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Organizing a CodeRefinery workshop

Anyone can organize a CodeRefinery workshop and teach the CodeRefinery lessons which are licensed under CC-BY. However, making it a successful workshop requires careful planning and preparation. Here we will go through practical aspects of organizing a workshop.

Select a workshop coordinator

One or two persons coordinate the workshop preparation and debrief. This does not mean that they do all the work - they are encouraged to delegate tasks - but they make sure that nothing gets forgotten.

Other documents and references

Before the workshop

First steps

Lecture room

  • Start looking for an appropriate lecture room early.
  • See this list of requirements for the lecture room.

Set up workshop page

  • Import the template at https://github.com/coderefinery/template-workshop-webpage to your username or the coderefinery organization, and name it like "2019-10-16-somecity".
  • Update the required fields in index.md and push the commits. The page should now be served at username.github.io/2019-10-16-somecity/.
  • If the workshop will be customized to the needs of a particular audience, modify the schedule accordingly.
  • If the workshop should be listed on https://coderefinery.org:
    • (Fork and) clone https://github.com/coderefinery/coderefinery.org
    • Under coderefinery.org/_workshops/, add a file named like 2019-10-16-somecity.md which contains the fields permalink, city and dates. For example:
      ---
      permalink: https://username.github.io/2019-10-16-city/
      city: Somecity
      dates: October 16-18, 2019
      ---
      
    • send a pull request with your new file.
  • Create a registration form following indico-workshop-management.md.
  • Open and test registration

Announcing the workshop

  • Twitter
  • Email persons who registered to notify-me form
  • Use local mailing lists and all channels possible

For self-organized workshops:

Distribute the work

  • Make sure lessons are distributed

Prepare practicals

  • Order catering (coffee, tea, water, fruit, something sweet, etc.)
  • Organize sticky notes
  • Organize extension cables if needed
  • Organize alternative wireless for those without Eduroam (if any)

Communication with participants

  • Send out practical information, including installation instructions, around 2 weeks ahead. Here is a template.
  • Emphasize that all software should be installed before the workshop starts, and point out the configuration problems and solutions.
  • Remind registered participants that they are either expected to show up or to cancel participation
  • Also ask those without Eduroam to speak up.
  • Maintain waiting list if needed
  • Make sure we have enough pre-survey answers
  • Close registration on the workshop page

1-2 weeks before the workshop

  • Workshop coordinator organizes a call with all instructors and helpers to discuss the schedule to leave no doubts about timing. Also discuss the survey results.
  • Point helpers (and instructors) to the tips for helpers.

Right before the workshop starts

  • Prepare a shared Google doc or https://hackmd.io with global write permissions, consider creating a memorable short-link (e.g. bit.ly)

Create exercise repositories

  • The collaborative Git lesson requires exercise repositories to be set up. For this follow the instructor guide in the lesson material.

As participants arrive

  • Emphasize to participants that you need to sit with someone - don't work alone.
  • Try to have participants sit next to someone with a similar operating system if they have no preference, since they will face similar problems.

Introduction talk

During workshop

  • Keep up interactive feel by encouraging and asking questions
  • Keep time
  • For presentations which have shell commands, create a cheatsheet/reference on the board in real time.
  • Remind participants about sticky notes.
  • Make sure we take regular breaks (at least a short break each hour)
  • Give participants some time to also experiment (do not rush the classroom through exercises)
  • Encourage optional feedback at the end of each day or end of each lesson on sticky notes. Process the feedback immediately and adjust your teaching (pace etc) accordingly
  • Create GitHub issues for points which are confusing or problematic
  • Take active part even in the lessons you're not teaching, e.g. by asking questions and (politely) interject with clarifications when you think something is confusing to the learners

At the end of workshop

Post-workshop

  • Process and distribute feedback
  • Debrief with instructors
  • Process certificate requests
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