A few important things happened over the last couple of weeks, so I will update this blog on them here.
1. School is ending this week, so in order to give the new recruits a bit of a break, the Energize recruit class will meet only once every 3 weeks. However, the plan is for the students to work on their projects of interest in their small groups.
2. I finished testing the historical data version of the weekly report -- it is completely free of bugs and usable.
3. I will be working with a PhD student, Kate, through the BU URBAN program! We met yesterday to discuss how I can apply my project to a health context.
Kate is currently studying the ways to use carbon dioxide as an indicator of ventilation quality, which is particularly relevant to places looking to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, as bad ventilation can increase the risk of disease spread. Therefore, we are currently looking into connecting that aspect of things to the reporting engine.
On Monday, I continued training the new recruits. Before class, I spent about an hour developing challenges for them to take on (and corresponding solutions) using the student database. (You can see them at my GitHub repo here.)
When class started, they were divided into two groups (one for water consumption and one for political data). Each group worked on challenges that were tailored to the type of data they wanted to work with.
As some students have Chromebooks and are using repl.it (an absolutely fantastic tool!), we tried to integrate the database into repl. When this did not work, I asked them to collaborate with their groups through repl, such that the person with the capacity to run code on the database would test each time they were ready. This worked much better, but figuring out the setup took a bit more time than expected.
Back in September, I had figured out how to read from a sqlite file based on the example file in the database's Google Drive folder. In order to give the new recruits an exercise in "real-world" problem-solving (as opposed to a classroom-like environment), I gave them the same challenge to start, having them glean knowledge from the example rather than teaching it to them directly. Interestingly, both groups were getting errors when their code was perfect; we eventually realized that the databases had somehow become empty when they were copied into the repository.
I am really proud of both groups for adapting really well to both the challenge and the technical issues that came up along the way. The rest of the challenges involve using the pandas library -- I can't wait to see where they go with them next Monday! (Also, keep on the lookout for blog links next week!)