Improving Shareability and Maintainability for Short Training Workshops

Dr Mark Crowe1, Dr Justin Scott1, Dr Anne Bernard1

1QCIF, Brisbane, Australia


The QCIF training program has come about by a process of gradual evolution, with material being produced and added in response to the developing needs of our member organisations. Because of this, much of the training content has been developed on an ad hoc basis and not optimised for sustainability: it is typically developed by the individuals who will be delivering it, is lacking in documentation to support hand-off to other instructors, and consists of a combination of PDFs, Powerpoint presentations, markdown scripts and other mixed formats, making it hard to maintain.

QCIF has goals of achieving high growth in its training capacity, and to actively engage with the rest of the Australian eResearch training community. To support these goals, we are adapting our in-house training material to a format similar to that used by The Carpentries training community; that is, modular content, hosted on GitHub in markdown format, and containing a balance of theory, formative evaluation, and live coding training activities. This model also encourages community contribution and reuse, enabling a more consistent and higher-quality training experience.

In this poster we will review some of the challenges of ‘retrofitting’ training content to a sustainable format. We will also discuss the benefits that achieving this format provides towards maintaining and updating material and simplifying the process of inducting new trainers.


Mark Crowe is the Training Manager for QCIF, an organisation founded collaboratively by Queensland universities to provide HPC and data science research support. The QCIF training program provides short workshop-format training to research students and staff across the seven Queensland universities, reaching around 2000 trainees with over 100 workshops each year.

Prior to working with QCIF, Mark has been Training and Engagement Manager for QFAB Bioinformatics, Next-Generation Sequencing Manager for the Australian Genome Research Facility, and Operations Manager for the startup biotech company Catapult Genetics. He is also a Pom, the owner of a San Churro chocolate cafe, and the proud father of two boys.


AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.

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