Highlights from Carpentry Connect 2021: Bringing together New Zealand's digital skills community

Carpentry Connect 2021 was a great success with 40 people joining to learn from and network with fellow Carpentries community members. The event agenda was carefully crafted by a team of local Carpentries leaders to be interesting and engaging to everyone in the community - no matter the experience level or role within the Carpentries ecosystem. Instructors, coordinators, helpers, and fans were all warmly welcomed!

On the agenda this year we had lightning talks from local leaders, a workshop on theatre skills for scientific presentations, discussions on microcredentials and much more! The full notes for the event can be found here, but some of the 2021 Carpentry Connect highlights are summarised below:

  • In-person attendees were treated to an interactive workshop on how acting and performance techniques can boost presentation skills.  Instructor Gijs Meeusen from Artesc taught attendees how to become ‘an exaggerated version of yourself’ to capture and maintain the attention of an audience.  

  • Serah and Francois from the Carpentries core team reminded attendees of the many ways they can positively impact the Carpentries community. This includes but is not limited to uploading workshop content to the Carpentries incubator, joining a mentorship group, or advocating for the carpentries at your institution. Check out these and other ideas in the ‘resources’ section of the etherpad.

  • A focused conversation on customising lesson materials for workshop attendees’ local environment captured the attention of a handful of Carpentry connect participants.  This topic seeped out into the broader Carpentries community after the event and continues to this day... Check out the github thread here for more information or to join the conversation.

  • The challenges of teaching online were discussed throughout the day - a topic many present could relate to.  Fortunately, there is a NEW instructor training module specifically about teaching online that has been developed by the Carpentries community in 2021. 

  • Another hot topic at Carpentry Connect involved brainstorming how to keep up learner momentum after a workshop.  Ideas included having people from the same lab group or team attend a workshop together, scheduling follow-up sessions or drop-in sessions, and doing a better job at preparing workshop helpers. Check out the notes from the breakout discussions for more ideas.

Of course, MANY other topics were covered at the event, leaving attendees inspired and full of new ideas. 

If you could not attend Carpentry Connect 2021, do not fret - there is a list of helpful resources that you can check out to get up to speed on what is happening in the au-nz region.  Also, we have multiple comms channels for keeping you up to speed on all things carpentries in the region. Some key actions for you to take right now include:

  1. Signing up for the au-nz slack channel in the Carpentries slack workspace

  2. Signing up to attend community calls whenever it suits your schedule.  Check out the list of upcoming calls here or checkout the Carpentries google calendar

  3. Email training@nesi.org.nz if you are interested in attending Carpentries instructor training in 2021

Additionally, we are looking for research support personnel based at universities of CRIs who can help with coordinating basic workshop logistics.  If you are able to books rooms for workshops, liaise with instructors, and promote learning opportunities to your local research community we would love to work with you! Please reach out to trianing@nesi.org.nz for more information.

There is no ‘right’ way to get involved with the carpentries - if you like learning, building community, or sharing knowledge - there is space for you. Join the slack channel today to meet like-minded people in your region or reach out to Megan Guidry for any Carpentries related queries.