2020 Report. Cheers to the great MetaDocencia community!

2020 is over, a year of many challenges, uncertainties and changes. MetaDocencia was born in this context as a response to the need and urgency imposed by the pandemic, to offers tools for making a quick and effective switch to online classes. The proposal was embraced and amplified from its very beginnings by many educators in Argentina and abroad. MetaDocencia has established itself as a collaborative and inclusive community to support Spanish-speaking teachers, that shares evidence-based educational methods and provides open resources to foster effective teaching practices.

Those of us who make MetaDocencia are happy and thankful for the time shared during this difficult time. We renew our commitment on 2021, a year that welcomes us to more and better offers to learn and teach in community.

While we work on what’s next, we invite you to review all the good things that brought 2020 in MetaDocencia.

Summary of the 2020 Report as slides:

A lot has happened

MetaDocencia was born on March 16th 2020 as an initiative of four people, early joined by another one to constitute the current Core Team. More volunteeers joined late and we now have 10 Contributors and 5 Advisory Team members. Their participation in daily activities and monthly meetings is essential to sustain the activities of MetaDocencia.

More than 1200 teachers from 20 countries showed interest in our courses. Most came from the city of Buenos Aires and its surroundings, but we have shared the classroom with teachers from all provinces in Argentina. As we deal with content in Spanish, and thanks to the presence of Spanish-speaking individuals throughout the world, our reach exceeds Latin America. Our courses have been taken by more than 700 educators from Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, and also in the United States of America, France, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Those teachers who took part in MetaDocencia deliver courses for all educational levels in different disciplnes. From the classic subjects of Biology, Literature and Maths, to Robotics, Traumatology, Marketing and Architecture. Most of the participants teach STEM disciplines, followed by teachers in Social Sciences. Considering the size of their classes, MetaDocencia could be reaching more than 19,000 students!.

We met at many courses

Already present in the web, on Twitter and with an active pre-registration form, on March 27th 2020 we delivered the first edition of our flagship course Introduction to online teaching essentials. We had 41 editions of this course up to October 26th, 34 of those as the standard workshop (with 494 participants) and 7 adapted ‘à la carte’ (137 participants).

Moreover, we gave 8 brief courses How to teach (and do other stuff) on-line for 88 participants from the National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA). We also piloted two new courses, the Zoom Workshop and Generating interactive tutorials with the {learnr} package, the latter delivered as part of the LatinR conference.

Over four days in August 2020, three Core Team members delivered the first The Carpentries Instructor Training course by MetaDocencia to ‘train the trainers’. As a result, 19 participants were certified as Instructors in the international project The Carpentries that aims to teach computational and data science skills to researchers.

We had an online presence

Our website hosts 25 original articles (5 of those in English) written during 2020 by the MetaDocencia community. The first post was published along with the beginning of our workshops in March 2020 to present the Learner profiles for our Introductory courses (in Spanish).

These articles gather advices, tutorials, experiences and opinions. Some are cross-published in other websites; for example, this article on our website is the Spanish version of our post Building capacities to teach data science in Latin America for the RStudio Education blog.

Social networks were essential to amplify our initiative. In November 2020 we reached 1000 followers on Twitter. We ended 2020 with 1100 followers and over 500 tweets. 71 people are subscribed to our YouTube channel where we published 6 videos that got 1032 views. With 593 views, our most popular video is Introduction to online teaching essentials (in Spanish).

Our Slack workspace is the virtual and open meeting room for 376 participants in MetaDocencia. It is the place to share resources, experiences, support and questions, built by the communitary effort through 18295 messages sent in 2020. The channel is kept active from the beginnings of MetaDocencia, peaking at 78 active members on the week of April 27th 2020 and 40 active members on a day in July 21st, with almost 1000 messages sent in December. The workspace is open to anyone wishing to take part (37% of the messages were seen on open channels) but also allows the organization of community activities in closed channels (40% of the messages sent on those and 17% as direct messages between individuals.)

The internal or public resources of MetaDocencia are shared through our Github repositories. We actively promote the use of Creative Commons licenses and we have written a blogpost on how to share educational material and maintain authorship.

We participated in many events

Following is the timeline of the many and diverse events in which MetaDocencia was present during 2020.

We received very positive feedback

Through post-course surveys, by email or on Twitter, we received many messages of appreciation and gratitude, which helped us a lot to value and sustain the effort we put into MetaDocencia. Thanks for all the love!

“The course was excellent. You gave me back the will to teach. I hated everything about having to teach online, but you showed me that you can do something nice. I couldn’t even imagine the possibility of this being feasible. Teaching online can be much more humane than I could have ever imagined.” – translation of a message in Spanish by Emmanuel Iarussi, participant of our course Introduction to online teaching essentials

We share below some tweets that filled us with joy.

Tweet translation: Personally I recommend the courses by @metadocencia for this and for modern, evidence-based pedagogy. Mind blowing!

Tweet translation: My first term was disorganized and very hard to face, thanks to the help of @metadocencia and the instructor certification of @thecarpentries I learnt a lot of new methodologies and ways of getting closer to students behind the screen…

Tweet translation: I jump in to say that @metadocencia was a top tool and of all the virtual subjects I took part as teacher, the best one happened when the three teachers had taken the Workshop. It’s not our words. Look at the feedback :).

Tweet translation: Flawless 3-hour MetaDocencia workshop today by @_lacion_ and @ni_airo, putting in order concepts about how to deal with online teaching! Essential for those who did/do/will teach online in pandemic.

Tweet translation: The people at @metadocencia together with @_lacion_ make a spectacular XXI Century job in teaching data stuff.

Tweet translation: Regarding “Introduction to online teaching essentials” I want to congratulate you, everything wonderful, excellent what you do for everyone. In this moments of crysis, your help is the way to move forward. Don’t give up. This world needs you!

Tweet translation: Yesterday I finished the first edition of my course Introduction to R for HR. So glad I took the course by @metadocencia because I am very happy with the way it went.

Tweet translation: This morning I did the course by @metadocencia. Honestly one of the best things I did on this quarantine. If you need to give classes/meetings/workshops on virtual platforms follow this account. 👏👏👏

Tweet translation: I just finished the course Inroduction to online teaching essentials by @metadocencia and I couldn’t be happier. Free, super interesting and useful, an excellent tool to start to improve and setup our teaching practices in this new context.

Tweet translation: For teachers dealing with virtuality in quarantine, I highly recommend the free course by @metadocencia. It’s 3 hours of very good tips and advice for improving the swith from the classroom to the screen that we are doing.

Tweet tranlation: To the teachers in the room, take advantage of the resources of metadocencia. It’s one of those things you didn’t know you needed.

We were supported from the start

To start out MetaDocencia it was essential to have the support of R-Ladies Buenos Aires and Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Anguil from INTA. We were able to benefit from funding from the Open Bioinformatics Foundation to cover communication and planning costs. Besides, it was crucial to have access to the open teaching material shared by Greg Wilson, R-Studio Education and The Carpentries. To all these people and organizations, thank you very much!

We have big plans!

Our plans for 2021 are exciting. Our guiding light will be to take care of the community that trusts in MetaDocencia, ensuring our continuity, giving more and better resources and implementing the means to bring the community to those in need of it. Apart from the well-known ones, very soon we’ll be offering new courses that are already in advanced stages of development. We’ll scale our registration process to facilitate the process of designing how and what to learn. Moreover, we’ll implement ways to measure our impact effectively and thus help spread and replicate our experience.

Shared joy is doubled; shared pain is halved

Thank you for joining us in 2020. We look forward to seeing you in 2021 too!

Nicolás Palopoli
Nicolás Palopoli
Adjunct Researcher
Paola Corrales
Paola Corrales
MS in Atmospheric Sciences - Founder
Romina Pendino
Romina Pendino
University Bachelor in Social Communication
Violeta Roizman
Violeta Roizman
Master in Applied Mathematics
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