Details about the Instructor Trainer role including the application process, duties, meetings, and administrative instructions are now housed in the Carpentries Handbook. To the extent that information in those instructions is directly pertinent to teaching an Instructor Training workshop, some items may be duplicated here. All other information previously housed on this page may now be found in the handbook. Instructions on running a Demo session are also provided in the Trainer Guide.
II. Running an Instructor Training Event (General)
Four Weeks before the Event
Contact your co-Trainer(s) and decide who will teach what.
Create an event Etherpad (using the Etherpad template) or Google Doc (there is now a template for that, too) and a workshop website (using the training template). Be sure to check the event Etherpad or Google Doc against the curriculum as you prepare to teach, as these may not be reliably updated with curriculum changes.
Send Etherpad/Google Doc and website links to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Weeks before the Event
Introduce yourself to your trainees.
One Week before the Event
Plan logistics with co-Trainer(s)
Review (or set aside time closer to the event to review) the pre-assessment survey results for your workshop
If teaching remotely:
Test videoconferencing set up with co-Trainer(s) using login credentials provided.
Decide with co-Trainer(s) whether all Trainers should be present for the full event or if you will log on during your scheduled teaching times only.
Whether or not slides should be used be used during instructor training
is a subject of frequent discussion.
The main advantage is that slides provide a visual aid when explaining
complex concepts or when presenting learning objectives and challenges.
The most notable disadvantage is that it can give the false impression
that it is okay to use slides rather than live coding in SWC/DC/LC workshops
For online instructor training events, there are two additional risks:
the slides may fail to advance using Zoom’s screen share feature and
you risk losing the audience’s attention because your face is less prominent.
If you chose to use slides in your workshop,
this Google Drive folder contains slides with diagrams, cartoons, and text that trainers have used past workshops. Feel free to reuse the existing materials or add your own slides.
If you have a helper for the training, or want to involve your co-instructor more,
here are some ways where it’s easy to do so without much prep:
give an example of a mental model in “The Importance of Practice”
tell a motivational/demotivational story in “Motivation and Demotivation”
help collect 1-up, 1-down feedback by either writing or directing the participants
find + talk about a good (or bad) learning objective in “Lesson Study”
have this person monitor the chat (if online) and answer questions, catch “hands”
III. Online vs In Person Training Events
When watching videos, project them to the whole group.
Assign (or let participants select) physical breakout groups.
Use physical sticky notes to get minute card feedback at lunch breaks and end of each day.
Online trainings (a few small groups)
When watching videos, have one Trainer do a screenshare with their audio on or have one person in each group play the video for the participants at their site.
Assign (or let participants select) physical breakout groups.
Have participants screen share with their breakout room during the live coding exercises.
For exercise to set up a workshop website, put participants in breakout rooms and have one person screen share while the others help guide them verbally.
See section IV below for more tips.
IV. Using Zoom for Online Trainings
Online Carpentry Instructor Training events are held on Zoom. You can set up a personal Zoom
account for yourself for free. This personal account will be able to attend the training event
(or any other online Carpentry event), but will not be able to act as host.
About a week before your event, you will be given login credentials for a Carpentry account.
This account will be the host for the event and will have extra privileges including the
ability to mute participants and assign participants into breakout rooms. Decide ahead of time with your co-Trainer(s) who will log-in with these credentials. The host
can transfer host privileges to other participants, so you will be able to trade host status
back and forth with your co-Trainers during the event.
All Carpentry online events are set-up such that participants can enter the room without the
host being present. If you ever get an error message saying you can’t join the room because
you’re not the host, please contact Carpentry staff immediately.
“Mute” is in the lower left. To mute other participants, the host can go to “Manage Participants”, hover over a participant’s name, and click “mute”.
When the room host clicks “End Meeting”, a dialogue box appears with three options: “Cancel”, “Leave Meeting” and “End Meeting for All”. Be careful not to end the meeting if you are simply leaving the room temporarily while your co-Trainer teaches.
Only the host has the ability to create “Breakout rooms”. The button for this is on the lower left. Breakout rooms can be assigned automatically. By default, participants will be assigned to the same groups each time breakout rooms are used. You can change participants’ assignments manually if desired.
The host can move between breakout rooms and can send messages to all rooms simultaneously.
General tips for online training:
Support the lead
It’s tempting to check-out and check email/do work when your co-teacher has taken the wheel. Try not to do this! Ways that you can support your co-teacher when they are leading are:
Monitor the chat in zoom/notes
Help post exercises + provide instructions
Find links or references
Make sure that whomever is actively teaching always has host privileges. When you take turns instructing, remember to hand-off host privileges during the change-over.
After the first exercise, keep a list of all the participants in a plain text file on your computer so can you can easily paste it into the shared note-taking doc for exercises. (G.W.)
No matter what kind of shared doc you are using, it’s usually a good idea to create
two documents – one for each day of the training.
Suggestion from AN: create a third doc for sharing concept maps, since they are
images and can slow down the document.
Etherpad pros + cons
Pros: line numbers
Cons: simple formatting
Google Doc pros + cons
Pros: richer formatting
Cons: no line numbers
Announce at the beginning of the training that all participants should mute when
they are not talking. You may need to repeat this a few times during the early part
of the training, until people are doing it consistently.
In general, it works best to have everyone use zoom individually on their computers
(so you can see everyone’s faces); for trainings where some of the participants are
co-located, have them use their own computer for video but pick one person to use
“Gallery view” in the upper right toggles the display to show more participants’ videos.
“Share screen” is at the bottom middle of the screen. To end “share screen”, click the red button that will appear at the top middle of the screen when you are in screen sharing mode.
When you screen share, you have the option to share individual apps or your entire desktop. The default is the full desktop.
The Zoom chat is not stable (it is not saved across sessions or after going into breakout rooms, and people who have just joined a room can’t see previously posted chat items). We highly recommend using the Etherpad or Google Doc chat instead. For those who want to save the chat, they do that using the “More” option in the chat window, which offers “Save chat”. Choosing this will save the chat to a local text file on the person’s computer.
During breaks, learners will often turn off their video and wait for your audio cue to re-activate. This makes it look like no one is back from break, but just saying ‘hello’ will generally get a bunch of people to come back on video quickly.
When several attendees are in the same room (member trainings): it is helpful to have every participant log in separately so that you can see names and faces and they can interact by waving or using the chat. However, it is important that only one microphone and speaker should be active in the room at one time or feedback and noise will be a problem. When creating breakouts, you can either leave these people in the main room or shuffle people around to create a room just for them. Either way, ask them to leave a mic on so you can listen in.
Attendees might like to have a separate room (without Trainers) to network in over lunch or other breaks. Be prepared to assign that room and then close it to restart the main session.
V. Curriculum Teaching Tips
This is a place for Trainers to leave tips and observations for those newer to the curriculum. This can provide guidance on how to navigate difficult places in the curriculum until problems can be fixed, or may provide additional instructions that are conditional to an audience or are otherwise not appropriate to/ready for a change in the curriculum itself.
Building Skill with Practice
Expertise and Instruction
Memory and Cognitive Load
Building Skill with Feedback
Motivation and Demotivation
As written, this can run long. Suggestions:
CK: In general, I approach this section as “which 3 out of the N exercises do I want to make SURE I do?” and then if there’s time (or interest! depends on the group) I’ll add or adapt.
Teaching is a Skill
Wrap-Up and Homework for Tomorrow
Live Coding is a Skill
More Practice Live Coding
Managing a Diverse Classroom
The Carpentries: How We Operate
CK: Not an “official” exercise, but after explaining the workshops and how to run them,
go around the room, asking each person if they have a question + then answer them.
Exercise: Creating a Workshop Website
CK: This takes some time, so some people opt to skip this section. Inevitably,
when working with a group of mixed experience with Github, some will be able
to zip through this exercise, where others will struggle. We have gotten
positive feedback about this exercise as well, where learners felt like it was
a valuable experience. Can be especially valuable for groups that will probably
be running workshops on their own (so open trainings, or trainings for folks
who are ready to get started right away).
CK: The coffee break after this would be a great time for an “Ask and Offer” if the
group is interested.
More or less time
CK: The second major exercise (writing a mini-introduction and then
practicing) can be made longer if you have the time or people are
very keen on practicing their introductions. Instead of 2 minutes,
people could talk for 4-5 minutes each.