In 2016, Macquarie University delivered a Data Science and eResearch Platform Strategy. In response, the Library embarked on a series of initiatives including:
Our three goals were to:
We drew on The Carpentries by:
We developed our community of practice via:
For our face-to-face workshops we created two bespoke Data Skills modules based on the Library Carpentry lessons Introduction to Data and OpenRefine. We began by writing competencies and learning outcomes for our own context, then assessed The Carpentries lessons to choose suitable content and activities. We used a flipped classroom model, using pre- and post- workshop activities for the introduction of concepts and practice via self-directed learning, with face-to-face workshop time used for “live-coding” demonstration, activities, and learner-centred discussion.
We have delivered Library Data Skills modules to three groups of library staff who attended two 2-hour sessions each. A total of 52 staff members have attended the training between December 2017 and February 2019. Each time we repeat them, there is an opportunity for members of our community of practice to ‘step up’, with our goal being to take people on a journey from learners –> helpers –> instructors.
We have kept evaluation of the lessons simple, using the traditional Carpentries one up and one down. This ensured that staff would do the evaluation – it’s an easy way to get valuable feedback. This method of evaluation is appropriate for Library carpentry which is a community of practice for sharing knowledge, and is not the same as formal training. As instructors, we constantly assess the sessions and readjust accordingly. With 2/3 instructors/helpers in the room during each workshop, we are able to debrief afterwards and use our observations, paired with learner feedback, to improve future sessions. At all times we are mindful that it is a community of practice and there are no experts – we are all learning.
We believe staff are now more aware that processes that they have been doing for years, like data manipulation/using spreadsheets, are identified as data skills. Staff have developed new data skills as well. Moving forward, our aim is to avail ourselves of opportunities to work collaboratively with researchers using data and to use these skills to improve our own daily work.