This weekend we had the first ever WordCamp DC. I have been part of the DC WordPress Community since it’s early days so it felt wonderful to have such a great 3 Day ~500 People Inaugural Event.
On the third day of the event we had 6 workshops running concurrently with Contributor Day:
- Beginning WordPress
- Beginning Marketing
- Beginning Brand/Design
- Intro to HTML
- Intro to CSS
When designing workshop tracks I think it’s important to have a pulse on what your community wants and needs. This approach worked really well for WordCamp DC, but it might not have been the right choice for all camps.
You can see the slides and practice files for my workshop here. The main outline included the following:
- The DOM
Each section had a few slides and a few practice files.
I am very grateful for Beth Soderberg, one of the camp organizers for TAing my workshop. With her feedback we went much slower than I would have otherwise. This was good since most people had very little web design or programming experience.
In the future I might leave out a few things in order to make the workshop fit better into 90 minutes. I have been doing different versions of this workshop for a couple months now and learning a bit more each time about what is essential to include and what is not.
Thoughts on Workshop Lengths
I have written about this a few times, but I want to repeat it here. Workshops can be a great addition to camps. However, to have a good workshop it needs to be long enough for people of various abilities to follow along and have enough time to practice as a group and individually.
Sometimes there is not enough time to allow for this, but I do think folks will gain more out of 3-4 hour workshop than a 90 minute one. Sometimes this means you cannot offer as many workshops or cover as many topics, but it does mean people will leave having absorbed more.
Keep Up the Teaching!
Some suggestions I have for WordCamp organizers include:
- Poll your community on what it wants to learn about in more depth via workshops
- Try to provide 2-4hrs for a single workshop
- If you are planning a Workshop Track, make sure workshop leaders discuss with each other how to tie their talks together and not have to reteach the same thing
- Have multiple TAs in the audience to help attendees and give feedback to workshop leaders on pacing
I’ll just end again with praise and props to WordCamp DC for coming up with an amazing workshop track. Everyone I talked to learned something and having workshops on non coding topics was really popular.