R-Ladies at DataFest Tbilisi

In November 2018, I attended DataFest Tbilisi 2018 as I was invited by R-Ladies Tbilisi to give a talk, a workshop and mentor participants in a Datathon. It was a great opportunity and I would particularly highlight the second and third day were we had R-Ladies Room for R lovers with a series of workshops and a Datathon organized and led by R-Ladies who were the main representatives of the R community there.

Isabella Gollini, [Nato Khaladze] and I gave workshops along the day addressing different levels. I was glad to see how many people from different backgrounds were interested to come to the workshops. before the workshops, we met many guys who asked whether they could attend or if was just for “Ladies”! And we definilty told them this was for anyone interested in R. The most important thing that whoever joined us, came out with a positive experience as we designed our workshops to be flexible to adapt to the participants pace and backgrounds.

Source: Tamuna Margievi (R-Ladies Tbilisi)

I gave the beginners workshop and I started with the Tidyverse packages for data manipulation and visualization. I previously taught other subjects in different contexts, but this was the first time to teach beginners whom I knew nothing about their backgrounds in a general conference (non R specific). This was a challenging task to prepare for, but I believe I succeeded (Isabella and Nato did as well) and I enjoyed it so much.

I have always admired how good teachers could lower the barrier of entry to a field, language, tool, etc. And it was very gratifying to get told by participants that I was a good teacher. I was also glad to hear comments at the end like:

  • “I tried to learn R before through an onlie course, but I got lost and was not sure how Rstudio works. Now I better understand how things work, and I am looking forward to do more stuff and educate others in my home country Kazakhstan.”

  • “I never used R, but now I am able to do basic things.”

  • “The good thing about R it makes me feel that the language speaks to me.”

Some participants even tweeted about how the workshop inspired them to learn more like Juliana who was actually very attentive and captured a syntax error (missing ") in my slides!

I believe this wouldn’t hav been possible without the great effort by R-Ladies Tbilisi especially Liili Abuladze and Tamuna Margievi who coordinated with DataFest organizers to have R-Ladies Room for R lovers.

After all, I enjoyed the event and I’d like to give more hands-on workshops in the future!

Workshop Material

In the next post I will write about the teaching experience and designing the workshops in more details.

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