New Workshops Offered to Faculty and Graduate Students This Fall

By Sarah Hunker

Monday, September 5, 2016

Faculty and graduate students have the opportunity to learn beginning coding and how to write code to search the web for information (known as “webscraping”) this fall in three workshops and a Brown Bag Series specifically designed for them by CEWiT and The Social Science Research Commons (SSRC).

The three workshops are Intro to Python, Intro to Webscraping, and Advanced Scraping. These workshops will be taught by NaLette Brodnax, who is a CEWiT Graduate Assistant, a data scientist, and a fifth year doctoral student in the Joint Public Policy program.

“I started getting into data science and I found that [web scraping] was really useful for a lot of things I could do as a social scientist,” Brodnax said.

Brodnax said she wants these workshops to be beneficial for those individuals who are having a hard time finding a way to learn new technology.

“If you are a true beginner there is not a lot out there for you, so that it the reason why I came up with this workshop series.”

She has done other workshops in the past; one was Introduction of Webscraping for Python. This year, she decided to break up the workshops. Brodnax hopes that she can teach individuals that technology can be obtainable and useful for whatever profession they pursue.

 “My overall message is to make people more aware of what technology can do for them. Rather than thinking of it as this intimidating thing that’s so hard to do, there are a lot of things that computers can do more efficiently than humans.”

The first workshop, Intro to Python, will take place Friday, September 23 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. This workshop will focus on the beginner’s methods of using python as a tool for the general purposes of coding. Its main function is to use less lines of code compared to other languages like Java. Python will be tied into other workshops offered during the Brown Bag Series.

The second workshop, Intro to Webscraping, covers a method of getting information from certain web pages and repurpose it. The workshop will go over basic techniques needed to understand how to extract data. Basic HTML and Python tools will be taught for the first hour. Afterwards, those attending will learn how to access website, store data and other Webscraping techniques. No programming experience required to attend. It will take place September 30 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The last workshop, Advanced Webscraping, will be for those who had attended first two workshops, or those who have had beginners level training in that area of tech. This workshop will take place on Friday November 4 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Brown Bag series is for attendees of the first two workshops to bring up any questions they have about projects they are working on. The Brown Bag series will take place every Tuesday during the month of October, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

No registration is required for any of the workshops or the Brown Bag sessions. Interested faculty and graduate students may just show up in the SSRC Grand Hall (Woodburn 200) for any session they wish to attend.