Caroline Krafft TSC Application - 2018-09-03

Caroline Krafft (@elmps2018)

St. Catherine University

What contributions (e.g., issue triage, tech support, documentation, bug fixes) have you made to the ODK community?
The contributions I have made are primarily as a user with a lot of learned experience to share. My background is as an economist and survey researcher who had been working with household survey data for a number of years. I was initially involved with the paper versions of surveys, and then we made the switch to tablets. The first two projects we worked on (not using ODK) after switching to tablets had major programming problems.

After a couple times of supervising programming that never fully met our needs, I decided that I was just going to learn the programming myself, and so assembled a team at my university to learn the ODK2 tools. We work on very complex household surveys, so features like sub-forms were critical. We also are not developers, so the accessibility of the ODK2 tools (Excel! I know that!) was also very important. The first project we tackled was a ~2000 variable household survey in Egypt that had 13 sub-forms and all sorts of other interesting complexities, so we learned a LOT! Fielding is just wrapping up now, and we are about to do another, similar, survey in Sudan in 2019.

With all this learned experience, I have tried to share what I know with folks trying to learn ODK2. I have created training materials for a two-day workshop that I then shared with folks on ODK Forum. I have also flagged and discussed problems that we ran in to in programming and implementation across the ODK2 tools. I work to answer questions about ODK2 on ODK Forum. I want to note I have not made these contributions on my own: My research lab team has been awesome help in generating these materials (thanks Team Awesome!).

How do you believe your contributions have benefited ODK?
I know how super-helpful it was to have someone answer a question on ODK Forum or to find just the right example or piece of the documentation when we were learning and working on our projects; I hope that our training, documentation contributions, and willingness to answer questions are helpful to other folks as well!

What do you believe the top priorities for ODK are?
I really appreciate the commitment of ODK to creating tools that work in resource-constrained environments, so continuing to identify those challenges and address them is an important priority. For example, there have been a lot of great ideas about how to move data across users under serious constraints.

Sustaining and building ODK Forum and documentation so that folks have the information and support they need for projects is another priority (I think this is especially important for ODK2 where there are fewer existing examples, answers, and experts).

How will you help the ODK community accomplish those priorities?
I enjoy testing and providing feedback/documenting challenges, so could offer a user/test perspective on new tools. I should note that I am not a developer so cannot actually develop any of the new tools.

On the ODK Forum and documentation side, I will continue to engage with ODK2 questions on ODK Forum, and generate improvements in documentation to help folks learn ODK. One thing that particularly helped me in learning ODK2 was to scrape all the examples from Forum posts and look at how other folks implemented different features–I would love to build an “Example Form” library (beyond examples already built into App Designer) that pulls together all of that knowledge or where folks can submit work they’ve done to share.

How many hours a week can you commit to participating on the TSC?
I can consistently commit 1-2 hours a week (more during summer and university breaks or when we are intensively mid-project)

What other mobile data collection projects, social good projects, or open source projects are you involved with?
I contribute to the generation and dissemination of publicly available, nationally representative survey data (primarily from the Middle East and North Africa). Data I have helped create and disseminate is hosted at the Economic Research Forum’s Open Access Microdata Initiative.

On the teaching side of my career, I am working on (have drafted and am testing on my students!) what will be an open textbook for introductory economics courses, “Economics for the Greater Good: An Introduction to Economic Thinking for Public Policy”

Please share any links to public resources (e.g., resume, blog, Github) that help support your application.

Open Access Microdata Initiative:
Here are a couple of examples of papers “introducing” the datasets I worked on:

Here are the training materials: