A Success Story from KAUST

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.

Our ACM student chapter at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is active in supporting the diverse research community at our university. We decided to offer Python tutorials to our community by the end of 2013. Due to no information on the background and interests of KAUST community, we crafted a short survey to help us in tailoring our tutorials. The following image shows the summary of the responses we got:

KAUST Survey Results

We focused on two areas in the survey; Programming level and applications interest. We prepared a week-long workshop during February 23-27, offering seven sessions on Python tutorials. The workshop was greatly accepted by university community; we had full registration in few hours and we had 40-50 registration in each session.

It is worth mentioning that the timing of the tutorials was carefully selected to maximize the graduate students registration. Classes start early February, where the students usually attend extra classes in the first two weeks to decide which courses to keep or drop. If we offered our tutorials after February, we would had less attendance because classes mid-terms and projects pressure starts till the end of the semester. These facts motivated us to select the last week of February to offer our tutorials, where the students are least busy and available on campus.

We believe that making the tutorial hands-on was an important choice. The attendants were specialized in different fields: Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, etc. They had different programming background. This made it difficult to find a suitable pace in these tutorials.

The responses we received in our feedback survey after the tutorials were generally satisfactory. If you would like to know more, please check out our tutorial webpage.

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