The overall take-aways:
- Eight hours of data management is too much! Even though we only had seven due to extreme weather issues. Several suggested that more time overall would be better, but that individual sessions should be no longer than 4 hours.
- The case was too broad and vague. (The uncertainty that I thought would reflect and raise real world issues was just too complicated to address in the available timeframe. Too much uncertainty + too little time = stress. We know stress is not conducive to learning. One potential solution to this is to leave the overall case somewhat open ended, but specify further details for individual exercises so attendees can focus on the learning goals at hand.)
- Not enough time was provided for the exercises. One suggested providing at least 15 minutes each because it takes time to get oriented to the task.
- More examples, more examples, more examples!
- More information about local resources.
- Significant portions of the storage and security section can be cut. What they really need to know is what issues impact security, which of our systems to use, and who to contact if they need help. (My thoughts – the data stories should provide concrete examples and motivation to pay attention to these issues.)
- One attendee suggested that organizing files and naming conventions, file formats, and data sharing can be covered in less time. I am not sure that I agree with this, but I may not have conveyed the importance of these practices clearly.
There was some confusion during the lab about the purpose of the DMP for the exercises. Do the exercises reflect the plan completed during proposal development, fleshed out during project start-up, or as a working document throughout active phases of the study. In my mind, it is all of those things. But for the purposes of teaching and given the structure of the workshop, I think it is most useful to think of it as the former. So many of the potential issues and disasters can be prevented with careful planning, that walking researchers through the planning phase is the best place to start and can have the greatest impact on their research.
As I refine the curriculum and exercises for the next iteration (March – April), the materials and exercises will be shared here.
(Edits: Minor changes in formatting 2/11/14)