Last weekend saw us hosting our very first RailsBridge Cape Town. It went well. Huzzah!
Something that’s important to us is continuous improvement: to make each workshop better than the last. We asked our attendees to fill in a short exit survey, asking how we did. We were also very lucky to have Karen Greaves of Growing Agile run a retrospective for us.
We tracked people’s familiarity with development-related tasks and with Ruby on Rails, before and after the workshop. Generally, the students said that they’d become more familiar with dev tasks and with Ruby on Rails. Yay!
We also asked our students to rate the workshop. More than half of our students rated it Really Good. Also yay!
We asked what the best thing and the worst thing was about the workshop, and what we should improve.
By far the most mentioned good thing was the teachers: the students described the teachers as friendly, happy, knowledgeable, and helpful. Well done to all our teachers!
Things that were mentioned as bad things: the internet connection; the coffee; the InstallFest notes.
Things suggested as improvements: more / better extra credit in the curriculum; an overview of the basic structures, including visuals; more breaks.
We’re going to do the best we can to make the next workshop even better.
We’re going to contact an ISP and see if they can sponsor a hefty network connection for us. Our office router was creaking under the weight of all the concurrent connections! We’ll also see if we can get a coffee sponsor and supply high-quality caffeine goodness. We’re also going to look at the InstallFest notes and make some tweaks so that they’re a bit clearer about what’s going on.
Our students ran through the curriculum pretty quickly, so we had to improvise some extra extra credit. We’re going to try and flesh out the existing extra credit items and add some more of our own to the curriculum. We’re also going to make some posters with diagrams of the Model-View-Controller structure of Rails and the relationship between students’ machines, Git and Heroku. Another thing we want to do is add breaks to the curriculum: at the end of a chapter, tell the student to get up and go for a walk!
At the retrospective, we made three big lists answering “What will you tell someone about today?”, “What surprised you?”, and “What did you learn?”. Then we used sticky notes on the walls to rank aspects of the day like teachers and organisers and food and drink.
For the last activity, each of the four groups picked what they felt was the most important thing for improvement, and we ended up with four big ideas to act on for the next workshop:
- an introductory contextual overview, including visuals.
- an InstallFest whiteboard where solutions to problems are shared.
- curriculum changes: an advanced day and glossary of technical terms.
- more extra credits with stepped difficulty and a preamble / context.
The next one!
Our next Workshop will be in October. We’ll be sending out mails about it in the next few weeks.
If you attended this workshop (as a student, organiser, or a teacher) we’d love to have you back. If you were a student this time, come back and help us teach more people!