HiPy (“Hello Python”) is a grass-roots, student and researcher led initiative that facilitates the learning of coding skills by students and staff at the University of Liverpool. The overarching aim of the project is to provide an open, warm and welcoming community for anyone who wants to learn how to code FOR FREE. At the very core of HiPy is the philosophy of the “Hive” and its radically alternative teaching and learning model based on cooperative learning (Tsay and Brady, 2010). This talk will detail the successes (and failures) of this model and how it is having a significant impact across every faculty within UoL and on a larger scale within the local community. The content of this talk is highly consistent with the Alt-C conference theme of “Empowerment in Learning Technology”.
By upskilling our undergraduates and postgraduates with the ability to code HiPy is exposing its members (students and staff) to a huge job market in the UK. Seven million job openings in 2015 were in occupations that required coding skills, and programming jobs overall are growing 12% faster than the market average (Burning Glass Technologies, 2016). Furthermore, those attending HiPy events engage in dynamic, multi-disciplinary teams in order to solve real research problems. The additional transferable skills that are being gained – leadership, project management, team building, critical thinking – are highly valued by employers. This presentation will address the importance of these additional skills that coding generates and how they can be gained by students/staff from across all disciplines.
The interdisciplinary diversity of HiPy is increasing with each Hive event and the initiative is now focussed on increasing attendance from departments from within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. This talk will discuss how the increased interaction between attendees from different disciplines is generating unique opportunities for learning and collaboration. For example, in collaboration with the English Department, HiPy is currently involved in plans to generate digital content for a “Zero Carbon vs Art” exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Such collaborations are likely to be of high impact value and will raise the profile of the university within the wider community significantly.
In the longer term HiPy seeks to facilitate collaboration between industry and research and is currently exploring opportunities that will enable them harness a the power of the Hive to rapidly prototype solutions to real problems that will have significant impact if implemented. The relationship between industry and HiPy will be highly symbiotic – HiPy’s members will gain coding experience working in dynamic teams while engaged in projects that have high commercial value to the company. The positive implications of HiPy for the University’s Impact Strategy and REF will be discussed.
The talk will be concluded with an overview of HiPy’s additional outreach and public engagement activity and how it is dramatically increasing the level of interaction between the University, local community groups, schools and business.
M. Tsay, M. Brady (2010), A Case Study of Cooperative Learning and Communication Pedagogy: Does Working in Teams Make a Difference? J. Sch. Tea. Learn. 10(2), pp. 78-79