Last time we looked at our User group workshop from our side so now I'd like to share with you some of the comments. Happily most, actually 89%, of respondents agreed with our basic reason for the workshop and that was to get some “hands-on” experience with 9.6, and to generate ideas on how to use new features in their work. So that was cool. Remember there are no pre-requisites for attending the workshop and I was happy that there were a few non-technical people in attendance as well. Ok so enough of the fluffy-bunny stuff what was the stuff that people didn’t like and what can we do to fix that? First comment, workshop was slow to start, wasted 30-45 minutes. Yeah well that was down to me, we had the German user group the week prior and when I setup the environment for Las Vegas I choose the German VM instead of the one for the USA.  Opps!, my bad, so apologies for that. Funniest thing about that was Stefan, who is a native German speaker, was also having problems because it was in a dialect for a specific region in Germany. Who knew there was a difference? One part that was out of our hands was the discovery that the Vdara Internet policies control Internet access by limiting connections to 30 minutes after which you had to reconnect. Ok for most hotel visitors, but not for us. Next time we will have to ask for a permanent and unrestricted connection and no doubt the next venue will charge extra for that. One other part that is out of our control and that is the response time. I think Cloud Shares response was workable but it’s never going to be the same as a local server so if you are a hard-code developer or gamer then you are going to have to learn to type a little bit slower. Interestingly considering that connections were a little slow and the hotel disconnected after 30 minutes I’d say that over 50% of attendees requested access to the environment after the workshop. We are charged for each of these so it could get a little expensive, but if we provided one of these what would people think is a price that they would be willing to pay for ongoing access? One set of responses did get me a little confused and that was the workshop document. Some said it was too detailed while some said that it needed to have more detail. I had a similar set of comments regarding the workshop example in that some wanted more coding examples while others were fed up on the amount of coding even though most was cut-n-paste and some components were pre-built. The workshop isn’t a race so we gave attendees four options namely; code it yourself, for hard core developers. Cut-n-paste for those of us, including myself, who are keyboard challenged. Import the pre-built exercises, one by one or for those keen to explore the delights of Las Vegas one more time simply import the entire solution, compile, done! Not sure what else to provide as it simply proves that you can’t please all of the people all of the time! Having said that perhaps this is the point at which you can tell us what you would like to see at one of these workshops. If you have ideas that will make the next one that little more ‘special’ then drop me a line and we will see what we can do.  

1 Comment

  1. Hi George, recently, I attended a workshop on eclipse modeling and being no experienced eclipse user and only a JAVA reader, not a writer, I could not make the excercises in time. So just my 2 cent on workshop material: I LOVE prewritten components etc. which will be enhanced during the excercise I prefer even prepared examples (entries) what the code should look like. If I am short on time (or my code doesn't work), I can just call these procedures rather than writing my own one. Sometimes an illustrated "babystep" PDF is helpful for beginners not so comfortable operating the IDF. I got positive feedback on screencasts how to solve the excercises from people who went through the material a couple of months later. It takes some time but I started recording my test runs (including the audio explanations) to get my self-feedback and added the best recordings to the course material. Providing "the solution" as COMMENTED extra components should be mandatory for all workshops (working example). Overall: preparing a workshop based on the needs of the different kinds of "students" is a time-consuming iterative process. Whenever an excercise may not be completed, you have to provie some building blocks for the rescue to bring the team back to a common level for the next step. I usually ended up with an increasing collection of additional export files and code snippets etc. which I can offer. It's just like nordic walking in a team with very different skilled walkers: you have to plan extra loops for the very fast ones while have a "minimum length" for the beginners so noone is literally "left behind". as it would happen on a straight course. And the track should be that you (as a leader) can observe all the different subgroups and shift between these for motivating not only the top performers. It's hard, time-consuming, and it may take some discussions how to set up course material with raw components so the student can focus on the enhancements rather than spending 90% of his time to just lay the basics. Plus we may spend some more time how "experimental workbenches" can be implemented allowing the user to select different ways to solve a task and watch the differences. A lot to do, especially in our tinyl unifaceland where noone can expect hundreds of paying students as a revenue. Uli