If you build it, they will come...but then what? Facilitating communities of practice in R

Why did you learn R? Chances are good that if you're an attendee of rstudio::conf, you've found a community of R coders who are willing to share their knowledge and learn with you.

If you build it, they will come...but then what? Facilitating communities of practice in R

January 30, 2020

Why did you learn R? Chances are good that if you're an attendee of rstudio::conf, you've found a community of R coders who are willing to share their knowledge and learn with you. While it's possible to develop expert R coding skills in isolation, most software development and data analysis projects benefit from groups of people working collaboratively, and R communities are unparalleled in their inclusivity and commitment to learning collectively. Such communities, whether they support R coders at a single institution, geographic region, or online, require deliberate planning and effort to develop and sustain. How do you create a group culture that encompasses R users of various skill levels who may be working on diverse problems? How do you assess what members of a community need or prefer? How do you encourage investment and cohesion so the group will sustain itself? This talk will describe potential pitfalls and impediments to creating and facilitating cooperative learning communities for R coding, and will allow you to identify potential strategies for overcoming these challenges so you can continue giving back to the R communities that supported you along the way.

About the speaker

Kate Hertweck

Kate Hertweck is the bioinformatics training manager at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where they develop and teach courses on reproducible computational methods as a part of fredhutch.io. Kate's graduate training at University of Missouri in genomic evolution of plants was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) at Duke University, where they fell in love with R and began working exclusively in computational biology. Kate then spent four years as an assistant professor teaching bioinformatics, genomics, and plant taxonomy before transitioning to biomedical research training. Kate has been involved in The Carpentries, a non-profit organization that teaches reproducible computational methods, since 2014, serving as a leader in community governance since 2016. When not being an overenthusiastic instructor, Kate likes to spend their time doing fiber arts (knitting, crochet) and enjoying all things science fiction.