Attending an online workshop

We are glad you would like to attend an online workshop. This page will help you mentally and physically prepare.

Our workshops are interactive and hands-on, and you will get the most out of them if you can take part in all exercises, unlike a normal academic lecture where you mainly listen. Thus, please read this and come prepared!

General prerequisites

Check your workshop page for the prerequisites and required software - this is not duplicated here!

CodeRefinery-specific

  • For most workshops, it is important to be a little bit familiar with the command line prompt - not a lot, if you can navigate to directories and edit files, you’ll be able to make do. This Linux shell crash course (video) is enough.

  • Basics in one or more programming languages.

  • You need to install some software. Please follow links on the workshop page.

  • It is useful if you have a basic idea of how Git works. We will start from the basics anyway, but please go through this Git-refresher material for a basic overview and important configuration steps.

  • Make sure that git is configured, and verify the configuration: text instructions, video.

Take the workshop seriously

It’s easy to think “it’s just online, it’s easy to passively watch”. However, for an interactive workshop you do need to take part to get the most of out it, and our workshops are targeted to that. If you read this page and the workshop prerequisites, you should be OK.

Don’t do multiple meetings, reserve the entire timeslots on your calendar, attend every session, do the preparation.

Social

Attend with someone! Register together and try to be in their same group. This will create a network of learning and practice that will last much longer.

If you can attend a group, that is even better. You can bring your own helper to guide you (if the workshop works this way). Research shows that groups that have multiple adopters have much more uptake of new skills.

Workspace

Get a good, quiet workspace. Make sure it is comfortable enough to stay at for a while.

An extra monitor is useful but not required, since there is a lot of stuff to follow: the stream itself, the lesson webpage, and the window where you are doing the assignment. You could also use a second device to watch the stream (but if you do, see the Zoom page for info about screen sharing).

You’ll be expected to talk at some times and take part, not simply be quiet and listen all the time. Try to be in a place where you can speak without disturbing others. By the same token, you’ll be listening for a long time, and your ears may get tired of headphones. If you have good enough external speakers, be somewhere that you can use them (perhaps only sometimes - when it doesn’t interfere with your microphone.)

If you work in a large office, consider attending from home or in a meeting room so that you can speak and listen more freely. If you need and extra monitor or more comfortable seating space and don’t have that at home, consider working at your office. Yes, these are conflicting ideas, you need to find what works best for you.

Time management

Despite what most people think, attending things online can be harder than in-person.

Don’t schedule overlapping meetings, reserve the entire timeslots, minimze distractions. It’s easy to think you can do multiple things at once when doing it online, but really it’s a trap.

There will be breaks, but even long ones go by very fast, and this gives you limited time to make coffee, eat, etc. We try to limit ourselves to half-days because of this, but consider preparing food, coffee, etc. in advance.

Make sure you take the breaks, walk around some, etc.

Join the workshop stream 10 minutes early to get ready.

Software installation

Do the installation and configuration in advance, and double check it. In real workshops, problems here slow us down a lot, and if you don’t prepare, you will immediately fall behind. If there is a pre-workshop session for installation, go there if needed.

If all else fails, join the workshop stream well in advance and ask for help then. Usually, there will be enough time to get ready for the day.

Live streaming

If you join by live streaming, things are a little bit more complicated since you don’t go to breakout rooms. But we think it is still pretty good:

  • Take the workshop seriously anyway. We take the streaming experience seriously so that you can. Reserve time, have a good workspace, etc. See “take the workshop seriously” above.

  • You can ask questions via the HackMD, which is the same way we ask people to ask during the workshop. If you register for Twitch, you can use the Twitch chat for small comments, too.

  • Form a team anyway in your own meeting. You learn more from your colleagues than you do from us, so take advantage. Get one “helper” for your team, start your own video call, watch the stream together, and during the exercise times, work together. We will be clear about our timing, so that you can coordinate your team. (Of course, you can always follow individually)

  • Announcements and updates: Follow @coderefine on Twitter for news.

  • Come to an in-person workshop sometime: The stream is good, but can’t replace the experience and individual help you get in person. Sign up on the notify me list to hear about what comes next.

Final notes

Join the stream 10 minutes in advance. There is some advance icebreakers and discussion you can take part in, and you get to breath before we start.

There is usually discussion after the workshop. If you want, stick around and give us immediate feedback and ask more questions.

Come to an in-person workshop sometime. An online workshop probably can’t replace the experience and individual help you get in person. Sign up on the notify me list to hear about what comes next.