Last Thursday was my first attempt at setting up "Python Office Hours", an evening during which people starting out with Python are welcome to drop in with questions, problems or just to work on beginner projects with someone who can give a hand within reach.
It probably wasn't a success, though it definitely wasn't a disaster. I only sent out the announcement to my former students, and several people were really excited about the idea though only one confirmed he would come. And indeed, although my opt-in "Python Office Hours" list now has a few more names in it, on Thursday there was only me and the one student, so not quite the successful evening turnout-wise. However, we had a very long discussion about the project he wants to do, how to go about cutting down the design into different Python projects manageable for a newcomer to the language, to a level that we wouldn't have been able to discuss had there been other students around. So this wasn't a wasted evening, although we probably went into more depth than I was thinking or hoping for! That's the advantage of showing up, you can get more than you bargained for :)
I will do a few more of these office hours. I think maybe people will get moving in their projects and/or learning if they know it's a regular occurrence. I'll likely expand the reach too, though I'm a bit concerned people will misread and show up expecting more (or any kind of) structure -- as I discovered a couple of courses ago, people read an email and focus on one keyword at the expense of what the actual course or event is about! Everyone ends up disappointed and frustrated, so I'll make sure to pen that email carefully, and work at learning which words to bold for maximum effect :]