Running an Online Data Carpentry Workshop in Iran

This post covers the instructor's experiences teaching an online Data Carpentry workshop in Iran

It was my aim for a long time since I started to learn basics of programming in Python in 2017. I was excited to teach whatever I learned to other people and extend it. I am an analytical biologist and I have a lot of colleagues who were searching for someone speaking Persian to learn programming skills from.

I think learning in a maternal language is crucial to make the lessons more efficient. Teaching Data Carpentry could help them to make their own way in their research projects and improve the quality of their studies. I planned this workshop two months after I got my certificate as an instructor of The Carpentries. Because of COVID-19, the workshop in Iran was to be online too. Good for me! I participated in several online workshops around the world such as in the US and South Africa to learn and have experiences in teaching in online workshops and become an experienced instructor.

The “Data Carpentry – Genomics” workshop was planned to run in September 2020. I asked an analytical biologist who was an expert in R programming (Parastoo Modarres) and a computer specialist who could help people to install the required components for the workshop (Alireza Heidari) to help me in teaching this workshop. Most of the participants in this workshop were biologists with almost no previous experience in programming. So, I prepared training videos for “Programming and Plotting with Python” and “Introduction to Command Line” and let the people watch the videos and have time to solve problems in exercises before the workshop and get ready for it.

I wanted them to get the most from the workshop. We ran one full day workshop on 09-07-2020 and we covered the “Data Wrangling and Processing” lesson. We had challenges with internet connections and installing software.

However, supporting helpers did their bests to help all the people to keep up with us during the workshop. It was great to hear good feedback from participants and I was happy, though I know that I should set up more details to have fewer challenges.

There are people who are asking me “When will be the next “DC-Genomics (Python)” workshop?” It is extremely exciting for me. I am planning to run another DC workshop in Python in the coming months and am also planning a “DC” workshop in R, Software Carpentry and Library Carpentry workshops in different universities of Iran. I am also looking forward to run the first DC workshop in Turkey in collaboration with my friends. Thanks to the support team of The Carpentries for all their support and help all the time and for all details.

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