Data Carpentry Hackathon for training materials development

Utrecht University

Utrecht, Netherlands


Jun 22-23, 2015

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Organisers: Karthik Ram, Aleksandra Pawlik

Helpers: to be announced.

Hackathon Information

This event aims at developing training materials in life sciences to be used in Data Carpentry workshops and other training that is using a similar teaching model. Data Carpentry workshops are aimed at researchers in the life sciences at all career stages. The workshops are designed to teach basic concepts, skills and tools for working more effectively with data. Data Carpentry workshops are an example-driven two-day workshops during which short tutorials alternate with hands-on practical exercises, and participants are encouraged both to help one another, and to try applying what they have learned to their own research problems during and between sessions. See the Data Carpentry website for more info.

More information is shared using

Hackathon organization & preparation

Participants will self-organize in teams centered around shared interests. Depending on interests and ideas that overlap or intersect, teams will forms to work on some of these selected ideas. At the beginning of the second day, a representative of each team will report on their project. Teams are fluid. If someone wants to switch projects during the hackathon (e.g., because their expertise is needed for a short period of time) it's perfectly acceptable.

For suggestions on materials development and contribution guidelines, please see the wik.

We will also be using the Etherpad.

We use GitHub to organize ideas and store the material being developed during the workshop. If you don't already have one, please create a GitHub account. It's free and only takes a few seconds. To participate in the hackaton, it is recommended that you be familiar with Git, but if you are not, you can make use of GitHub's web interface or the wiki.

To best prepare for the hackathon, it is a good idea to come with at least an idea of the kind of project you would like to work on. By opening an issue in the Data Carpentry Repository, you will let other people know of your ideas before the meeting. This will facilitate collaborations during the hackathon. Feel free to let people know that you are interested to work with them on a topic they proposed, or offer suggestions to their ideas. Be prepared to provide a 5 minute pitch of your idea during the first day of the hackathon.

Practical information


Participants should take care of their own travel and hotel reservations. PLEASE BOOK EARLY! The city of Utrecht is host to the start of the Tour de France this year, which will take place a week after the hackaton+workshop. Below are three hotels that we often use (there are no hotels close to the campus). Of these three, the first one (Hotel NH Centre Utrecht) is the nicest, as it is right in the middle of the historic town centre with the busstop in front of it, which will take in you to the Utrecht campus in 15 minutes.


From all these hotels you take bus 28 (or 128), direction "De Uithof P+R" (aka "AZU") to get to the campus. Get off at busstop "Heidelberglaan".
Bus tickets are a bit tricky: you can buy tickets in the bus itself, but they are quite expensive (2.40 euro per ride from city centre to the campus). The alternative is to buy an "OV chipcard" that you load with money and swipe when entering the bus and again when getting off it (the last bit is very important!).
More information on the system.
Public transport journey plan.

Dinner Monday 22 June

I have booked dinner for monday evening 19:00 in downtown Utrecht, at

Lange Jansstraat 28
3512 BB Utrecht

Bus 28 (from the campus), stop Janskerkhof, is closest (takes 15 min).

Dinner Tuesday 23 June

I booked a table for ∼10 people (can be more) at 19:00 with

Café Olivier
Achter Clarenburg 6a
From the campus, we can take bus 28 (stop Neude), or bus 12 (getting of at Utrecht Central train station).

Dinner Wednesday 24 June

I booked a table for ∼7 people at 19:00 with a very nice Greek restaurant. It's

Ouzeri To Steki
Oude Gracht 261
3511 NM Utrecht

From the campus, we can take bus 28 or 128 (stop Stadsschouwburg)


The workshop will be held in room 2.112 of the Stratenum Building, Universiteitsweg 100, Utrecht
The closest bus stop is "Heidelberglaan", reachable by bus 12 from Utrecht Central Station, or bus 28 coming from downtown. The route to room 2.112 will be sign-posted inside the Stratenum building. The (provisional) start time will be 9:00.


This hackathon is primarily aimed at the ELIXIR project members. We invite all domain experts who are interested in and may already provide training in data handling; and who are willing to share their materials with a wider community. Participants with experience in running Data and Software Carpentry workshops are particularily encouraged to join. The contribution guidelines provide more information on the work planned for the hackathon.
The local ELIXIR Node Data and Software Coordinators will be contacting the potential participants directly but if you are interested in joining the event please contact Aleksandra Pawlik.

Participants are expected to bring their own laptop.

Suggested ideas and Scope of the hackathon

There are many ways in which the participants can contribute to the development of new and the improvement of existing training materials for life sciences in Data Carpentry. The leading theme for this hackaton will be genomics and next generation sequening.


Data Carpentry instructional material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution License. If you are contributing to Data Carpentry material, you need to agree that your contributions will be released under this license. You can choose to contribute lessons that will not be considered for inclusion in Data Carpentry, and release them under a different license. However, we encourage you to release them under a license that allows free sharing and adapting such as Creative Commons 0 or Creative Commons Attribution license.

Acknowledgements & Support

This workshop is supported by the ELIXIR project.

References and materials

Data Carpentry presentation from the first ELIXIR Software and Data Carpentry Pilot Project event hosted by ELIXIR Finland.
Zagalsky et al. "The Emergence of GitHub as a Collaborative Platform for Education"
Software Carpentry Foundation Membership Programme
Software and Data Carpentry Instructor Training
A blog post from Face-to-Face Instructor Training at UC Davis in January 2015.
Recommended reading
Two interesting posts about teaching software testing Why We Don't Teach Testing (Even Though We'd Like To) and Close Enough for Scientific Work.


Monday09:00 - 9:30 Welcome and introductions
09:30 - 10:15 Introduction to Data Carpentry.
10:15 - 10:45 Data Carpentry teaching model
10:45 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 11:30 Lesson structure and licensing
11:30 - 12:00 Preview of the existing training material.
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch break
13:00 - 14:00 Selecting projects and teaching goals in groups.
14:00 - 15:00 Working on the materials development
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee break
15:30 - 16:45 Working on the materials development
16:45 - 17:00 Wrap-up
Tuesday 09:00 - 09:30 Reporting back from Day 1
09:30 - 12:00 Working on the materials development
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch break
13:00 - 15:00 Working on materials development
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee break
15:30 - 16:30 Working on materials development
16:30 - 17:00 Reporting back and wrap-up