Background: Educational research suggests that teaching and learning are subject-specific activities: learning programming has a different set of challenges and techniques than learning other topics. MetaDocencia is a non-profit organization that nurtures a community of Spanish-speaking educators by teaching concrete, evidence-based, and student-centered educational methods to teach coding and data science skills.
Results: MetaDocencia was born as a response to the need and urgency imposed by the pandemic. Since March 2020 we have taught our workshops above 70 times, using modern evidence-based teaching techniques that improve educational outcomes. For example, we teach and demonstrate live coding; concept maps, useful to express and evaluate mental models; different types of exercises including those usable as formative assessments, like Parson Problems; among other effective practices. Our courses help to improve the learning process both in in-person and online classes, implementing practical pieces of advice like taking shared notes, working in small groups, promoting pair programming, asking for and giving constructive feedback (and teaching how to do it properly), among others. In addition, we aim to create a cross-disciplinary knowledge-sharing teaching community. Evidence supports that better results are obtained when we teach together. Our Slack workspace has almost 600 participants that exchanged over 30,000 messages in less than two years. We have a website and YouTube channel, featuring teaching tools, together with an active presence in social media. Over 900 Spanish-speaking educators have already participated in our workshops out of 2,200 teachers from 30 countries who registered interest. We see a high level of engagement from attendees. Over 95% of the attendees stayed until the end of the workshop and filled out the post-workshop survey, expressing high satisfaction (Net Promoter Score = 88%). All MetaDocencia’s courses and materials are free and licenced under CC BY-SA.
Conclusions: Our under-served Latin American countries are urgently seeking opportunities to lower as many barriers as possible for as many people as possible. Feedback from participants in MetaDocencia’s activities demonstrate the many benefits brought by accessible materials and training activities aimed at incorporating technical skills relevant to open and reproducible research computing, bioinformatics, and data science. Partnerships with communities and organizations with similar values improve the reach and efficiency of these initiatives.
Submission track: Education
Authors: Laura Acion 1,2, Yanina Bellini Saibene 2,3, Elio Campitelli 2,4,5,6, Paola Corrales 2,5, Nicolás Palopoli 2,7
1 Instituto de Cálculo, FCEyN, UBA-CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina
3 Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), La Pampa, Argentina
4 Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
5 CONICET – Universidad de Buenos Aires. Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (CIMA). Buenos Aires, Argentina.
6 CNRS – IRD – CONICET – UBA. Instituto Franco-Argentino para el Estudio del Clima y sus Impactos (IFAECI). Buenos Aires, Argentina
7 Departamento de Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes - CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina