Final Wrap-up

Last updated on 2024-05-13 | Edit this page

Estimated time: 30 minutes



  • What steps can you take to be a good collaborator?
  • How can we improve this training?


After completing this episode, participants should be able to…

  • Draw a diagram or compose a written summary of the key concepts from this training.
  • Articulate constructive feedback.

We have reached the end of this training.

Looking Back

Throughout this training we promoted a collaborative approach to lesson development (as many other initiatives in The Carpentries community are conducted). Collaboration helps bring different skills and perspectives to a project and share the load of the work required to bring the project successfully past the finishing line. For lesson projects, this shared effort also extends to maintaining and updating the lesson after the initial development phase.

Exercise: What steps can you take to be a good collaborator? (20 minutes)

Spend some time reflecting on collaboration aspects we covered in this training and exploring at least two of the following lesson repositories, noting down what things you noticed in these repositories that could aid collaboration:

Trainers will then lead a discussion on what people found and steps you could take to improve your lesson repository.

Collaboration Top Tips

While you will know the best collaboration practices for your team, here are some suggestions:

  1. Provide ‘external-facing’ features for your lesson (such as description, objectives, contribution and ‘how to get involved’ guides, preferred way of communication) - these will be universally useful for everyone coming to your repository (your team included).
  2. Find the best tools that work for your team for communication, documentation and knowledge sharing, issue & project management.
  3. Document and share knowledge within the team to facilitate team collaboration. Share decisions and communicate with your team synchronously and asynchronously.
  4. Plan your meetings to get the most out of your team (e.g. set agenda, assign meeting roles - chair, note-taker, time-keeper, etc.) and be appreciative of people’s times.
  5. Record and manage issues with your lesson as you develop, trial and maintain it (e.g. assign people responsible for issues, categorise and prioritise them).
  6. Assign tasks and roles to distribute the responsibilities - this includes assigning larger roles (project management & governance) to team members and assigning specific issues/tasks to collaborators. Progress is much more likely to be made when people know what they and others should be working on.
  7. Dedicated sprints where the whole team works on a set of issues towards a milestone work well for lesson development and making progress on projects in general.
  8. Be open and welcoming to new contributors and provide different opportunities to get involved with your project (from novice to expert collaborators). Point to upskilling guides (or run upskilling sessions if possible) to bring people up to speed.
  9. Manage contributions in a timely manner by noticing when things happen and responding to new issues, comments and Pull Requests (PRs). Show appreciation for everyone’s contributions.
  10. People bring different perspectives, expertise and skills to a collaborative project and, while they can be productive and harmoniously complement each other, having some decision making and conflict resolution process in place will make sure progress can be made when disagreements arise.

Looking Ahead

By now, you should have made good progress towards a first draft of your lesson.

Referring back to the life cycle stages for lessons described earlier in the curriculum, your lesson is still in pre-alpha but hopefully approaching alpha, when it is ready to be taught in full for the first time.

As you and your collaborators continue to iterate over the lesson - teaching it, gathering feedback, reflecting on the experience, and improving it for next time - the lesson will pass through alpha into the beta and stable stages (perhaps via peer review in The Carpentries Lab).

Your role as the original developers of the lesson, and the kind of interactions/contributions taking place on your repository, will change as you move through these stages.

Life cycle stage Type of contribution Your role
pre-alpha new content and whole new episodes; changes/additions to lesson objectives active development; onboarding new collaborators; project management
alpha improving existing content; adding/expanding/removing content; polishing changes/typo fixes active development; reviewing changes; documenting feedback/actions based on pilot workshops; project management
beta feedback from pilot workshops; polishing changes; expanding instructor notes; suggestions for major overhauls/reorganisations recruiting pilot instructors; reviewing changes; guiding contributors
stable feedback from workshops; polishing changes; new/updated content reviewing changes; guiding contributors; onboarding new maintainers; stepping away from the project

Farewell and Feedback

Thank you for following this training. We hope you found it helpful to build a foundation for your current lesson project and to prepare you to collaborate on other projects in the future.

To bring the training to a close, the Trainers will lead a number of activities to gather feedback and help you reflect on the experience.

One Up, One Down (10 min)

Provide one up, one down feedback on the entire Collaborative Lesson Development Training. Remember:

  • Say only one thing, and try not to duplicate. This gets harder for those who come later!
  • Trainers should try not to respond, only record responses (e.g. in the Etherpad). This is also hard, but important!

Reflection exercise (15 min)

Take this time to reflect on what you have learned in this last part of the training, and take some action to plan to successfully complete the development of your lesson after you leave. It is up to you how you use this time, but you might find some inspiration in the prompts below.

  • How could you use the project management features of GitHub to prepare for the next stage of the lesson development process?
  • If you have been working in a collaborative group, what steps could your group take to improve the way you work together for the remainder of the project?
  • If you have been working on the lesson alone so far, what steps could you take to find new collaborators to help you with the further development of your lesson?
  • Based on the experience of teaching a section of your lesson, do the objectives you wrote for your lesson still seem realistic? Can you identify anything that can be added or removed now that you have completed a trial run?

Key Points

  • Documenting your lesson project, curating your lesson repository, welcoming new contributions, and taking advantage of GitHub’s project management features all make it easier for people to collaborate with you.
  • Any lesson can be improved with feedback, including this one.