Class level grouping guide
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Deprecated if you're using Bridge Troll
This is one of the best parts about Bridge Troll: computer-drive class grouping. Give it a shot -- it works very nicely!
While one of the sometimes toughest parts of organizing a workshop, doing this well can often make the difference between really happy workshop goers/volunteers and frustrated ones. The links to the forms, with important instructions for using them, lives on the pre-workshop tasks page.
Suggested Class Levels
It can help to try and define the different grouping levels as follows. Feel free to combine/create class levels depending on the folks who sign up for your workshop.
- Beginner: Has never really worked with any programming languages.
- Advanced Beginner: Has worked with other programming languages and may be familiar with programming concepts, but has not worked with object oriented programming, Ruby, or Rails.
- Intermediate: Understands programming concepts like functions, loops, classes. May only know about Rails without having actually used it themselves.
- Advanced Intermediate: Has written their own object oriented programs multiple times but may not have worked with Rails, Git or Heroku before.
- Advanced, no Rails: Advanced work in another programming language, but new to Ruby or Rails.
- Advanced in Rails: Has written Rails applications before. Possibly a good candidate for teaching or being a TA.
Once students have filled out the form, it should be relatively easy to assign them to a group. Here's one way to handle grouping:
- Group as many people as possible before the workshop
- Anyone who hasn't taken the survey when they check into the Installfest should take the survey before proceeding to the Installfest
- At workshop check-in, either hand attendees a card with their level, or simple tell them and ask them to remember or write it down
- If someone didn't attend the Installfest and also didn't fill out the form, ask a volunteer to check their install and have them take the survey then.
There are a few ways to do this. Follow your heart.
More Organized/More Prep
Thursday before Install fest:
- Based on the survey results, create preliminary volunteer groupings to teach the needed classes. Class sizes should be around 5-7 (bigger classes may be broken down to use the ‘flexible’ volunteers outlined below).
- Create one or two additional ‘flexible’ volunteer groupings to cover attendees who have not filled out the form yet. They may end up as TA’s distributed among other classes, or as their own class, depending on who shows up on the day.
- Send an e-mail to the volunteers, letting them know what Teacher/TA groups you’ve paired them into. While noting that this may change depending on actual attendance on Saturday, also note the potential attendee class level you are thinking of heaving each teacher work with, so they can prepare.
- Based on the number of attendees in each group, adjust the classes each volunteer grouping will teach as necessary.
- 20 minutes before the introduction speech, take each teacher to their teaching area to get set up.
- Give a TA from each class a card with their level it, and have them stand over to the side while the introduction speech is happening.
- At the end of the opening presentation, have the TAs announce which class levels they are each helping with, and ask the students to go to the appropriate TA.
- If there are several sections of a class level, subdivide the attendees between the TA’s for those classes. Have the TA’s bring their students to where the teacher is set up.
Less Organized/Less Prep
During the opening presentation, take all the TAs & teachers out of earshot. Do the following:
- Have the numbers for each class level up on your spreadsheet.
- Ask the people who'd like to teach to move to one side of the room/area, and the people who'd like to TA to be on the other. If you need more/less teachers, make adjustments now.
- Ask the teachers if any of them have strong preferences for class levels. Since they've been through teacher training, they should know what the class levels are, but reiterate if necessary.
- Ask the TAs to find a teacher to work with. This is slightly awkward; you can assign people if that seems better.
- Send the teachers to pick conference rooms/class areas and put their stuff there, then meet you in the back of the presentation area.
- At the end of the presentation area, pick areas of the building for the various class levels to go. Tell the teachers to meet their students there, and if there is more than one class section per level, divide up.
- Announce that if the students have forgotten their class level, they can ask you. Then make yourself available for consultation.
- Walk around and make sure that the classes are reasonably evenly divided, and that they aren't overcrowding their spaces.
- Reiterate at lunch that people should feel free to swap classes if they'd like.