Instructor Training: Trainer Notes

Table of Contents

I. Information For and About Instructor Trainers

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

One Week before the Event

During the event

Immediately after the event

Long-term after the event

Using Slides

Whether or not slides should 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.

Using Etherpad

Each workshop will have an Etherpad. You can use the Instructor Training Etherpad template to quickly copy and paste challenges or useful information into your Etherpad.

Given the central role that Etherpad plays is running Carpentry workshops, you may want to take a minute to explain how to create a pad, what pads can be used for, and how long pads stick around. You may also want to point attendees to the “pad of pads”.

General Preparation

Using Helpers/Co-Instructors

If you have a helper for the training, or want to involve your co-instructor more, here are some ways where it is easy to do so without much prep:

Episode order

Experience has shown that the current order of episodes works quite well. If you are a new Trainer, we recommend following the official order, however, the material is flexible enough to allow small shifts in episode order. If you are an experienced Trainer and you would like to re-arrange the schedule, make sure to communicate with your trainees and co-Trainers!

III. Online vs In Person Training Events

In-person trainings

Online trainings (a few small groups)

Online trainings (completely distributed)

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.

Becoming the meeting host

About a week before your event, you will be given login credentials for a Carpentry account. Alternatively, if no one has yet claimed “host” in your session, you can click “claim host” next to your name in the Participants list; you will be asked for a 6-digit host key, which you can find in this message. See the explanation here for step-by-step instructions on how to claim host in Zoom Rooms using the host key.

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/claim 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.

Host abilities:

General tips for online training:

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

People often request to see more examples of concept maps. These are some examples linked from a previous version of the curriculum:

Most of these are much larger than our recommended limit for the activity. It can be helpful to make a larger map and then narrow down to a smaller one.

Expertise and Instruction

Memory and Cognitive Load

Building Skill with Feedback

Motivation and Demotivation

As written, this can run long. Suggestions:


Teaching is a Skill

Wrap-Up and Homework for Tomorrow

Welcome Back

Live Coding is a Skill

Lesson Study

More Practice Live Coding

Managing a Diverse Classroom

The Carpentries: How We Operate

Workshop Introductions

Afternoon Wrap-Up

VI. Teaching Demonstration Tips

This section contains tips and tricks on demo hosting that may be contributed by any Trainer describing things that work for them. For official/technical guidelines on how to run a demo, see the Handbook.

Suggested points to make during introductions:

Different ways of managing feedback during the demo:

Suggested points to make during wrap-up: