It's been a few months since I wrote anything in the blog. Like everyone, I've been busy with the Covid-19 pandemic. We moved all classes online in March, and Fall 2020 is online only too. Teaching online is hard, maybe as hard as learning online. I'm grateful to the Carpentries, they have some suggestions for online teaching in their guide.

I'll share one tidbit that's helped me: the Random Student Generator. Students hate it, but I like it because it keeps students active in class, and keeps those students that always answer from taking up all class time. I run it with a list of student names and it gives me one student at random, or run it with an argument n and it pulls n student names without replacement.

# Random Student Generator
# Copyright 2017-2020 - Humberto Ortiz-Zuazaga -
# Released under the GNU General Public License version 3 or later

# Read in a file named as an arugment 
# (student names, one per line)
# pick a random line
# with argument -n x, pull x students names


while getopts 'n:' c
    case $c in

shift $((OPTIND-1))

cat "$1" | shuf -n $STUDENTS 

One of these days I'll turn it into a web app.

I hope infection rates continue to fall and we can consider reopening campus. Rafa Irizarry is publishing great plots on rates of positivity, hospitalizations, and more at