2020-04-24 - Radovan Bast, Richard Darst, Anne Fouilloux, Bjørn Lindi, Thor Wikfeldt
After cancelling all our planned in-person workshops this spring due to the ongoing pandemic, we decided to make the best of the situation and start focusing our efforts on developing an online workshop training programme. We wanted to start small while learning the mechanics of online teaching, so we began by offering an online workshop covering only the Git-intro lesson to a group of around 25 participants on April 7-8. Neither teaching nor attending online workshops offers quite the same experience as attending in-person events, but we were pleasantly surprised about how well the workshop went and it definitely gave a boost to our ambitions to move more of our traditional workshops online. Online workshops will also provide a means for us to scale up and reach a larger audience than possible with in-person workshops.
We learned many important lessons in this first experiment and we tried to summarize them all in a previous article. We hope that these notes can be of help to others who are going online with some of their teaching.
We expect to be delivering many more online workshops also after covid-19 restrictions are lifted and life starts returning to normal. We realized that this means that our old notify-me form has become obsolete - it is no longer enough to only indicate the city in which you want to attend a workshop. So we created a new more fine-grained notify-me form where people can sign up for updates about upcoming online and/or in-person workshops and also indicate which lessons they are most interested in. If you want to be informed of upcoming workshops, please sign up.
The new notify-me form now also has an option to indicate that you are interested in participating as a helper or instructor. Instructors always need help and this is even more relevant for our online workshops. Helpers assist learners in overcoming technical problems and work through challenges or questions they may have. Ideally, we need at least one helper per breakout room (4-5 learners). Helpers don’t have to be familiar with all the lesson material - experience with even just one lesson/tool/approach is sufficient.
Have you already particated in one or more workshops, and now want to help us in spreading better software development practices to the world? Register as helper for upcoming online or in-person workshops in our new notify-me form. Remember also that there is no better way to consolidate new knowledge than teaching it to others!
With online courses over video we could in principle aim at reaching a larger scale than in-person workshops which are limited by room-size and being visible and audible, but also by the number of helpers. In online workshops the presence of helpers is no less important to make sure that each breakout room has a helper to answer questions during exercise sessions. We are considering to offer participants the possibility to “bring their own breakout room” to the workshop. This way they can collaborate on exercises with colleagues they already know, if they prefer so. More importantly, they can assign one person who is more experienced in the toolset presented to take the role as helper. Participating as helper not only means “giving” but is also a great learning experience: both in the tools and in solving problems and supporting and teaching other learners.
We plan to arrange two full online CodeRefinery workshops covering all our material before the summer. The format will be to split the workshop content over six half-days spread over two weeks.
In May we will do our first full CodeRefinery workshop, starting on a Tuesday, and ending on a Thursday the week after. Drawing on the experience from this first full workshop, the plan is to deliver a second online workshop in June.
Sign up for the notify-me form if you want to receive an email as soon as registration opens for these workshoops!