The evening of Friday 29th and day of Saturday 30th January 2016 saw us running our first RailsBridge workshop of the year, with 27 students of varying experience levels learning and helping others learn Ruby On Rails.

Super-sized thanks to our sponsors: codeX (where I work) for providing the venue and RubyFuza (Africa’s premier Ruby conference, happening on the 4th and 5th of February) for sponsoring food and drink throughout the event. You rock!

New stuff

We added a new activity for Saturday morning: Match It Up. Students have two stacks of cards: one with things on (like Ruby, Rails) and one with definitions on. They have to match up things with their definition. The goal of the exercise is to encourage students to think about what they had learned so far, then compare what they thought with as they went through the day.

Another new thing, which was very well received and will most definitely repeat, was a lightning talk by RailsBridge mentor Danielle. She told her story of becoming a developer, and delivered a fantastic, inspiring, and exciting talk.

Danielle giving her lightning talk

Survey and feedback

The organising team care a lot about continuing to improve the workshops, and one of the ways we gather feedback is a short anonymous survey at the end of the workshop. We ask students what the best thing about the workshop was, what the worst thing about the workshop was, and what we could do differently.

Students said that one of the best things about the workshop was the teachers. They said that someone was always there when you put a hand up, and they were friendly, helpful, knowledgable, and eager. Thank you! :). Students also said that the documentation was great and clear. The Cape Town team is making slow but steady progress helping our parent organisation make the docs even better. We’ve already added two improvements from feedback at this workshop!

For worst things, students had differing opinions about the length of the workshop. Some would have liked more time to work through the material, and some felt like it was a long stretch time of time.

For what we could do differently, the students gave us a number of ideas for improvements to the docs, which is awesome. Students also talked about us giving more information about where RailsBridge sits and what it’s linked to: how and who can students connect to, what other sites can students look at, what places are offering courses for further study.

The workshop in action

The next workshop

For this year, we’re planning workshops for the ends of April, July, and October. As we get dates and venus, we’ll add them to our meetup group, so please make sure you’re signed up there if you’d like to be notified. :)

Steve Barnett
Organiser Person