Tutorials are hard.

Ben Bangert and I did a tutorial at PyCon this year, and it was hard. We’d just cut eggs for TG2 and pylons pre-release versions that morning after months of trying to have releases done before PyCon. So, I personally was a bit frazzled before the tutorial even got started, and then we had a huge number of technical issues with the pycon ireless, which lead to various egg-dependency problems.

Our back up strategy for sharing the eggs was to set up an ad-hock wireless network, and sharing them out directly. But the PyCon folks specifically asked that nobody setup ad-hock networks. So we had to fall back to burning CD’s, putting eggs on flash drives, and walking around helping people get installed.

Ben Bangert and Chris Perkins did a great job of helping people get stuff installed, while I walked the people in the room through a basic WSGI tutorial, so they would have the conceptual framework needed to understand how some of the TurboGears2 and pylons code works.

We then went into the TG2 tutorial proper, but by this time we were running pretty late, and the need to provide both TG2 and Pylons examples became somewhat problematic in the tight timeline we had. I worked hard to make sure that there were materials that the tutorial participants could take away with them, and I think that paid off because we didn’t get to finish the TG2 tutorial. But hopefully people will be able to go through the tutorial on their own.

And I created a Google Group for tutorial members so that they can ask questions, get help, and otherwise continue to learn stuff even after the talk itself is done. If you were at the tutorial, and you didn’t get a chance to join the group — but still want to, send me an e-mail and I’ll get you added.

I learned a lot about how to handle crazy problems in the context of a large tutorial group, and I’ll be doing a number of things differently next time.

1 Response to “Tutorials are hard.”


  1. 1Thomas Crawley

    Hi,

    The experience was frustrating but I think that you guys did a very good job in the circumstances.

    It it difficult to do anything with an unreliable network.

    The information, documentation and presentations which you gave were useful and insighttful.

    You did ask that people come prepared with TG2 pre-installed etc and many people did not come prepared so this caused problems.

    Keep up the good work

    Tom

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