A summary report on the 2013 Seattle bootcamp

Julia Gustavsen and I just finished teaching one room of a 3-room Software Carpentry boot camp at University of Washington, Seattle.

The good

Students remained interested and vocal, even when looking exhausted.

Almost all came back the second day!

We got some good individual feedback that we'd taught useful things.

We switched up the bootcamp to teach Python for the first day, starting with IPython Notebook. This seemed to work OK. (Look here for the intro lesson, and here for the basic schedule.)

The bad

Drunk with power, I monopolized the entire first day (ok, really it was because I was leaving at noon on the second day and wanted to do my fair share). This meant that the students were heartily sick of me and my bad jokes by the end. I think whipsawing students between two instructors (voice, style, gender, topics) makes things more lively for the students judging by my memory of the Scripps workshop.

But Julia was nice about it.

The usual

The installation challenges of today's software are still too large for about 10-15% of any given novice audience. Sigh.

Git? Hard to teach.


Greg Wilson and Bernhard Konrad were in one of the other rooms, and Matt Davis and Doug Latornell were in the third. Bill Howe of the e-Science institute was our overall host.

Good stuff! I should probably do this more, but don't tell Greg.


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