Last weekend saw us hosting our second RailsBridge Cape Town, and it was good. Yay! Check out our twitter account, @RailsBridgeCPT, for tweets and more pictures from the day.

The InstallFest in action Introduction presentation

This time we had great loot: stickers & badges!

Stickers and badges! RailsBridge, GitHub, Mad Mimi

Feedback

We’re strong believers in continuous improvement: we want to do at least one thing better next time. We ask for and encourage our attendees to give us feedback on how the workshop went. As well as chatting to the attendees, we ask them to fill in a short, anonymous, exit survey, asking how we did, and we run a retrospective after the workshop finishes on Saturday. This time we were very lucky to have Sam Laing of Growing Agile running the retro for us: details below. Thank you, Sam!

People coding More people coding

Improvements from the July workshop and retro

We just about managed to make all the big changes that were suggested from the July Workshop.

The Survey

We tracked our student’s familiarity with development-related tasks and with Ruby on Rails, before and after the workshop. Broadly speaking, the attendees said that they’d become more familiar with dev tasks and with Ruby on Rails. Huzzah! It’s great to see that people are getting something valuable from the workshop. A big thank you to “them upstairs” for such a solid curriculum!

The charts below show responses as a percentage of all the attendees. For example, about 70% of the attendees said that after the workshop, they were familiar with development tasks. Nice!

Familiarity with Development

Familiarity with Ruby / Rails

Note: The stats are presented as percentages rather than numbers because of a few statistical complications. Quite a few of our attendees this time came as a +1 of someone, so we only have after data for them. This means that the before and after data sets aren’t identical; these numbers are therefore more of a rough guide than the July stats. For our next workshop, we’ll try and make sure to get before data for every attendee.

We also asked our attendees to rate the workshop. About half of our attendees rated it Good and the other half rated it Really Good. Awesome, thank you!

Workshop Rating

Best, Worst, and Make Better

We also asked what the best thing and the worst thing was about the workshop, and what we should improve.

The most frequently mentioned best thing about the workshop was the teachers: they were described as helpful, friendly, professional, and really good at explaining the concepts. Teachers: you rock!

The venue was also mentioned as great. Thank you Siyelo for letting us use your excellent space. We’ll be back.

Things mentioned as not so great, and in need of improvement:

The Retro

For this retrospective, Sam split us into four teams. Each team got two big marker pens and a bundle of pipe cleaners and was asked to build the tallest tower that they could that would support both pens. The winner was 27cms tall!

Tower of pipe cleaners

After that, we had to write out as many sticky notes as we could to fill two categories: what was surprising about the exercise and what was frustrating.

The next step was to make a poster, as a team. We used the stickies we’d just written as jumping off points to draw a poster that told a story about our RailsBridge experience. This got interesting for notes like “Gravity”! Then each team presented their poster to the rest of the group.

We ended the retro with an appreciation exercise. We split into groups of three and arranged the chairs with two facing each other, and one with their back to the other two. Taking turns, the two in chairs talking about the person facing away, discussing the positive things about them that they’d experienced over the workshop.

We got lots of great ideas from the retro that have been added to our To Do list. Below are a few key ones.

The next one

Our next Workshop will be in January / February. We’ll be sending out mails about it soon(ish).

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!