Article Type

EScience in Action

Publication Date





Objectives: As certified Carpentries instructors, the authors organized and co-taught the University of Montana’s first in-person Carpentries workshop focused on the R programming language during early 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a repeated workshop was postponed to the fall of 2020 and was adapted for a fully online setting. The authors share their Carpentries journey from in-person to online instruction, hoping to inspire those interested in organizing Carpentries at their institution for the first time and those interested in improving their existing Carpentries presence.

Methods: The authors reflected on their experience facilitating the same Carpentries workshop in-person and online. They used this unique opportunity to compare the effectiveness of a face-to-face environment versus a virtual modality for delivering an interactive workshop.

Results: When teaching in the online setting, the authors learned to emphasize the basics, create many opportunities for feedback using formative assessments, reduce the amount of material presented, and include helpers who are familiar with technology and troubleshooting.

Conclusions: Although the online environment came with challenges (i.e., Zoom logistics and challenges, the need to further condense curricula, etc.), the instructors were surprised at the many advantages of hosting an online workshop. With some adaptations, Carpentries workshops work well in online delivery.


The Carpentries, Online Learning, COVID-19, Online Workshops, R Programming Language, Novice Learners


The authors acknowledge that running Carpentries workshops can take a village and thank Molly McDevitt and Jennifer Helm who volunteered as helpers during the workshops mentioned in this article. The authors also thank Sara Mannheimer and Catherine Filardi for their valuable feedback on drafts of this article. Piloting University of Montana’s first Carpentries workshops was made possible by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library’s Student-Centered Innovative Projects grant program. Lastly, the authors appreciate the workshop catering provided by the University of Montana’s Wildlife Biology Program. Disclosures: The content of this article is based upon a lightning talk presentation at RDAP Summit 2021 titled “Reflecting on Teaching Carpentries Workshops Online” available at https://osf.io/hjzre.

Corresponding Author

Ben B. Chiewphasa, university of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA; bchiewph@nd.edu

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Copyright © 2021 Chiewphasa & Moeller. This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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