If you accidently overwrote your analysis, could you regenerate it with a single click? Do you have a myriad of files on your desktop labelled ‘Draft v2 Final May FINAL SH edit KM.doc’? Could you pick up a project easily after extended leave? Is bioinformatics your biggest bottleneck? If these questions make you uncomfortable, you’re in good company. Data is an often-overlooked asset of the biological science research community. For the last year, I’ve been employed to implement the ‘CSIRO Agriculture and Food Data School’, as part of a coordinated attempt to turn this around. An educational experiment, the Ag&F Data School intentionally breaks the paradigm of the ‘2 day short course’, asking participants to commit to an immersive and intensive program for a full five months, with a focus on fundamental concepts rather than specific tasks. In this talk, I’ll be sharing the successes, challenges, and lessons learned from the inaugural round.
Dr McElroy is a CSIRO Research Scientist and Project Leader for the Agriculture and Food Data School. She has a strong personal commitment to excellence and inclusivity in digital literacy education, e.g. through her active involvement with the Software Carpentry global community. Dr McElroy has contributed to several international, open source software packages, e.g. the haplotype reconstruction program ShoRAH. She also maintains a strong research interest in evolutionary genomics and the mechanistic processes underlying adaptive evolution.