Adaptation and change in the Coop community

2 minute read

Written by: Kate Hertweck - Bioinformatics Training Manager (2018-2021)

It’s been quiet lately here at the Coop blog. Between our transition process last spring, continuing to work remotely, and continued discussions around social justice, we’ve been working hard to adapt our current and continuing projects to best meet the needs of the data-intensive research community at Fred Hutch. In light of another series of staffing changes (see below), we’ve been reassessing our strategy and planning to ensure our work is focused on the most urgent needs.

What the last 4+ months have shown us is that we need to be very deliberate and intentional about our efforts to advance research computing and support our computational community. Especially given the circumstances described above, we believe that:

  • communication is more important now than ever before
  • access to informaton and resources is essential to continuing scientific progress
  • the community, with its myriad knowledge and expertise, is our biggest resource

Given those priorities, our continuing goals for community and training over the next ~3 months include the following efforts:

  • courses: We have shifted from teaching online, instructor-led courses to providing material for independent learning. Material for courses including Intro Python, Intro R, Intro to Git/GitHub, and Intermediate Python: Programming is available for self-paced learning at any time. You can find links to these materials here. We are still periodically scheduling sessions of these courses; please use the “Interest Tracking” feature in Hutch Learning to let us know you are interested. We are also continuing to fully document additional coursework, including the machine learning series, as well as develop new courses that support focused efforts of other data-intensive research groups on campus.
  • SciWiki documentation: Training in research computing doesn’t end with a course! Learning to translate technical skills to your specific research problems requires more than an understanding of syntax. We are continuing to support documentation for research computing at the Hutch through the SciWiki, including development of additional opportunities to practice coding skills, and examples of workflows and projects.
  • Connecting with the community: We miss connecting with the community! With so many meetings and community groups on hold while we settle into our remote work schedules, we’ve been thinking about different ways to connect with both the research and people we support. In addition to continuing to hold office hours and interacting on Slack, we are thinking about hosting periodic meetings on targeted topics, such as “building packages in R”. We are also working on defining a set of core values for the Coop, which we hope will help encourage participation in our various communication streams.

What else can we do to support you? Let us know by emailing coophelp, or leave a comment in our comment box.

We would like to thank the following members of our training and community team who have transitioned into other positions:

  • Gabi Barnes
  • Brenda Kostelecky
  • Anders McConachie

We also thank the staff in our community who are no longer employed by the Hutch, but supported the training and community documentation efforts of Hutch Data Core.