Community Facilitators in The Carpentries are people who are empowered to advocate for others in the community and guide community members as they navigate The Carpentries global community. When we set out to start designing The Carpentries Community Facilitators program in Q2 2020, one of our main goals was to onboard our first cohort of community facilitators, focussing on Feedback Facilitation, before the close of 2020. We are very pleased to introduce the first ten Carpentries Feedback Facilitators in this blog post.
Over the next six months, as Feedback facilitators in The Carpentries, these ten community members will be able to:
- collect and organise community feedback shared publicly and informally in Carpentries spaces for ease of filtering, action and response in the community,
- periodically offer official recommendations and kickstart conversations on issues and items that Core Team should prioritise,
- maintain a public, community-wishlist board that collates community feedback on different initiatives and experiences in The Carpentries
- recommend topics for Carpentries Conversations and Themed Discussions to the Instructor Development and Communications facilitation team as appropriate
For this blog post, we asked each of them to share their experience in The Carpentries, and why they are keen to serve as Feedback facilitators so you can learn more about them. Here is what they said:
My involvement with The Carpentries dates back to 2014 when as a Post Doctoral Fellow in North West University (NWU) South Africa where I had my introductory participation at the Software Carpentry Learner Workshop. The workshop afforded me an awareness of my potential to support my research efforts with R and Python programming languages. My subsequent activities within The Carpentries community included participation at Software/Data Carpentry Trainer workshop in 2015 at NWU Pochestroom campus; serving as Helper/Attendee at the Library Carpentry workshop in 2015 at NWU Vaal Triangle campus and as an Instructor at Data Carpentry workshop in 2016 at NWU Mafikeng campus. My inspiration to be a Feedback Facilitator came from my love to serve in the community where my professional capabilities (as a Data Scientist) can be used to support the process of deepening outcomes from Carpentry workshops by extracting insights from community members’ feedback. I believe these insights will go a long way to improve on planning, strategy development and management activities of the Resource team and Administrators at The Carpentries. Community members also stand to gain additional knowledge from shared information, which they can further apply in their academic, research and/or community participation tasks. From the Feedback Facilitators onboarding session, the ability to explore and use various academic and social information/data platforms to extract, process and communicate community feedback input stood out as an optimal application of the mission of The Carpentries i.e., exploration of a data, software and library melt point platforms to promote and learn from shared information. I took away understanding the diverse nature of feedbacks i.e., from simple opinions about conversational themes to complex extraction from multi-thematic discussions. Also, the importance of feedback in a community to promote inclusiveness and understanding was another take away for me. As a Feedback Facilitator I am fascinated by the fact that one would be able to take note of other community members ideas and suggestions, energy and participation of community members in The Carpentries events and present them for formal consideration on their behalf. In addition, I am most intrigued about the opportunity this role will afford me to assess and process feedback data since I know that my output will serve to close any gap of information loop that may arise. I am excited to roll up our sleeves and get started on the tasks ahead!
As a Bioinformatics Research Fellow at Makerere University, I am fascinated about how technology and data science can improve health services particularly in the area of Cancer management and treatment. I remember back then in 2018 when I was more of a novice in the field, The Carpentries Resources were my one stop-center for learning all the coding skills I required given I was coming from a Biological background. It is a place I still look to, even now when developing our Lecturing materials. Given the experience and knowledge I have acquired to date, I wanted to now be more actively involved in either developing more helpful resources or improving currently available resources and content that could help someone in search of knowledge just as I was a few years back; which greatly inspired me to become part of this cohort of Feedback Facilitators. During our onboarding sessions, I was really fascinated by how much feedback is being given out on a daily basis, most of which is informal (that is, it is not direct feedback) and the power that such information if well-handled and given the necessary attention has in informing and transforming the efficiency and effectivity on our training programs. The whole experience was made a very pleasing one by our instructors who created that ambience of community-hood (place of belonging) given our diverse geographical locations while labouring to make everything as clear as possible. Over the next six months, I am really excited to hear the feedback community has to say regarding how we can improve on the way we conduct our training so as to achieve what the purpose with which they are put out for as well as improving on my feedback delivering skills. So, in brief; looking forward to helping the community as the community helps us with that tone of feedback.
My first hands-on experience of the Carpentries was at a Library Carpentry workshop in 2016, which coincided with a new data librarian role which had a greater focus on imparting data management skills to researchers. This inspired me to coordinate an enthusiastic team to co-host a wild social experiment (multi-disciplinary, cross institutional festival of digital skills and tools workshops) the following year across our city - Sydney, based on the highly successful University of Melbourne ResBaz. Carpentries workshops feature the backbone of our programming for these annual collaborations. Currently I am a Senior Research Data Skills Specialist at the Australian Research Data Commons, where my role is to support communities involved in research data management and data stewardship. I co-chair the Library Carpentry Advisory Group with Ariel Deardorff, and am a recently badged Library Carpentry Instructor and Trainer.
I was inspired to apply to be part of this cohort because my organisation supports a lot of communities of practice, and this program looks like I can bring back and share useful skills with my colleagues. During the onboarding process, I appreciated the opportunity to reflect on planning for feedback, and managing expectations for people giving feedback, as well as the receivers. I also enjoyed the CSCCE model for feedback which understands that feedback happens in an ecosystem. My understanding of community development is that it is similarly an evolving and continuous process, always in a state of becoming. I am excited to be joining a group of people with a shared interest in facilitating feedback between our local communities and the Carpentries Core Team. I’m looking forward to listening to different perspectives and working together on shared goals!
I began my journey in Software Carpentry by taking their training for Instructor certification and got certified in 2019. My observations during the training were the innovative approaches like breakout rooms, a friendly way of discussing the concepts and the trainers were always eager to answer almost all of our questions. I always actively followed carpentry tweets and was waiting to eagerly contribute to carpentry. When I saw the opportunity to apply for a feedback facilitator cohort, I was excited. I gave my best shot by specifying my experience and credentials and was happy to be shortlisted for this wonderful opportunity. The onboarding training was exciting and I observed that we were made very comfortable and slowly the onboarding sessions started to build up. The key takeaways for me were the information about types of feedback, optimal feedback and the concepts of internal and external workflows. My excitement for the next six months, is about the activities that take place in carpentries and how to scout for interesting feedback from the same so as to contribute towards the betterment of The Carpentries core values.
I have been serving as the Carpentries regional coordinator for the Nordic countries for approximately 1 year now. I also act as a local coordinator of Carpentries-related activities at the University of Oslo as a staff at the University of Oslo Library of Medicine and Science, Digital Scholarship Center. In addition, I am working for a project CodeRefinery (coderefiner.org), which provides training opportunities on learning best practice of FAIR software development and management and promoting. Having these roles gives me a unique opportunity to hear various feedback to the Carpentries from many different perspectives; learners, helpers, instructors, host, instructor-trainers, member sites, and even more. This is exactly the reason why I applied to this program. We learned theories of feedback and practical manners on scouting feedback during the onboarding. But on top of that, I really liked the definition of “community - a place where members feel a sense of belonging and a desire to work together towards shared goals”. The Carpentries is a global, huge, and warm community. I am happy to have the opportunity to contribute to making this community even more inclusive by catching valuable feedback and delivering it to the Carpentries.
Annajiat Alim Rasel
I am fascinated by the core values of The Carpentries: openness, empowering one another, valuing all contributions, always learning, inclusivity, putting people first, accessibility, collaboration, and diversity. Since learning about The Carpentries in 2017, I have observed these practices closely from different perspectives. I found the community welcoming, accommodating, research driven, and encouraging. The unlimited energy and the dedication that the community members demonstrated, made me learn more and more about The Carpentries. These inspired me to seek more avenues to learn and to contribute. I am excited to be a part of the learning journey with the community that spans seven continents including Antarctica. I learnt something new from every engagement with the community: the instructor certifications with scholarship, hosting and participating in the lively community discussions, CarpentryCon@Home, Instructor Development Committee (IDC), teaching and volunteer opportunities, contributing to hpc-carpentry and other lesson development, online teaching bonus module, providing feedback to posts on different platforms, etc.
I thank my instructors who had an infinite amount of patience to answer the questions and provided numerous feedback. I was fortunate to be a co-instructor where I received honest feedback from the participants and the colleagues on how to improve myself. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve as a part of The Carpentries Community Feedback Facilitators Program, excited to be a part of the initiative to improve the trainings and overall community experience, and in turn touching the lives of the people from all around the world! I hope to learn how to make my own feedback better through this experience as well.
Certified Carpentries Instructor. Interested in improving the Carpentries experience. Would like to learn more about Carpentries workflows. I am also interested in lesson development and improvement. During the onboarding, Theory of feedback was especially insightful, it was also nice to meet other people in the Carpentries community from different parts of the world.
I am a certified Carpentries instructor trainer. I have always appreciated how frequent The Carpenters solicits and acts on feedback, whether that be during a workshop with sticky notes, a post workshop survey, or a request for comment (RFC) on a policy change. This keeps The Carpentries a community lead organisation where everyone has a voice in governance. I really enjoyed learning about more formal ways to discuss feedback and working with the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement (CSCCE). I am excited to be a part of the initial cohort and help to develop the practices The Carpentries will use to act on feedback from the community.
I have been following the Carpentries since the start of my role as Training Impact coordinator in Bioinformatics training for a European project and for the University. I am personally interested in feedback at all levels as a way to continuously improve communication and best practices. I am glad of this opportunity to contribute to this community.
I joined The Carpentries with a desire to learn and pass on knowledge to the young researchers in East Africa, specifically in and around Makerere University, where I see some skills faps in relation to data in their research fields. I am so passionate about community events hosting but most importantly ensuring that quality and guided learning in research is ensured. This program will help me understand The Carpentries community more in-depth.
A big thank you to Preethy Nair for her active participation and feedback during the onboarding process, and to Kari Jordan, Lou Woodley and Camille Santistevan from the CSCCE for working with me (Serah Rono) to write the Feedback Facilitation module of the Carpentries Community Facilitators program and onboard this first cohort.
Look out for updates and invitations to collaborate from our Feedback Facilitators in the coming months. In the meantime, please reach out via email if you have any questions or ideas about the new Community Facilitators Program, or if you are keen to be involved in the six remainng modules of the program in the coming months.