- DEPRECATION MESSAGE
- 8 weeks out
- 6 weeks out:
- 4 weeks out
- 3 weeks out
- Final week
- Installfest! (Friday)
- The big day (Saturday morning, bright and early)
- 3 days after
- Minimum Viable Workshop
This wiki is a bit old. Please head over to https://github.com/railsbridge/docs/wiki/Cookbook for up-to-date information.
h1. Workshop timeline
Hello RailsBridger! If you're putting on a workshop for the first time, this handy little guide should help you through the process. And if you've done it before, don't be afraid to look here for a refresher or checklist of what you need to get done.
8 weeks out¶
Find a space¶
Not much you can do without a space, and the space you find will determine how many students you can have at your workshop. Here are a couple ideas for where to find spaces:
- Local companies that use Rails - this is a great recruiting opportunity for them
- Community colleges
- Community centers
- Advocacy organizations that work with your target group (Workshop for Latinos? See if there's an immigration advocacy group that would host you. For women? Maybe there's a women's business group.)
Find a sponsor¶
This really ties in with finding a space, as your sponsor might be the one to provide with a space. What is a sponsor, you ask? Well, think about the things you need that cost money - the two most common being renting the space and providing your attendees with lunch. If you can get a sponsor to donate the space, then you've saved yourself what could be your biggest cost. Sometime, though, someone will offer you a space but require you to pay for security and whatnot. If so, then you'll need another sponsor to pay for that. And of course, get somebody to pick up the lunch tab if you can. But if all else fails, if you've got a space but no lunch, ask your participants to brown bag it.
Set a date and time¶
From experience here in SF, the best way to do this is have an Installfest on Friday evening and the workshop on Saturday. Trust us, you need that extra day for the Installfest - it's messy and takes everybody vastly different amounts of time. Got your date and time set? Great - add it to this page: Workshops.
6 weeks out:¶
Volunteers, you say?
Well, you're a volunteer. Hopefully you have a friend or two helping you out, too; they're volunteers. Here are some of the positions you may need to fill:
- Organizers (that's you!)
- Teacher trainers (might be you, as well)
For your first workshop, you'll probably want to keep it simple and just have two roles: teachers/TAs and greeters/door-people/pizza-getters. If you don't already have someone who's handling logistics (signup forms, coordinating with the event host, figuring out lunch, etc.), convince one of the people you find early on to take that role. Don't be afraid to delegate! Or you will die a painful, stressful death.
A workshop's no fun if nobody comes. Find out the capacity of the space you'll be in so that you don't sign up more people than you have capacity for. But remember, a lot of the people who sign up won't show - could be as many as half. Plan accordingly.
Now, how are you going to get the word out? I don't know. In SF, we get more people than we can handle by just emailing our Ruby Meetup list.
Remember to have separate signups for participants and volunteers.
4 weeks out¶
Identify and inform Teachers¶
Assemble the teachers and TAs you've gathered so far. Get their buy-in for the curriculum. Review tips for effective teaching. Agree on roles for TAs. Post links to where installfest and curriculum are located so that students and teachers can review ahead of time.
3 weeks out¶
Nail down logistics¶
This is my least favorite part of life. Things to think about:
- If you have handouts, making photocopies.
- Do you need a door person?
- Lunch. Can't live without it.
- Projectors? Adaptors?
- Markers? Name tags?
- Extension cords.
- Childcare. That would be awesome for all the parents out there.
- A place for an after party. Ever wondered how to throw a party? Wonder no more.
- Breakfast can be tricky when containers of coffee are involved, so try to have it delivered is possible. Panera delivers for a small fee in SF.
Please delegate this stuff to your wonderful helpers. Don't have helpers yet? Get on that, pronto.
7 days ahead, send reminders¶
2 days ahead, No really, train those teachers¶
Oh, so you didn't have your teacher training yet? Or maybe you didn't have very many teachers/TAs signed up until, like, yesterday? Right, happens to the best of us. Get whoever you can wrangle to meet up Thursday night and do a teacher training. Have everybody go through the curriculum and review the tips for effective teaching.
Check it out: InstallFest.
It is recommended to check off each student that their installation is correct before leaving Friday night so that they are ready to go for workshop on Saturday.
Also, group people into different classes based on ability and background.
The big day (Saturday morning, bright and early)¶
Before students arrive¶
- Set up classrooms
- Set up registration
- Take a deep breath
The following activities require more setup and breakdown, so ask free volunteers to help out on Friday and Saturday:
- Setting up A/V in each study group.
- Setting up work tables and chairs.
- Meal setup and breakdown.
- Final cleanup on Friday and Saturday.
Okay, most important thing (besides the deep breath) - get your peeps signed in! These names and emails and phone numbers are gold, pure gold. You know why? Because they are your future volunteers for your next workshop. Make notes to yourself on them - "Sally was an awesome TA, let's get her to be a teacher next time", "Mike sucks at programming but wow can he handle the door well", etc.
TODO: HOW TO SORT STUDENTS
TODO: LINKS TO SAMPLE FORMS
During the Workshop¶
What's a recommit, you ask? It's where you ask people to come back again. This is something you can't do on your own, so make sure to train your teachers to do it in each of their classes, and to have them train their TAs to help them. If they had a great participant who would be able to volunteers next time (maybe as a TA, maybe as a pizza-getter, maybe as a teacher, maybe as an organizer), have them ask that person to put their name on a "volunteer next time" list.
The sponsors are donating their space, so remember to help with cleanup, keep good communication with your sponsor contact and be respectful of off-limit areas. Here are some other recommended practices:
- Ask about "off-limit" areas where participants show not go.
- Ask about public wireless networks that people should log into.
- Keep sponsors in the loop and manage expectations regarding logsitics.
- Help with setup and cleanup.
- Minimize surprises and respect the venue space (no spills, damaging equipment, etc.).
Seriously don't skip this. Meet with all your volunteers to review what went well and what you can improve. And now, recommit your volunteers, too!
3 days after¶
Thank you email¶
Send thank you email to attendees. Mention your awesome sponsor(s). Let them know how they can continue learning Rails (if you're using railstutorial.org, you can point them that way... just sayin' ;). If you've got volunteer mentors, give them a way to get in touch with those folks. And give them a way to sign up to volunteer next time!
Update this page (1 week after, no later!)¶
- What could have been more clear? Clarify it!
- Where would you have liked more information? Add it (if you can!)
Minimum Viable Workshop¶
Here's the cheatsheet - what you need for a Minimum Viable Workshop:
- A space (start looking 8 weeks out)
- Some teachers (start looking 6 weeks out)
- Participants (start looking 6 weeks out)
- Train your teachers, or at least a few of them (as late as Thursday before the workshop)
- Installfest (Friday)
- Workshop (Saturday)
That's not too hard, right? You can totally do that. The rest is just icing on the cake. Delicious, delicious cake, written in test-driven Ruby on Rails.