Software Carpentry: Distance Collaboration in Teaching

With the SWC model, instructors may be coming together from all over the world to teach a workshop. As a result, the ability to prepare and coordinate ahead of time via online means is vital to a workshop running smoothly. When I helped with the California workshop, all of the instructors were from MSU and we were able to prep our lessons and teaching tools in person ahead of time.

For the Chicago workshop, however, we had no way to coordinate an irl meeting for 7-8 instructors/helpers coming from all over the Midwest. Instead, we used a Google Hangout. I hadn’t used the Hangout feature much in the past, and I was pretty impressed with it. The Hangout does have a limitation on the number of people participating, so anything over 10 or so contributors will cause a problem. But, it was definitely sufficient for our needs. I would recommend that instructors use it in the future for at least one or two meetings before the workshop itself.

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