This Humanities and Social Sciences-focused initiative aims to create a national repository and workspace to preserve and analyse language collections, unlocking the socio-economic potential of Australia's linguistic heritage.

Otis Carmichael, proud Waanyi man and LDaCA Project Officer, attended the Instructor Training workshop thanks to the support of AARNet and ARDC. Reflecting on his experience, Otis said, “Going into this Carpentries Instructor Training workshop, I felt a bit out of my depth, thinking I hadn’t yet mastered the concepts I would be teaching. However, the enthusiastic trainers immediately put me at ease. The workshop’s approach of embracing learning through trial and error inspired me to apply this ethos to my own teaching. This training is important for me to effectively teach and communicate information with the diverse audiences within the LDaCA project.”

Simon Musgrave, LDaCA Training and Communications lead, regularly conducts workshops for HASS researchers interested in computational methods. He emphasised the value of the Carpentries training, stating, "When Otis and I recently co-hosted a workshop, it was exciting to see him implement his newly acquired skills. Upskilling the capabilities of the LDaCA team is vital, and we are immensely grateful to AARNet and ARDC for their support.”

Matthias Liffers, a passionate Carpentries Trainer and Instructor, said, “The Carpentries’ method has revolutionised how I deliver training. Acknowledging the challenge of learning new things, celebrating the typo, and creating a safe and welcoming environment was like a light being switched on in my brain. Despite almost a decade of delivering training, I had never been formally trained on how to train!”

The Carpentries’ mission is to build global capacity in essential data and computational skills for conducting efficient, open, and reproducible research. By fostering an inclusive and diverse community of learners and instructors, they can assist researchers and research support professionals without technical or computational backgrounds. This ensures that everyone can leverage digital research infrastructure investments like the LDaCA project.