Archive for April 2009
The slides for my talk at the National Research Council on empirical software engineering and how scientists actually use computers are now up on SlideShare. The colors in some of the embedded images were messed up during upload, but the result should still be readable.
The best way to design a course is to describe the things students will be able to do when it’s over; the best way to do that is to specify graduation exercises. Ours are listed in the Goals page on this blog. We would be grateful for feedback: are these the things you want to be able to do? What did we forget? What could we take out to make room for things you care about more? Please leave your comments on the page itself; we’ll update it regularly based on what you say.
I received an interesting email yesterday from a grad student who took this course the last time it was offered at the University of Toronto. It said in part:
My supervisor could better advise students doing computational work if they had more background knowledge. They are routinely faced with questions like:
- Is a project possible, given the background of the student and the difficulty of the tasks?
- How long should a project take, and what can be considered good progress?
- What training should a student have?
- How to manage collaboration between students, data archives, etc?
- How to make sense of and build upon work done by previous students?
On a more personal note—I would enjoy my supervisor having a clearer idea of what I do.
It’s an interesting list, and quite different from a grad student’s. What else do you think people directing computational research, rather than doing it themselves, need to know?
We have started a FAQ for the July 2009 offerings of the course in Edmonton and Toronto. Please let us know if you have any questions that it doesn’t answer yet.
I’m very pleased to announce that thanks to generous support from Cybera, Software Carpentry will be offered at the University of Alberta in Edmonton this summer. The course will be co-taught with the offering at the University of Toronto from July 13 to 31. For more information, or to enrol, please contact Professor Paul Lu.
Cameron Neylon has another good post up, this one on open data, open source, and open process. Like many advocates of open science, he feels he has to choose between using open source software on one hand, and getting more science done on the other. I sympathize, especially since my colleagues and I have to choose what to use and not use in the July 2009 run of the Software Carpentry course.