Developing Support for Instructors in 2023

Read about our plans to improve Instructor onboarding and make it easier to teach our curricula.

In this post, we outline some of the activities the Core Team has planned to make the lives of Instructors easier in 2023.

Developing Instructor onboarding materials

The Workshop Administration Team is working with the Instructor Training Team and the Community Development Team to develop a general Instructor Onboarding. These onboarding events are intended to help prepare Instructors to teach their first workshops. During Instructor Training there is a plethora of information being shared and after certification the Instructors may still have questions directly related to workshop logistics. Updates to the development and launch of the Instructor Onboarding will become available as progress is made.

In addition to the general training and onboarding provided to Instructors, curriculum-specific onboarding content already exists for several Data Carpentry curricula, available as videos on The Carpentries YouTube channel. Curriculum onboarding is intended to provide Instructors with an overview of the lesson(s) to be taught at a workshop, and provide guidance about the required knowledge, skills, and technical setup required to teach the curriculum.

In collaboration with Curriculum Advisors and Instructors, the Curriculum Team will be developing new onboarding content for the remaining Data Carpentry, Library Carpentry, and Software Carpentry curricula in 2023. Another outcome of this project will be a collection of templates and guidance for community members wishing to create similar onboarding content for their own lessons e.g. their projects in The Carpentries Incubator.

The Carpentries Workbench

As you may have read in other posts to this blog, an all-new lesson infrastructure, The Carpentries Workbench will be rolled out across all Data Carpentry, Library Carpentry, and Software Carpentry lessons in May 2023. The Workbench will introduce a new look and feel to all of our lesson websites: a change that will be apparent to all Instructors.

One big improvement that the Workbench will provide to Instructors is the addition of an Instructor View of the lesson. In this mode, Instructors will be presented with information hidden in the default Learner View, such as estimated timings for episodes and inline Instructor Notes.

The Instructor View can be toggled from a dropdown menu at the top of any page of a lesson

Providing guidance and advice for Instructors teaching the lesson, these Instructor Notes were previously located in a single page listed under “Extras”. The Workbench allows the Instructor Notes to be placed where they will be most relevant and useful in the lesson, presenting them to the Instructor while they are teaching.

The Workbench is currently being beta tested on four lesson sites. If you are planning to teach any of these lessons in the next few weeks, please try out the Workbench version of the site and give feedback on what worked and what could be improved.

Lesson sites with the new layout:

Instructor Notes Drive

As mentioned above, Instructor Notes are annotations to lessons aimed at making it easier for Instructors to benefit from the previous experience of others. They provide guidance and advice to Instructor teaching a lesson, and can be be added by anyone with experience to share.

Planned for May 2023, the Instructor Notes Drive will be a concerted effort to expand, update, and improve Instructor Notes for all of The Carpentries official lessons. This event will benefit from engagement from members across the whole community - if you have taught a lesson, and/or if you want to learn how to contribute to a lesson, we want you to get involved!

This will be a coordinated, collaborative effort: discussion sessions and skill-ups will be provided to help community members learn where and how to contribute, and co-working sessions will be scheduled for Instructors to gather and improve the Instructor Notes together.

The drive will take place after The Carpentries Workbench has been rolled out across all of our lessons, allowing us to take advantage of the new inline Instructor Notes feature it introduces to lesson websites. One of the main goals of the Drive will be to relocate existing Instructor Notes to the place where they are most relevant within the lesson.

Instructor monthly meetings

The Workshop Administration Team has begun hosting monthly Instructor Meetings, every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 3pm UTC and 9pm UTC. These meetings will be for Certified Instructors to get to know and support each other, share and receive updates and tips, and for us to receive feedback from all of you!

Instructors are encouraged to sign up on the etherpad and obtain the meeting information. Feel free to contact the Workshop Administration Team with any questions or concerns.


The Carpentries is grateful to The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, for providing a grant to support much of the work described above.

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