Davis Family Library: 7:30am - 12am
Armstrong Science Library: 7:45am - 12am

| by Ryan Clement


This summer marked the fourth year of our MiddLab Data Workshops summer series. After several years of focusing our outreach on undergraduate summer research assistants and then addressing pandemic remote instruction needs, this summer we focused on broadening our slate of offerings and reaching out to a larger audience across the institution. While our workshops have always been open to the entire community, this summer we were intentional in our efforts to be inclusive.

We did this by promoting our workshop offerings beyond undergraduate summer research assistants and their faculty mentors. Starting with our regular late-spring survey on topics and scheduling, we reached out to faculty and staff at the Institute as well, and saw an enthusiastic response. Just under half of our registrants this summer came from programs at the Institute, with a number of these folks attending multiple workshops.

We also increased outreach this summer to faculty and students in the humanities — historically underrepresented in our registrations, despite growing interest across the humanities in computational work. While our outreach to humanists is still evolving, we saw an increase in humanities scholars attending our workshops this summer, with many multi-workshop registrants.

You can see the breakdown of registrants by school and academic area below.

A donut chart showing workshop registrants by institutional area
A donut chart showing workshop registrants by academic area

Driven by our goal of increased breadth of coverage and relevance to a larger population of scholars, we also significantly increased our workshop offerings this summer. New workshops in the series included:

  • Organizing and Managing Research Data
  • Introduction to Python for Data (1 & 2)
  • Designing Better Data Visualizations
  • Introduction to Text Mining in R
  • Introduction to Geospatial Data in R (cancelled due to technical issues)
  • High-Performance Computing and Slurm at Middlebury

We saw strong registrations across our slate of offerings, with some of our newer workshops having the largest shares of registrants. You can see a breakdown of our registrations by topic and specific workshop below.

A donut chart showing workshop registrants by topic
A table with a bar chart showing workshop registrants by workshop

All of our workshops are either derived from, or inspired by, the pedagogical principles and lesson plans of The Carpentries, a community developing lesson plans and pedagogy for teaching data and coding skills inclusively. Currently, all of our workshops are taught by Carpentries-certified instructors, and while they are not “official” Carpentries workshops, all of them adhere to the Carpentries’ “guiding principles” with some adjustments being made for virtual instruction and our new/unique lessons. Specifically, our workshops are predominantly hands-on, novice friendly, challenging, and safe spaces for experimentation and failure.

As part of our increased outreach, we expect to put on a short series of workshops during winter term 2023. If you’re interested in talking with us more about our workshops, learning about future offerings, or arranging a workshop (or more) for your class/lab/student group/etc., please contact us at middlab@middlebury.edu, and check our webpage at go/middlab/.