A couple of weeks ago Iwas delighted to able to invite Chris Hanretty up to Durham to deliver a web scraping workshop. I’ve already blogged about how happy I was with the popularity of the course, it filled up in a matter of hours, but I on the morning I guess I was still nervous to see who would turn up and what they would get from the day.
On the day 25 people turned up, and there was a big variety of people. There was people from Law, Anthropology, Education, Psychology, Archaeology and Modern Languages amongst others, as well a couple of STEMers. There was also a wide range of computer experience, from people who already did some coding, so those who had never seen html tags before. Chris’s materials and teaching style were very well recieved and by the end of the most of the participants were working on real scripts scraping stuff off the web, a massive achievement! I happened to bump into one of the anthropologists who was there afterwards who had told me that he was fiddling with some web scraping code the following night, which was great to hear.
I think there is a real appetite for this kind of stuff at Durham. One participant commented that they would like a similar course looking at Visual Basic, which I think could be really useful too, although I think ‘real’ coders turn their noses up at it. I wonder what other ‘low hanging fruit’ there are that could entice non or less technical minded people to use simple coding scripts to help make their working lives easier??