North-West University

Oct 9-11, 2017

9 Oct from 13:00 - 16:00, 10 & 11 Oct from 8:30 - 16:45

Instructors: Tim Dennis, Juan Steyn, Anelda van der Walt

Helpers: TBC

General Information

Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry's mission is to help scientists and engineers get more research done in less time and with less pain by teaching them basic lab skills for scientific computing. This hands-on two-day workshop covers the basics of educational psychology and instructional design, and looks at how to use these ideas in both intensive workshops and regular classes.

The workshop is a mix of lectures and hands-on lessons where you practice giving a short lesson using approaches learned and implement some of the teaching techniques which we will discuss. This is training for teaching, not technical training; you do not need any particular technical background, and we will not be teaching that. This workshop is based on the constantly revised and updated curriculum.

Who: The course is aimed at everyone who is interested in becoming a better teacher. In particular, this training is aimed at those who want to become Software and Data Carpentry instructors, run workshops and contribute to the Carpentry training materials. You don't currently have to be an instructor or a teacher to attend this workshop, but you do need to be willing and committed to becoming one and to improving your teaching techniques.

The training is open to participants from South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. A total of 30 places is available. Due to funding requirements 10 places are available for participants from other African countries.

Application and Selection: Applicants should complete the form available at Applications will close on 31 August and successful applicants will be notified no later than 6 September to allow enough time for travel and visa arrangements where required. A selection committee will evaluate the applications.

Where: Room 214, Building F13, Potchefstroom Campus NWU, 11 Hoffman Street, Potchefstroom. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

Requirements: Participants should bring a laptop that is Internet connected and has a functioning browser. If you have it, a device for recording audio and video (mobile phones and laptops are OK) is useful as throughout the two days, we are going to record one another teaching in pairs or threes. It does not have to be high-quality, but it should be good enough that you can understand what someone is saying.

Please note that after this course is over, you will be asked to do three short follow-up exercises online in order to finish qualifying as an instructor: the details are available at If you have any questions about the workshop, the reading material, or anything else, please get in touch.

All participants are required to abide by Software Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Accessibility: We are committed to making this workshop accessible to everybody. The workshop organisers have checked that:

Materials will be provided in advance of the workshop and large-print handouts are available if needed by notifying the organizers in advance. If we can help making learning easier for you (e.g. sign-language interpreters, lactation facilities) please get in touch and we will attempt to provide them.

Contact: Please mail for more information.


Please read the following before the workshop begins:

  1. Success in Introductory Programming: What Works?
  2. The Science of Learning

Please also read through one of the episodes below carefully, so that you can do some exercises based on it on the first day of the class.


Please see this site for course material.

Day 1 - Monday 9 October

Day 1 13:00 - 14:00 Lunch at the venue
14:00 - 14:30 Welcome and Introduction
14:30 - 15:35 How Learning Works: The Importance of Practice
15:35 - 16:00 Wrap up and finish
16:00 - 20:00 Depart for Kopjeskraal for networking event

Day 2 - Tuesday 10 October

Day 2 08:30 - 8:40 Welcome back
08:40 - 9:30 How Learning Works: Expertise and Instruction
9:30 - 10:20 How Learning Works: Working Memory and Cognitive Load
10:20 - 10:50 Coffee break
10:50 - 11:10 Building Teaching Skill: Getting Feedback
11:10 - 12:15 Creating a Positive Learning Environment: Motivation and Demotivation
12:15 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 13:40 Creating a Positive Learning Environment: Mindset
13:40 - 14:50 Building Teaching Skill: The Importance of Practice
14:50 - 15:15 Coffee break
15:15 - 16:15 Building Teaching Skill: Lesson Study
16:15 - 16:45 Wrap-Up and Homework for Tomorrow

Day 3 - Wednesday 11 October

Day 3 08:30 - 8:45 Welcome back
8:45 - 9:55 Building Teaching Skill: Live Coding
9:55 - 10:30 Building Teaching Skill: Performance Revised
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:00 The Carpentries: Workshop Introductions
12:00 - 13:00 The Carpentries: How We Operate
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 - 14:40 The Carpentries: Teaching Practices
14:40 - 15:20 Checkout process and Q&A
15:20 - 15:50 Coffee break
15:50 - 16:45 Planning workshops for 2018 and wrap up

We will use this Etherpad for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.