Edit me


The purpose of this page is to provide detailed information on the activities, roles and responsibilities of hackweek tutorial leads. We draw this information from our publication on hackweeks.

Roles and Responsibilities

Hackweeks are an experimental educational model that aim to build community, provide instruction, demonstrate open source practices and provide a forum for open-ended project work among a diverse group of participants. Hackweeks are neither summer schools, where an expert delivers knowledge to a room of beginners, nor a hackathon, in which people assemble in an unstrctured way and write code together. We try to occupy a space that blends these two approaches.

What does this mean from the perspective of a tutorial lead? We invite you to design your tutorials with the following considerations in mind:

  • try for content that is broad in scope and gives an initial picture of what might be possible when applying a particular data science tool. Save detailed explanations on a narrow topic for a later breakout session.
  • start with simple explanations that attend to people who are seeing this content for the first time, AND keep advanced participants engaged by inviting them to assist others, or to explore more advanced concepts through individual study.
  • make your tutorials interactive through live coding challenges, working through a Juypter Notebook together, or interactive discussions. Leave some space when you are not talking for people to work through examples and ask questions.
  • prepare your tutorials well in advance and practice them in front of a sample audience. We are available to help review your tutorials and provide advice on conent and delivery.
  • take a bit of time to review tutorials offered at our previous hackweeks. Here is an example of a particularly well-crafted tutorial by Catherine Kuhn at last year’s geohackweek.

Regarding deadlines, we ask all tutorial leads to have a draft tutorial prepared one month in advance of the event. This is essential so that we can configure our computing services with the libraries and datasets you need for the tutorial to run smoothly.

As a hackweek tutor for this event, it is your responsibility to adhere to the hackweek code of conduct designed by the Seattle data science community. Your visibility throughout the event provides you with a unique opportunity to demonstrate professional, respectful behaviors that other participants can emulate throughout the week. You will actively participate in communicating the code of conduct to all other participants, and we will rely on you to assist the administrative team in identifying or navigating any code of conduct violations should they occur.

Technical Considerations

Teaching software and data science tools to a large group of people is challenging when each person arrives with a different computer and operating system configuration. To avoid these challenges we deploy an instance of JupyterHub on Amazon Web Services and we have participants log in to this system using GitHub credentials. This centralized computing architecture will be directly linked to virtual drives that store any of the sample datasets used in the tutorials. Each tutorial will be tested in advance on this system to ensure all the correct libraries and tools are installed.

We invite all tutorial leads to prepare their content in a format designed by the Software Carpentry organization. The reason we do this is we hope to build a curriculum over time that is openly available as a reference to the community. Another advantage to this format is that others can request to add content or make corrections via GitHub pull requests. We will add you to the icesat2hackweek github organization and you can push your tutorial content to a repository there. The tutorials are in a simple markdown format and we can provide templates and assistance in how to set these up. An example is here. Some tutorial leads also provide a Jupyter Notebook template to the participants to use during the hackweek instruction time.

What can I expect to gain from this experience?

Hackweeks have traditionally been very dynamic events at which knowledge is exchanged in multiple directions across different levels of career position and backgrounds. We hope you will have an opportunity to learn a lot of new things by engaging in this experience. Past tutorial leads have used these events to gain teaching experience and as a way to round out their teaching profile. Like other participants you can also expect to build new contacts in the community, recruit students and generate new project ideas.