Teaching, take 4

As mentioned before, I'm teaching programming again, to a group of beginners :) (Although as usual, even in a group of complete beginners there are variations in people's levels and comfort with the subject.)

Initial advertising

I'm really happy with how the PR worked out this time. The first time I taught this course in Tog, I made the mistake of putting "Python" in the name of the course and ended up wasting a lot of time screening out people who wouldn't be a good fit. This time I only mentioned it in passing, and the amount and type of answers I got was much more manageable and appropriate. We still managed to fill up the course and to have a waiting list (hope to see you next time!), so it's a success. I'm pasting the announcement here for future reference:

Class: Introduction to Programming

Are you curious about programming? Ever wished you could write your own scripts to automate repetitive tasks, or for fun? Or been interested in understanding how an application works (and why there are always bugs in the software you use??). Tog is running a new class on learning how to program, for complete beginners with no previous programming knowledge.

The course will cover basic programming skills, which will also give you a better understanding of how computers work. We will be using Python, an excellent learning language because it is simple yet powerful, and extremely readable. At the end of the course you will know how to write simple programs, and you should have enough understanding of the basics to move on to either more complex programming tasks in Python or learn another language if you wish to.

The course will begin on October 20th and will run for 5 weeks every Thursday from 7.00pm to 9.30pm. The cost is €40 for non-members, and free for members. The class size is limited to about 8 people, for a relaxed atmosphere conducive to learning.

If you are interested in attending, or have any question about the course, please use the form below or leave a comment — we’re happy to answer any query! You must sign up if you want to attend, space is limited.

Please note that this is a course for complete beginners, who are not yet familiar with the usual syntax for programming. If you’re a programmer interested in picking up Python, you should keep an eye out for our crash courses!

A fair percentage of the students heard about the course from Twitter even though I'm not on it, which is interesting. I should explore how to use the tool better. As I mostly hang out with fellow nerds, reaching out to interested beginners is always tough, so anything that can help...

Pace

The pace of the course is manageable as well -- which doesn't mean preparing and teaching isn't time-consuming still! But I felt quite burnt out last time after the pace at which I taught the PhD students (mostly through my own fault), so it's refreshing to come back to teaching pure beginners and not go crazy from week 2.

Surprisingly enough and to my utter delight, a huge portion of the students took on the exercises as homework! I'm so happy when I get questions about the exercises or lessons via email, to see people interested enough to poke at problems outside of the classroom. If we keep it up we should be able to cover more as well, which will be interesting for everyone.

As for feedback, I found a couple of positive tweets after the first session, which is always encouraging. Woohoo \o/


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