The good news was that the [Rural Campuses Connection Project II[(https://tenet-rccpii.github.io/rccpii-2018/) (RCCPII) and the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) had been supporting Carpentries workshops in South Africa for a few years already. These two projects gave the go-ahead to fund CarpentryConnect Johannesburg 2018 as long as the respective project aims were reached through the event.
We invited Deputy Vice Chancellors (DVCs) and in some cases Library Directors from the 26 public universities in South Africa to nominate a limited number of staff and/or students to participate in the event with the aim of bringing the training and resources back to the home institutions. Institutions were also asked to fund travel costs (fuel/car rental/flight ticket only) for nominees to travel to Johannesburg. Some universities wanted to send more people than what could be covered by the funding and in those cases they were willing to fund travel and accommodation costs.
The aim was to create awareness of The Carpentries training model, resources and community amongst more senior academics, librarians, and IT staff with the hope that they would take advantage of the open resources that are available through the initiative. The Carpentries develop lessons to teach computational and digital skills as well as teaching skills. These lessons as well as the lesson infrastructure are all published under open licenses and are available for reuse, remix, and more - for free!
The five-day event kicked off with three Carpentry workshops running in parallel: Software Carpentry with Shell, R, and git/Github; Data Carpentry for Social Sciences with Spreadsheets, OpenRefine, and Python; and Library Carpentry. The workshops ran over two and a half days. After lunch on day three we offered three parallel sessions:
The event concluded with a two-day Carpentry Instructor training workshop taught by Drs Allegra Via (Italy), Caroline F Ajiloga (South Africa/Nigeria) and Anelda van der Walt (South Africa) with Dr Sarah Brown as helper.
In general, feedback throughout CarpentryConnect JHB, and afterwards, was very positive. The five-day event had a total of 108 (47% female) participants including 85 learners and 23 instructors and helpers. 24 out of the 26 public universities in South Africa were represented as well as a representative from the South African National Libraries and two private companies. 39 trainees also participated in the in-person instructor training. The audience was a wonderful mix of academics, librarians, IT staff, and research office personnel.
Software Carpentry Data Carpentry Instructor Training Train-the-Trainer